Follow These Tips When Starting a Blog in 2016

You're ready to start a blog, either for your existing small business or to build it into a money-making setup on its own. It can feel like an overwhelming undertaking, because there are so many elements to consider, from what hosting service you'll use, to broad concepts, such as how you'll build a content calendar.

One of the most important considerations is search engine optimization or SEO. Neil Patel's Guide to Starting a Blog is considered one of the best resources by many people in the industry, and it includes keyword research as one of the top considerations to keep in mind when you're launching a marketing or business blog.

Just the phrase "keyword research" can feel intimidating if it's not something you have a lot of experience with, but it doesn't have to be. Below are some simple, realistic ways to do keyword research and integrate SEO into your blog effectively.

Build Your Keywords Around A Main Theme or Topic

In Neil Patel's guide mentioned above, one of the things he recommends bloggers do first is develop one primary concept or theme for their blog. For example, maybe your blog is for your small business, which is an art gallery. Your main topic might be "art galleries," in this instance. That can become your primary keyword that will be used to focus all of your other SEO efforts. Once you have a first word or phrase in mind, you can then start building other keywords that are related to that.

Use KeywordTool.io

As you begin your keyword research and once you've identified your primary keyword, you can then visit keywordtool.io, which is a simple, fast search tool. You can type in keywords you've come up with on your own, and the tool will show you the keywords people are looking for in a variety of search engines including not only Google but also YouTube, Bing, Amazon, and the App Store.

With the free version of this tool you can receive up to 750 long-tail keyword suggestions for each search term you enter, and you don't even have to create an account to use it. This is an excellent resource for anyone who's a business owner, writer or content creator, or anyone in the world of digital marketing.

Visit Google's Keyword Planner

Google also has a keyword tool called Keyword Planner, and it's a robust way to not only search for keywords, but also to look at statistics, get ideas for your AdWords campaigns, and multiply different keyword lists together to create an entirely new list. As well as getting ideas for suggested keywords, this tool is great because it provides statistics such as search volume, and you can also get forecasts on factors like estimated conversions.

It's Not All About the Keywords

Now that we've gone through the initial steps required to do solid keyword research, it may seem counterintuitive to say it's not all about these words and phrases, but really it isn't. In the past, SEO essentially meant you were typing exact keywords over and over again in your blog posts. Unfortunately, the result was more often than not writing that felt spammy and did very little to serve the needs of the readers.

In 2016, SEO is much more about intent and Google has become incredibly advanced regarding picking up the intent of users and content in its algorithms. It's important to have the basics of keyword research, but it's also important to balance that with well-written blog posts that flow naturally and have value for the reader. It's no longer realistic for readers to use one word and find the content they're looking for.

Instead, it's more about the overall content of a post that Google is using to guide them to your site, so keep this in mind. Keyword research is a good guiding foundation for the creation of a blog, but it's not going to stand alone as your only SEO tactic.

Use WordPress

If you're creating a new blog, WordPress is not only one of the most popular platforms, but it's also simply one of the best. Why is WordPress so ideal for almost any kind of blog?

To begin, it's easy. It takes a lot of the hassle, confusion, and the learning curve out of blogging. WordPress lays out the basics of posting a blog in a way that's intuitive and it will allow for people, regardless of experience, to easily login and post their content and accompanying images.

WordPress not only simplifies the general concept of blogging, but it also makes SEO incredibly easy.

The WordPress Sitemap feature makes it easier for a search engine to find your blog and various pages, and there is a range of SEO tools that make it as fast and easy as possible to optimize every element of your site.

Think About Structure

As well as putting your focus on the creation of strong content, it's also important to structure your blog posts well. This is essential not just for readability, but also to help search engines find your content and connect readers to it.

To begin, headings are important. Try to create strong, to-the-point headings that break up your content and make it visually more appealing to readers, and also craft them in a way that they're going to show search engines immediately what your blog post is about.

Include external and internal links in your post, as well. For example, add a few links to your existing SEO posts, as well as some links to external data and research that backs up your information. This is good for readers, because it frames you as an authority in what you're writing about, and strong, relevant links are also useful for search engines.

Finally, as you're wrapping up your strategizing for SEO, make sure you're ready to add quality content on a consistent and frequent basis. You want your website to be seen by not only readers but also Google, as being one that's active and that continues to have fresh, new content added regularly.