Why Do We Say that Writing is Hard?
I don’t think writing is hard – wooden tables are, gemstones are, and sometimes my head is, but writing? No.
It’s as simple and complex as having an idea, putting words together, adding the thoughts or feelings, linking to the research, and using keywords for SEO.
1. The Idea is the Starting Point
If you’re writing a blog about a particular subject, you’ve always got an idea. Can you present it from a different perspective? Are you an expert on the topic? Do you have credibility when it comes to that subject? If you’ve answered, “Yes”, then maybe you’re just bored with the idea.
That happens. How many times can I write, “Recovery works” to try and encourage someone struggling with their addictions? So far, I’ve filled a lot of pages on my other blog with exactly that same message.
In all fairness, not more than 5% of the posts literally include the words, “Recovery works”, but in each of these 185 posts, that’s the underlying message or idea.
Yet, each post is presented from a different viewpoint, or for some, it’s because I wrote from the perspective of depth rather than breadth.
Breadth and depth each had distinct advantages. With breadth, I can write an overview of the idea. With depth, I’ll isolate one key element after a general statement of intent and elaborate on that aspect.
2. What are the Thoughts and Feelings about the Idea?
Much of that writing entails describing thoughts and feelings; it’s personal to me, but judging from the comments, my experiences with the topic are commonplace. So the idea of addiction and recovery have an already established audience. Now, it’s my job to take the idea and make it fresh and new.
One of the easiest ways to get readers interested is to ask questions. So far, I’ve asked four and will ask more before I’m finished. Why? Because I know that what I think, feel, or know is limited to my experiences and there are other people out there who can supply additional information that I might find useful.
So now that boring, “Been there, done that” idea is open to others, and sometimes the What’s In It For Me principle factors here – the readers get to let me know how much they know about the topic. I don’t know how many other posts a reader’s comments have generated, but a fair number.
Beyond my interest and a reader’s interest, there’s always room for research.
3. What Are Valuable and Interesting Research Links?
For some of us, the idea of research sounds like the library desk with musty, dusty tomes all opened to various pages, sticky notes protruding from them, and 3 x 5 cards littering the table.
Not today. Research is a key element in any post. Why? Because it validates your argument, presents reliable information by experts on the topic, references a quote that summarizes your topic, or lends credibility to your idea.
But too many people get careless in their links – the old Wikipedia will have something about it. Delve deeper than that. If you’re going to use Wikipedia, research the references and see where that leads. I’ve used the referenced sources before and been pleased with the linked information.
Links within also lend authority to any post. They can be external or internal. If you write on a collaborative site, like Two Drops of Ink, then see what your co-writers have to say about the topic. You’ve added a valuable link and given them some additional exposure for their writing.
I know that two of our monthly contributors, Noelle Sterne and Peter B. Giblett will always give links that let me know more about their chosen topics. I’ve yet to find a link in any of their posts that didn’t add value.
4. Can You See Me Now?
How many of you have searched for yourself or your blog? Confession, I have. And if I’m simply looking at Marilyn L. Davis, boy do I rate. However, that’s not really how most people know me. It’s the same for your blog or business. You may find yourself, but is that how the average person is looking for your site or posts? Probably not. Granted, some names are forever embedded in our brains. Think of all the major brands.
But since most of us aren’t a major brand, how do you get your name or blog to rank on the first page of Google? Eric Enge, general manager of Perficient Digital simplifies the problem.
“Google algorithm updates in 2018 revealed that Google is intensifying its focus on evaluating the content quality and at the depth and breadth of a website’s content, said Eric Enge, general manager of Perficient Digital.
“We tracked the SEO performance of a number of different sites,” Enge said. “The sites that provided exceptional depth in quality content coverage literally soared in rankings throughout the year. Sites that were weaker in their content depth suffered in comparison.”
It’s critical to understand your readers wants and needs, and to write posts that satisfy them. Jesse McDonald, SEO specialist and director of operations for Fully Integrated Enterprise SEO Agency – TopHatRank.com. states, “It will be more critical than ever for SEOs and content specialists to focus heavily on the user intent of the keywords they are targeting while creating content,” McDonald said.
Expanding on the Keywords
A big trend now is the Keto diet. Google that and you get inundated with hits. So that’s a safe keyword. But a better site will include Keto:
- Hidden pitfalls (of Keto)
- Foods allowed (on Keto)
- Foods to avoid (on Keto)
- The science (of the Keto diet)
- Lose weight (with Keto)
- … and more.
In the WordPress editor, you can add categories and tags. So for the above, I’d add all the other aspects and probably attract readers who wanted more in-depth information, not just Keto diet.
Yoast Plug-in is a Second Set of Eyes
Yoast is a plug-in for a WordPress site. It also has an editor that gives you insight or frequently used words in your post. This also helps you determine keywords and where to strategically place them:
- In the title – near the beginning
- Throughout the post
- Only where relevant
Check all the features of Yoast before you publish. There’s a lot of tips, edits, and suggestions that help improve your writing, as well as giving you a list of internal links from your site that would add value to the post.
And it’s always nice to get the little green dots – means something is right.
Will They Understand This Post?
Besides the SEO, Yoast will give you a readability score. This number is based on:
- Flesch Reading Ease
- Passive Voice
- Consecutive Sentences
- Subheading Distribution
- Paragraph Lengths
- Sentence Length
And don’t forget that images offer you one more place to add keywords in the ALT text. Since search engines can’t see an image, these words act as a point of references for the search engines.
For instance, all the images for this post include the name of the post, Two Drops of Ink, and my name. As an aside, I remember looking for an addiction image on Google, and up popped one for From Addict 2 Advocate. That reinforced the message that images are advertising in the background. Use them.
With just these four tips, you can make your writing relevant to your readers, add additional perspectives, find valuable links, and get Google’s attention.
Simplify, share your perspectives, do your research, and give your readers value in your posts.
See, it’s not hard at all.
By Marilyn L. Davis
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