This is how to create the perfect blog in 2019. This is going to be about a specific blog post creating your article, how to do it, what it should look like, what it should include, how to please the audience and Google, and how to include your affiliate links or products.
My name is Lori Ballen, and I am a six-figure affiliate marketer. In addition to that, I also own a top real estate business in Las Vegas, a weight loss coaching company, and a marketing company – BallenBrands.
I am kind of doing all things digital marketing, so these are the strategies I employ for all my businesses.
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
- 💻 Part 1 – How to Start a Blog
- 🏷 Part 2 – How To Use WordPress Categories and Tags
- 🎀 Step 3 – Adding Your Featured Image with Canva
- 📑 Part 4 – Intro, Excerpt, Metadescription
- 🎥 Part 5 – Embed Video, Call to Action, Gutenberg Blocks
- 🗄 Part 6 – Adding the Text and Breaking Up The Content
- 📇 Part 7 – Adding in Your Table of Contents
💻 Part 1 – How to Start a Blog
From Clicky I can see that the number one thing that is currently bringing the most traffic to my website is a
Now, I tend to drip out such hyper-local blogs throughout my real estate website because I am working diligently, want to prove to Google that I am the authority on Las Vegas.
Which helps my real estate rankings and it is also good for the consumer to see that we are specialists in this particular area as well.
Not just real estate, but we know our town. It brings in locals and then Google stores a memory of that relationship between those visitors and my website, meaning my website will appear more often for those visitors when they conduct searches related to real estate and Las Vegas.
It is also good for my affiliate marketing and my Google ads to have the traffic on there; it serves many purposes.
I usually use the same recipe over and over again, but I have not always done this. I started to blog ever since blogging was a thing and back then it was terrible.
The layout was not eye-catching, there wasn’t any whitespace, and it was just a huge chunk of text. But that was just how blogging was when AOL first said, “You’ve got mail”.
Over time there has been
When I blog, my focus is based on the visitor; I want him/her to have a great experience. What are they going to find valuable? What is important to them?
Then I will drip in my affiliate links, products or services, that sort of thing. My focus is on how do I give the reader value that nobody else is giving them? What can I do differently?
📋 Follow these steps to create a new blog on WordPress:
Step 1: On your WordPress homepage click on New Post
Step 2: Before you start writing, it is always important to do some study, check what people are searching.
Step 3: Type in your title e.g. “Free Keyword Tool”
Step 4: Click on save draft.
Step 5: Check your URL is the right URL. WordPress will automatically assign that particular page a URL based on your title.
You want your keyword to be included in the URL. It doesn’t need to be in the top-level domain, but in the slug (everything that comes after the slash).
Anyone who searches using your keyword on Google, your page has a higher likelihood of showing up because the keyword is included in the URL.
🏷 Part 2 – How To Use WordPress Categories and Tags
In the previous section, we looked at how to create a title and a URL, in this section we look at the introduction.
You can use this intro in multiple places on your blog to feed some of that technical stuff; the Meta description.
If you are using WordPress Gutenberg, which is my favorite editor for any platform, what you are able to do is when you click on a document; you can see several things related to the page on the right-hand column.
On document, you can see all the stuff that’s related to your document, which is your entire article.
Block is anything that is related only to the content blocks. WordPress Gutenberg uses content blocks. This is the magic of Gutenberg.
WordPress is made up of a few things:
Pages are kind of your evergreen content. They are like the about page; the contact us page; your privacy statement; any disclosures etc.
Those are kind of what I use for my pages. I don’t have a bunch of parent pages and child pages on my website, because primarily those pages are just those staple pieces that people would use to contact us or to find out more about us.
Everything else I do is done through the blog categories and blog posts.
If you think about a book and you open it. The book has a cover page, this is the title of your book.
The book has a little description on the front page or on the back of the book to tell people what the book is about. This is going to be your intro.
Usually, my intro is about 150 words. You do not want this to be lengthy. Why should anybody read your book?
Why should anybody read your article? That is what that is. It is not a two-page preface; it is a tiny little description.
If you were to look at this book on Amazon, what is the quick little summary of what that book is about? That is your intro.
Now let us look at chapters of your book or your categories. For instance, my chapter one is going to be about Lori Ballen and I’m going to write all this stuff about Lori Ballen.
That is my category. You only need different categories if you are going to be blogging a lot about that category.
One of my websites: “The7thStream.com” is all about affiliate marketing, therefore it would make sense that I would have a category called affiliate blog, affiliate marketing, affiliate income etc.
Now inside, there’s going to be all these chapters. I might have a chapter about marketing tools, a chapter about SEO etc.
A chapter about SEO fits in a couple of spots. It is about blogging, but it is also about keywords which are about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It can get rather tricky figuring what category to put things in.
On your WordPress blog page click on “Add a new category” and give it a name e.g. Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
There are multiple categories on WordPress, and if you put these in multiple categories, Google is going to look at them as duplicate content.
Depending on what SEO tool you are using, it might choose for you a primary category.
If you are not using a fancy SEO tool that separates categories for you, just put your content under one category.
If you want to use tags, they are going to allow you to add even more segments.
There is functionality on WordPress that allows certain things to happen around categories and certain things to happen around tags, and you may get to a point where you’d rather use more categories and tags.
Tags are kind of like tiny keywords that you’re not really going to create a whole section for this.
You are not going to create a whole category for your tags because it is not a major thing, but it might still be relevant.
If you are just learning how to blog, don’t worry about it. Just put in a category and leave your tags blank.
You can come back to these later and do all of your
💡 Try SEMRush for tracking and monitoring your website rankings
🎀 Step 3 – Adding Your Featured Image with Canva
Canva is a free platform, but they do have a paid option as well. Canva allows you to create thumbnails for your work.
To create a thumbnail, just go over to the Canva blog and create a design. The design options include square, social media posts, presentations, posters, Facebook covers etc.
I normally go over to blog banner. I also like to use the YouTube templates, the YouTube thumbnails, and they crossover pretty well.
On your blog if you have a website where you have several blogs displayed at the same time, it might be worth it for you to keep them cohesive.
You can use the same template over and over again. Just keep changing the title and the image in the background to keep things simple.
For example, on my website LoriBallen.com I have the same theme. I like to have my blogs displayed in a particular order. You have to decide what you actually like better for your blog themes; do you want them to have the same color scheme?
The cool thing about Canva is that you can actually set up a brand color template.
Let’s say I am creating a blog series for my 7th Stream website, I can click on
🖼 To create featured images on Canva follow these steps:
Step 1: Go to set featured image
Step 2: Go to upload
Step 3: Go to select files and upload the one you like
Step 4: Look for where you have alt text. This is where you will type something that describes the image to somebody who can’t see the image. E.g. Lori Ballen is standing in a black leather jacket with the words Lori Ballen, six figure affiliate marketer. And the next panel shows the title, e.g. How to start a blog in 2019 part one.
Step 5: Click select and now you have your featured image.
Depending on what template you are using, this featured image does not automatically show up anywhere on the page.
So, if you want it to actually show up when the person’s reading the blog, you will have to insert it somewhere.
But what this does is after we publish a blog if that blog is shared to Facebook or Twitter or any other social media, or it shows up on a blog digest, this image will show up.
Suggestion: How to Create a Brand Board using Canva
📑 Part 4 – Intro, Excerpt, Metadescription
📝 Introduction and Excerpt
On your WordPress work area, the little section on the right-hand side under the image is called the excerpt.
The excerpt is very important and it should not be ignored. It is your brief description of the article.
Essentially, your introduction should be a short little snippet of what the reader should expect to receive reading this article.
You only have a moment to capture their attention. What is it they are going to gain by reading this article?
The introduction as a best practice is also your first paragraph of the page and should include your target keyword. It is about 150 words.
Now this intro can become your excerpt. You can copy it and paste it in the excerpt. You can also use some advanced features to have your introduction automatically become your excerpt.
Once you copy your intro onto the excerpt section, it will show up on your blog descriptions.
It might show up on search engines, on a pin or in other ways that the platforms use the excerpt; therefore it is very important that you do not ignore this.
Your excerpt can also be your Meta description, which is what Google reads as what your website is about.
In search engine optimization you might have rich pins set up on your website, so your images are pinning, and they might use the Meta description.
In some places they’re going to pull from the excerpt in some places they are going to pull from the Meta description, and some places are going to be pulled from the introduction.
It is not important to understand any of that, what’s important is that you understand how to blog and you know where to put things.
📜 Blog Format
In this section, I am going to show the formula that has worked for me. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do things your own way or learn another formula, it is just my formula.
This is what I have learned over time, works well, creates a good user experience, ranks on the search engines and I’m always tweaking, customizing and figuring new ways out.
For example, I just added WooCommerce to all of my websites and it is how I am able to add products. It is cool and I love it. Now it has become part of my affiliate marketing effort.
We will use WordPress Gutenberg; it is my favorite because of the content blocks. Content blocks allow us to change the look, feel and functionality of a piece of content.
🎥 Video and Audio
For me, I almost always include a video in my blog posts, because it increases dwell time.
If somebody watches the video, they will be on your page longer and on your website longer.
That’s a positive quality signal that the person is finding your content valuable which would affect search engine ranking.
Whether that’s an actual ranking signal or not is debatable, but since rankbrain is measuring quality I would think dwell time is absolutely something.
It looks at how long somebody spends on your website. We know people want video because they find video valuable.
To have it on the page in case they want to watch something is definitely a benefit.
I am also starting to get more into audio. Some people are visual learners and audio learners.
Some people like to read, so giving them multiple options adds value to them. I am obsessed with adding value to the reader and that is why I think my content is does well.
🎥 Part 5 – Embed Video, Call to Action, Gutenberg Blocks
Step 1: Go over to YouTube from your Gutenberg block.
Step 2: You can use your own video or somebody else’s video
Using someone else’s YouTube video on your blog post is absolutely okay.
In fact, it is a benefit to that person because what happens is YouTube has a shared license.
If someone loads a video up into YouTube with the permission to allow other people to embed (which most people don’t even realize there’s a permission setting) for that then we have permission to add their video on our blog.
We cannot change that video, we’re not stealing it. It is kept in its current form and actually counts as a play on their YouTube channel.
It is simply embedded on our blog post but it is actually still playing from YouTube. As a result, the video owner gets more play on their video.
It is absolutely okay and it is of good ethics. What is not okay is taking another person’s video, chopping it up, and adding your own stuff to it.
Step 3: If you want to, you could tell the video to begin at 0.2 or start it 3 minutes or start at the beginning depending on where you know you want to get past the sales pitch or whatnot. You could have it start at a later spot.
Step 4: Click copy
Step 5: Go back to your post, click the plus sign on Gutenberg’s content block and use the embed code.
Step 6: Click on embed and it will prompt you to paste the URL there. Click embed and the videos will show up right where you want them. The videos will resize automatically for mobile.
Step 7: Add a caption. E.g. “Watch this video to see how keywords everywhere work”
Step 8: Underneath your video put your call to action. Add another content block and add some sort of call to action. This could be a button, a free eBook, etc.
To put buttons, go down to buttons and click button. You can put a Chrome extension.
Let’s say you have an affiliate link and the main reason for creating your blog post is to generate business for your affiliate link. You can put in your affiliate link.
You can change our button colors, but you might want to just stay with the theme whatever your color theme is and then you can save.
Reusable blocks make your blogging easier because you can be able to your affiliate links in there so that they automatically link for you or that you can drop that link in there.
There are a lot of other calls to action you can use underneath your video. Instead of a button, you could link to another link on your website. You could have the user fill out a form, download a guide, etc.
There are all kinds of things, but you can also insert an affiliate banner, so that you may have
The point is to make sure that no matter what it is you’re doing, it should match the goal of that page. That is how you embed a video and include your call to action.
🗄 Part 6 – Adding the Text and Breaking Up The Content
Knowing how to add the words of the blog is really important.
There are some strategies of SEO you are going to want to follow and then there’s also how you put it on the page that helps the reader stay longer because their eyes aren’t getting sore, and they are able to see and read things much easier.
The first thing you should note is that you want to have sections.
Each of your paragraphs is going to be a separate section or each of your thought processes will be a separate section.
If you are creating a blog and you are really diving deep and giving some in-depth quality information to your user it is probably going to be 1,500 words, 2,000, 3,000 etc.
Step 1: Before you start to write a blog, you probably want to start with what you want the paragraph headers to be.
Let’s say I am writing on free keyword tools, therefore the top of every paragraph is actually going to be one of my favorite keyword tools.
My first one’s going to be “Keywords Everywhere”.
I will click on the editing option and change the text format to heading 2. Heading 1 is for the title of the blog post.
Each blog post should only have one heading 1, but it can have multiple heading 2s.
Think of it as an outline, if you are in a seminar and you are going to make an outline, the first title is the title of the seminar. In each portion of the seminar there is going to be a section that has a larger heading.
This is kind of like you would format a table of contents title and then you would indent down and you’ll do another title and then you would indent down underneath that to come up with another subcategory that would have your h3 and h4.
A lot of times people do not even use anything besides this so what you need to know is that every new paragraph that starts a new topic should get a new heading.
Step 2: Now we have typed our first h2. Enter down and type 200-300 words about that h2. You can include a video, an image, or a screen capture to show people graphic information about what you are writing about.
Step 3: Add a divider. You can use the separator on WordPress. For me personally I use something called short codes ultimate, which is a plugin I added to my WordPress. It allows me to add a divider that has a back to top option.
I don’t like the separator that comes with Gutenberg because it doesn’t give the ability for visitors to click on it and shoot back up to the top. I prefer for the user to be able to go back to the table of contents whenever they want.
Step 4: As you write your sentences, the best practice is to put space after you write two sentences, sometimes after you write one sentence and sometimes after you write three.
Your goal is to break up the chunky text because if you type too much the user will get tired.
To include bullet points, enter down and hit a plus. Inside Gutenberg, you will see a bullet point.
You can include the number of items you want. Your bullet points can be heading 3 if they’re sub categories. Maybe you are describing the features of something.
Apart from adding space or using bullets, you can also break
You can make the content of a block to have
Another thing you can do is to give it color e.g. black background color and white text.
Every time you create a paragraph, you should break up the visuals by adding quotes, underlining, colors, images, videos, bullet points, etc.
Just take a paragraph and picture that a person is only reading that paragraph.
What can you add to that paragraph that is going to grab their attention that is going to be appealing to that user, that’s going to break up that heavy text?
📇 Part 7 – Adding in Your Table of Contents
A table of contents allows the visitor to look at some options and click it and shoot down the page to just that option.
It provides quality user experience.
The user doesn’t want to read everything; therefore having a table of contents allows them to get to the content they want right away.
If I am doing a long-form blog and I’m going to have 4, 5, 6, 7 or whatever number of paragraphs or options in a list; I want them in a table of contents.
Also, the table of contents has some strong elements to it that the search engines like for their search engine results.
🗃 Follow these steps to add a table of contents:
Step 1: On your WordPress website, go to your plugins and click add new.
Step 2: Do a quick search for table of contents plus and click install now. Once you set this up all of your table of contents will be automated moving forward.
Step 3: Under settings go to TOC Plus. That is the table of contents plus, which is a free addition to your WordPress website.
Step 4: Set where you want the Table of Contents to appear. Do you want it to show up before the first heading when there are at least 4 headings present?
Step 5: You can call the table quick links or quick table of contents, whatever you want to call it.
Step 6: You can allow the user to show or hide it, set the width, set the color etc. Then click update.
Step 7: On your blog, click preview to see how the table of content shows up.