I started blogging in 2015. From a blog about breakdancing to being a professional content marketer, I’ve learned a lot along the way.
In this post, I’ll share the blogging tips I learned.
Blogging is hard work. You won’t last if you:
- Hate the topics you write about.
- Don’t make a single cent.
So you’ll want to focus on a niche that you both love and have actual people paying for products and services.
I won’t profess to know what you love. But to find out if a niche is profitable, Google it and see if (and how) the ranking sites are monetizing. For example, if our niche is about teaching Korean, we can see sites monetizing by selling books, courses, and tutoring.
Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis and spend months deciding blogging platforms. Just go with WordPress.
Why? Because WordPress:
- Powers over 60 million blogs – There’s no need to fear it being shut down or unreliable.
- Robust marketplace of plugins – You can install any plugin to do almost anything for you, including SEO plugins.
Google Analytics (GA) is the most used analytics tool. And it’s free.
Set it up so you can see your traffic, what pages people are viewing, what channels they’re coming from, and more.
Follow the guide below to learn how to set up and use GA4.
Native speakers don’t buy language courses. Learners do. If you’re teaching Korean, the latter is who you want reading your content.
That’s why identifying your ideal reader is important. It informs what type of topics you should cover.
It doesn’t have to be overly complex. Start with a single sentence and refine it later on. For example, we can define the Ahrefs Blog reader as this:
People who want to drive more search traffic to their websites.
To do that, you need to target topics people are searching for. Here’s how to find them:
- Go to Keywords Explorer
- Enter a relevant keyword
- Go to the Matching terms report
- Switch the tab to Questions
We can add a Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to narrow the list down to those that are easy to rank for:
Look through the report and pick out the keywords that are relevant to your blog.
Imagine a crystal ball that tells you exactly which of your competitors’ articles got the most traffic. You’d be able to tackle the same topics too.
It exists, and it’s called Site Explorer.
Here’s how to find these topics:
- Go to Site Explorer
- Enter your competitor’s domain
- Go to Top Pages
You’ll see the articles that send your competitors the most search traffic. For example, Beardbrand’s article on beard styles gets an estimated 50,000 monthly search visits. If you are competing with Beardbrand, you can target the topic “beard styles” too.
Search intent is the why behind a search query. Google aims to understand that so it can serve the most relevant results.
So if you want to stand a higher chance of ranking, you want to match search intent.
To figure out search intent, simply Google your target keyword and look at the top-ranking results. For example, we see that the top-ranking pages for “best wireless headphones” are mostly blog posts listing recommendations:
So if we’re targeting this keyword, we’ll have to create a listicle too.
Amplifiers are people with a large audience.
You’re guaranteed eyeballs if they share your content with their audience. But they don’t simply share any ol’ regular content. They only want those that are unique and original, as evidenced by this rejection from marketing influencer Rand Fishkin to Ahrefs Chief Marketing Officer Tim Soulo years ago:
The best way to create original content is to write from personal experience. For example, when I wrote about being a content creator, I wrote it from my perspective:
Famed adman David Ogilvy once wrote, “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.”
People will decide whether to read your content based on the headline. So use the ABC formula to create eye-catching headlines:
- A: Adjective
- B: Benefit
- C: Confidence booster
For example, here’s how it improves a simple headline like “10 SEO Tips.”
Your headline has done its job and got them to click. But they can still be put off from reading… unless the intro hooks them in.
How do you do that? Use the PAS formula:
First, you define the problem:
Next, you agitate it:
Then, you offer a solution:
Most blog posts follow a common structure. For example, we use this template for our SEO glossary:
- What is X?
- Why is X important?
- X best practices
You can see an example here.
Using templates saves you time and keeps your quality consistent. Your readers won’t mind at all.
No writer sits down and vomits out words. They always begin with an outline. An outline prevents blank page syndrome and keeps your thoughts organized.
Here’s how you can create an outline:
- Go to Keywords Explorer
- Enter your target keyword
- Scroll to the SERP overview
- Check three top-ranking pages
- Click Open in and choose Content Gap
This opens up the Content Gap report, which shows you the common keyword rankings among the pages. Some of them will be subtopics you should include in your outline. For example, if I want to write about making cold brew coffee, these can make good subheadings:
- What is cold brew coffee
- Cold brew coffee grounds
- Cold brew ratio
- How to make cold brew coffee
- How long to steep cold brew
Even if you’ve been in the industry for a while, it’s unlikely that you’ll know everything. You can overcome this by interviewing experts and including their comments in your article.
For example, I’ve never built a personal brand on LinkedIn—so I had to reach out and ask marketing consultant David Fallarme.
Here’s a simple way to find experts if you’re not sure who to reach out to:
- Go to Content Explorer
- Enter the topic of your content
- Go to the Authors tab
This will show you a list of authors who’ve published content about the topic.
14. Help readers grasp concepts with examples
Examples help clarify complex concepts and can substitute long explanations. I’ve used plenty in this article.
But here’s one more example, for example’s sake:
15. Give readers an effortless reading experience
Nothing sends readers off to dreamland faster than a block of text. So you’ll want to give your readers the best possible reading experience:
- Use descriptive subheadings (H2–H6) for hierarchy
- Use bullets to help with skimming
- Use images and GIFs (where needed) to break up the text
- Use short sentences and paragraphs to avoid “walls of text”
- Use simple words that everyone can understand
- Write as you speak to make things conversational
- Read your copy out loud (when editing) to smooth the flow
16. Get feedback on your content
If you’re writing alone, it’s easy to make mistakes and miss things. So it’s worth getting a second pair of eyes on your content before you hit “publish.”
We do this all the time at Ahrefs. We read each other’s content and offer feedback—areas that can be removed, points that can be clarified, and sentences that can be worded better.
We’ve even reflected that in our blog posts.
17. Befriend other bloggers by reaching out to those you mention
As you’re writing, you’ll likely mention someone or link to their content. You should reach out and let them know after you’ve published it.
Most of them will be delighted to hear they’ve been featured. They may even share it on social media or link to it.
Remember that the focus is to build relationships with them, not the one-off sharing. This is how you create a network of like-minded friends in the industry.
To do this, just go through your blog post and make a note whenever you link elsewhere. Then find their emails (or their social media accounts) and reach out to let them know.
18. Publish a weekly newsletter
Every week, we send a newsletter:
Publishing a weekly newsletter helps you build an engaged audience who looks forward to reading your content. It also helps you with the initial traction of any article you publish.
Best of all: Your email list is yours. Third-party platforms like YouTube or Twitter can ban or delete you, but your email list can’t.
To build an email list, you need two ingredients: traffic and something of value.
The blogging tips here will get you traffic. So you need something valuable to persuade your readers to join. At Ahrefs, we keep it simply by offering to deliver the week’s best content:
But the world’s your oyster. You can offer a free ebook, the PDF version of the post, an email course, whatever. All you need is a bit of creativity.
19. Add internal links to your new articles
Internal links are links from one page on the same domain to another. They can pass PageRank, which can help boost a page’s rankings.
Here’s how to find pages to add internal links to:
- Sign up for the free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT)
- Run a crawl using Site Audit
- When the crawl is done, go to the Internal link opportunities report
This report shows you relevant internal link opportunities on your site. Search for the URL of the page you want to boost and choose “Target page” from the dropdown.
20. Repurpose your content on different platforms
You’ve already spent so much time and effort creating an article. Don’t waste it. Repurpose it into different formats and publish them on different channels.
For example, you can turn an article into a video:
You can also turn them into X/Twitter threads:
You can even turn them into Reddit posts:
You’re only limited by your creativity.
21. Refresh older content
With time, your thoughts, opinions, and knowledge will improve. You’ll be doing your audience a disservice if you don’t update your older content to reflect your newfound knowledge and ideas.
What’s even better is that refreshing your content can often boost your page’s traffic too. For example, I updated my post on free SEO tools, and traffic shot up:
22. Read at least 30 minutes a day
Bestselling author Morgan Housel writes:
Most good writing is a byproduct of good reading. You’ll never meet a good writer who doesn’t spend most of their time reading.
If you want to improve your writing or discover new ideas, you need to read. I recommend building a habit of reading at least 30 minutes a day. As for what to read, look toward your industry’s thought leaders and see what they’re recommending. For example, Tim regularly asks for recommendations on Twitter:
23. Keep and manage a second brain
Coined by Tiago Forte, a productivity expert, a second brain is this:
A trusted and organized digital repository of your most valued ideas, notes, and creative work synced across all your devices and platforms.
Put simply: It’s a place to store your notes so you can access and remind yourself of what you’ve already read. A second brain is important because you don’t want to always be researching from scratch.
For me, my second brain exists on Notion:
This is the first place I turn to whenever I begin writing an article.
24. Create a “Write 100 blog posts” project
Once, a ceramics teacher divided a class into two groups:
- Group #1 was to be graded solely on the quantity of work produced.
- Group #2 was to be graded solely on the quality.
On the final day, a surprising fact emerged. The works of the highest quality were produced by the group graded for quantity. The “quantity” group produced a lot and learned from their mistakes, while the “quality” group sat theorizing for perfection and ended up producing nothing.
Quantity leads to quality. The more you create, the better you become.
As of this writing, I’m at 93 blog posts written for Ahrefs. And previously, I wrote five emails a week to my breakdance blog subscribers, eventually writing over a hundred.
I attribute my biggest jumps in improvements to these projects.
If you want to become a better blogger, commit to publishing 100 blog posts. This will keep you accountable and force you to “practice.”
Blogging is hard. But you’re not alone.
I’ve gone through the ups and downs. And with that experience, I’ve charted the path for you. All that’s left is for you to implement these blogging tips and get to work.