21 Proven Tips on Starting a Successful Blog in 2020 – A Guide with Free Resources

With all of the changes that Google has put all websites through this past year, it’s time you had an opportunity to discover proven tips on starting a successful blog this year. That is why I will be sharing 21 tips with you in this guide.

In this guide, I will be presuming that you have already selected your niche.

Tip #1.) Pay close attention when creating your About page. For those who need to simply update their website, then simply make the changes deemed to be most important, going forward. Following the new standards could be a matter of your website making it or not.

Tip #2.) Create irresistible titles for your posts. Titles that people won’t be able to resist clicking on. Google scripts keeps track of how many clicks that your post gets. If no one clicks on your blog that gets offered in a Google search result, then no one will read your post, and thus Google could lower the rank of your post.

Tip #3.) The most attractive titles use an odd number PLUS a superlative PLUS an exact keyword phrase. Note the examples provided below.

examples of odd number titles + a superlative + an exact keyword phrase

Apparently, titles that start with a number gets clicked on the most in search results. And, titles that use odd numbers are clicked on 25% more often than even numbers.

Claims are made that 78% of all titles that get clicked on the most in search results have a superlative in the title too.

What Are Superlatives?

Superlatives are adjectives or adverbs used when comparing something. A superlative adjective can be used to show something has a quality that is greater than or less than. Where a superlative adverb is used to show something has achieved an action that is greater than or less than.

The following is a list of examples of Positive and Negative Superlatives.

POSITIVE SUPERLATIVES NEGATIVE SUPERLATIVES
Proven
Greatest
Biggest
Largest
Perfect
Hottest
Best
Top
Most
Ever
Always
Funniest
Easiest
Simplest
Fastest
Strongest
Stop
Avoid
Don’t
Worst
Nightmare
Nothing
None
Not Ever
Never
No Way
By No Means
 

 

Tip #4.) Only use negative superlatives to scare searchers into clicking on your post titles in their search results. Negative superlatives are said to out perform other superlatives by 30%.

Tip #5.) Add a modifier at the end of your post title. This can help your post rank for more keywords and also boost you click through rate from search results. However, you have to make sure your content covers your modifier too, else it will only serve to increase your bounce rate, which would lower your post ranking in future search results.

The following is an example of an added modifier: 7 Best SEO Methods for Getting Your Posts Ranked High in 2020

This makes “in 2020” the modifier at the end of this post title. The following year (2021), you could simply add more information to your post and then change the year at the end of your post title. However, you need to make your URL to this post END at “High”, so that you can use the year as your modifier.

Another example would be: 5 Great Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Website for Under $25

In this example, the “for Under $25” is your modifier that you would need to make sure does NOT appear in the URL of your post. This way, should the price ever increase, you can easily update your title, along with your content so that your information is accurate and up to date.

Tip #6.) For the times where you cannot use a number in your post titles, then use exact keyword phrase PLUS a long tail keyword modifier.

Example: How to Fix a Plugged Drain – Use This Home Remedy and Save

In this example, Google could show this post for:

  • Fix a plugged drain
  • Fix a plugged drain using home remedy
  • Fix a plugged drain and save

Another example would be: Gas Verses Electric: Review and Compare Hot Water Tanks to Rent or Own

In this example, Google might show this post for the following keywords:

  • Gas verses electric hot water tank
  • Rent gas verses own gas hot water tank
  • Rent electric verses own electric hot water tank
  • Rent verses own hot water tank reviews
  • Rent verses own hot water tank comparisons
  • Hot water tank reviews
  • Hot water tank comparisons
  • Rent gas hot water tank
  • Own gas hot water tank
  • Rent electric hot water tank
  • Own electric hot water tank
  • Etc.

Tip #7.) Title case rules appear to be in the midst of changing too. It has been discovered that sentence case titles are now being clicked on in search results more often than title case. Though, in the USA, you will see more title cases use for awhile.

Example of sentence case: Learn to build a website by attending Durham College

Example of title case: Learn to Build a Website by Attending Durham College

Tip #8.) It is important that you keep your post titles to 57 characters so that your titles will not be truncated or cut off short. However, you could put your keyword phrase in the first half of your titles and then it would be okay to go longer. Then if your title were to be cut off short, there would be no loss.

Tip #9.) The ideal number of words in a title is considered to be 6, so do make sure that you make those 6 words work for you by using your keywords in those 6.

Tip #10.) Be sure to use “You” or “Your” (without the quotation marks, of course) in your blog titles. Example: These tips are just for you! And, “just for you” is a recommended phrase to use too.

Tip #11.) Use “How” rather than “Why” when asking a question in your post titles, as it has been found to work best.

Tip #12.) Reduce any truly unnecessary plugins from your website so that your website will load faster. Plugins that are no longer supported are notorious for leaving your website vulnerable to hacker attacks, so always make sure to update any CMS (content management system) files (themes and plugins) whenever updates become available.

Tip #13.) Those of you with WordPress websites should be sure to use a plugin that compresses your images without sacrificing the quality. This will help your website load faster. Examples: ShortPixel Image Optimizer or Smush

Tip #14.) Add a method of caching your website. Examples: W3 Total Cache or WP Fastest Cache

Tip #15.) Be sure to add a method of security to your website, especially if you are using WordPress as your CMS. Due to WordPress being the most popular CMS, hackers tend to favour attacking these sites first. Examples: All in One WP Security & Firewall or Wordfence Security

Tip #16.) Backup your website on a regular basis. If you are using WordPress, you can use a plugin to do this, but I also recommend that you download your entire website folders using your FTP access.

Be sure to download your backup file created by a plugin, as you will need to use this file should a hacker ever gain access to your website and compromise it. Keeping your backup copy online will only provide hackers with a method of corrupting your backup file too.

Examples of backup plugins are: Updraft, Clone, or All-in-One WP Migration

Tip #17.) Check your website for page speed and make any necessary improvements that you can. Do be sure to ALWAYS backup your website BEFORE making those changes so that you have a means of restoring your website, should worse come to worse, and the changes you make break your website.

The best tool I have found to use in check your website for speed is PageSpeed Insights, which is owned by Google. Make Google happy and you will reap the benefits.

Tip #18.) Get a SSL certificate for your website and fix any pages and/or posts displaying a Connection is Not Secure.

Once setup properly, this protects your visitor’s devices. Even though you may feel that it may not help your website’s overall ranking, it will add to your website being more trustworthy (which is a ranking factor). Especially if your competitor’s sites are not using one.

Tip #19.) Do keyword researching for any of the questions you want to write posts on, there are a few free methods you can use.

Go to Google dot com and start typing your question into Google’s search textbox, as seen in the screen print below.

screen print of starting a search in Google

There is also a free keyword tool for Chrome users, as well as a free keyword tool for Firefox users.If you are using a different browser than either of these two, you may find one available for your browser by doing an internet search, being sure to use your browser name in your search.

NOTE: When wanting to use this keyword tool, you will need to make sure that the free keyword tool is allowed to run in incognito or private window mode when using this method.

In Firefox, simply go to “AddOns” and then click on “Keywords Everywhere – Keyword Tool”, then scroll down and click on the “Allow” radio button beside “Run in Private Windows”.

Once you are done searching for keywords to use in writing your content, be sure to go BACK to “AddOns” and “Keywords Everywhere – Keyword Tool”, and then click on “Don’t Allow” so that you won’t be bombarded with keywords when you are doing your searching for information that you are NOT writing about.

My Firefox browser displayed a “K” icon on the top, right-hand side of my browser’s address bar that when I clicked on it, provided me with an option to simply turn this tool off.

Now, with the free keyword tool installed and ready to use, type in the question you wish to write your post on. See screen print below…

screen print of a Google search page 1 with the pertinent areas framed in red

SIDENOTE: Notice how far down Google’s page 1 that the organic listings now appear in your search results.

Now, taking a look at the 4 different areas outlined in red in the screen print above, even if you decided not to use the free keyword tool… you could simply use the “People also ask” questions that are below the Featured Snippet, as well as the “Searches related to…” section at the very bottom of the search results page.

Note the question answered in the Featured Snippet (and using your own words when providing that information in your post), be sure to provide the answer to that question at the very start of your post. Then add your answers to the other questions displayed in the sections noted in the screen print above. You may be able use them as either sub-titles or even new posts.

Tip #21.) Provide quality, unique content on a regular basis, meaning if you only want to publish posts once a month. Simply make sure that you publish your posts at the same time every month, so that you are consistent.

There are 3 types of content that you SHOULD have on your website. These are as follows:

10 response posts, with no less than 1300 words – answer questions asked in your niche

  • Discover the questions that people are asking about your niche.
  • Find out which one of those questions you want to answer first, because you want to start with the questions that have the most searched volume.
  • Find out what the intention of the person is who is asking the question.
  • RESEARCH to find all of the great answers to those questions, and then provide complete answers.
  • Do keyword research on those questions.
  • Use a variation of the keywords in your posts, so you are not repeating the same keywords. This way you won’t have your website penalized for stuffing keywords.
  • Be sure to use strong emotional words and intent in your posts whenever possible.

10 shareable posts, with no less than 2200 words – which would be posts such as “how-to…”, “15 things that…”, “Secrets of…”

  • Find out what topics that people are sharing with their friends or associates.
  • Remember that odd numbered list posts tend to do very well.
  • How to guides are another great idea.
  • Titles with “Mistakes…”, “Secrets…”, and “Discover…” in them do well.
  • Use superlatives the right way.
  • Choose the right headlines.

10 pillar posts, with no less than 5000 words – examples: free eReports, researched topics, etc.

  • These are also considered as your long form or sticky content.
  • These are great for driving traffic to your website from other sources like social media.
  • These can turn into lead generators.
  • You create presentations and eBooks from your pillar posts.
  • These will all require really deep research.
  • Always create good content that is hard to find in other places.
  • Offer the best solution to the problem that the user came to your website to find out about.

These are only KEY posts that will work well for you… BUT, do not think that you can stop publishing once you have completed these and still expect to keep your site ranking well. That tactic no longer works. You will still need to add content on a regular basis and you need to provide quality, unique content.

Thank YOU for reading this far down my guide. For those of you who have done so, the following is your bonus tip.

BONUS Tip: Some professional SEO agencies claim that you should never use Microsoft® Word to write your content in, and then copy and paste the content into WordPress. They say that Word has a lot of hidden codes that get copied into WordPress, and that these hidden codes can affect your site’s SEO by causing confusion.

It has been suggested that the best practice is to simply write and format your content directly into in WordPress. This way, no hidden scripts will corrupt your content, causing ill affects on your website’s SEO.

How long does it take to get your blog to rank

It could take upwards of 6 to 24 months to get your blog to rank well. This you have to consider as an investment of your time and money. Not only is it important that your website rank well, but also that your website receives targeted traffic.

  • Do your keyword researching as shown above,
  • Keep a spreadsheet of all of your keyword phrases to help you use them,
  • Keep a spreadsheet of all your post titles to see which ones work best,
  • Rank your keyword phrases to be used in your sub-titles by keyword search volume,
  • Remember that your titles are the most important part of your posts,
  • Use numbers at the beginning of your titles, and remember that those searching prefer odd numbered posts, so Google ranks those higher than other posts.

Opportunities to Rank Well

Fast Keyword Research

  • No more having to buy expensive software.
  • Use Google suggestions that are provided to you when you start typing your question into the search textbox… it is free.
  • Get instinctive (what one feels to be true) with a buyer’s intent as this can help you create your winning titles.
  • Use Googles related or “Searches related to…”, this will help you discover what people are really looking for.
  • Use your free Google Analytics once you start getting lots of traffic.

It is my hope that I have provided you with a fully informative guide with 21 proven tips on starting a successful blog in 2020 and beyond. Please share this guide with your friends.

Should you have any questions regarding these 21 tips, please feel free to leave them in a comment below and I will assist you at my earliest convenience.

Source:
Katerina Gasset’s webinar titled, Blogging in 2020 & Beyond! Best Practices and SEO Must-Do’s

 

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Trish

Website Designer for Parr's Publishing. As a full certified Internet Specialist, I help business owners and organizations increase their profits by providing them with a fully managed, custom designed website as well as basic Search Engine Optimization.

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