You have a blog. It’s all set up and ready for content. What next? What and how do you write?
In this post, I’ll walk you through all of the essential content your blog needs and how to format it on your site.
How to Set Up a “Coming Soon” Page
As you’re setting up your blog and preparing to launch it, you’ll want to put up a coming soon page. This way, when people find your site, they’re not repelled by whatever gray or “this site is under construction” page that’s already there.
Setting up a “Coming Soon” page is also a great way to get email subscribers who are excited about the launch of your blog. You can include an email opt-in form and an opt-in freebie to draw in subscribers before the site ever launches.
I set it up using the Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode plugin by SeedProd. Krista Rae has an incredible post about how to set it up that will walk you through it step-by-step.
The Main Pages Your Blog Needs
After you set up your “Coming Soon” page and make it live, you can focus on creating all the pages your blog will need when you officially launch it.
Create an “About” page
An “About” page acts as your readers’ introduction to you. It’s the place to put your best foot forward.
Try sharing your story in a way that relates to the content of your blog. If you’re blogging about something in particular, make sure you share why you’re interested in the topic.
You can also add in some fun facts about yourself to give your readers a better understanding of who you are and what you love.
Your “About” page, if done well, can be the perfect place to connect with your readers and solidify their interest in you and your blog.
Create a “Contact” page
People will want to contact you. So make sure there’s a clear and easy way for them to get in touch.
You can easily set up a “Contact” page using the plugin WPForms Lite. It’s free and easy to set up.
Create disclosure and privacy policies
You will need a variety of policies and disclosures on your blog.
If you plan on monetizing through affiliate marketing, you’ll also need an affiliate disclosure to go on each blog post.
You can find information on how to create and word all the policies by doing a quick Google search.
Add copyright to the footer
Add a quick copyright note in the footer of your blog, just to avoid any potential legal issues. It just needs to have your blog name, the year, and the copyright symbol.
Writing and Formatting Posts
If you read the first post in this series, Planning Your Blog, you should already have a few posts written. So, now it’s time to format them.
Format posts in WordPress
To create a post in WordPress, click on “Posts” in the left-hand sidebar. Then click on the “Add New” button near the top of the screen. This will bring you to a new screen where you can begin to format your post.
Start by adding the title where it says “Add Title” (in case you didn’t already figure that out).
Then, copy and paste the body of your blog post just below the title where it says “Start writing or type / to choose a block”.
WordPress should automatically separate out each paragraph into its own block.
Tip: If you don’t want the extra space between certain paragraphs, you can type it out as one paragraph and then, where the line break should be, hold Shift and press Enter. The following text should only move down one line.
You’ll want to go through your post and make sure there are some headings. To create a heading, select the block and click on the paragraph symbol that appears above the block. Select “Heading”, which should be the first option and then select the appropriate heading type.
Your blog post should now have its general structure in place.
Decide what your permalinks will be
When starting a blog, you should decide on one specific format for your posts permalink.
Permalink is just a fancy way of saying your blog post’s URL. It’s what will show up in the URL bar when someone is on that post and it can be used to locate and link to the post, as well.
I would recommend making the post’s permalink your blog’s URL followed by the name of the post. Search engines only read a certain number of characters, so you want your post’s title to be near the front of the permalink, not hidden behind the date or category.
Whatever you choose, try to be consistent with it.
You can view and modify the post’s permalink in the righthand sidebar. If the sidebar isn’t there, click on the settings button in the upper right-hand corner and the sidebar should appear.
Add metadata for each post
Metadata is underlying text that search engines read and display.
You can change the meta description for your post so that Google displays something different than the first paragraph of your post in its search results.
The easiest way to change the meta description is by using the Yoast SEO plugin. Once it’s installed, a box will show up at the bottom of your post in the edit screen where you can do a number of things. One of which is to change the post’s meta description.
Be sure to include your main keyword for the post in the meta description to help Google identify what the post is about.
Add links (internal and external) to each post
Google will rank posts with links higher than other posts, so you’ll want to include links in your post. Adding internal links is also a great way to get people to explore your site.
Adding a link is fairly easy. Just type out the text you want to the link to show up on and then highlight that text. Once highlighted, select the button at the top of the block that looks like a chain link and enter the URL in the small box that appears.
It’s best to make your links natural, linking to relevant content as you right about it. But if you just can’t figure it out, you can also add in links by suggesting related posts. Here’s an example of what that might look like:
Adding Photos to Your Blog
It’s important to include photos on your posts (and other pages). They draw the reader’s eyes downward on the page, and, like many other things, are good for SEO.
Where to find photos
Keep in mind that you MUST have permission to use a photo before you put it on your blog. You cannot just take a photo off of the internet somewhere and put it on your blog.
There are a few good free photo sites that you can use, though. Just be careful and keep some kind of documentation proving where you got the photo, in case it’s ever questioned.
You’ll be able to find a few free photo sources with a quick search, but my favorite is Pexels. I like the variety they offer and there’s a decent number of photos to choose from. As with all free sites, though, their photos can be somewhat overused.
If you want original photos that aren’t be used by too many people, you’ll need to look into paid stock photo sites.
Create a collection of images
As you find images for your blog, you’ll want to create some sort of system for storing and organizing them.
I save them in file folders based on where I found them. For example, I have a file folder for Pexels and a file folder for Ivory Mix. Within each folder, I then create more folders based on the shape and direction of the photo: horizontal, vertical, or square.
You can create your own system, but the point is to stay organized and store your photos in a way that makes them easily accessible.
I find it easiest to download a large number of photos all at once, so that I have a good number to choose from at any given time without having to wade through a bunch of photos that don’t fit my brand or business. The system I described above helps me keeps the photos organized until I’m ready to use them.
Formatting photos on your blog
Formatting your photos properly can help with SEO.
To add a photo to a post, simply add a block and select the photo option. Then upload the photo you want to use.
Tip: Before uploading, make sure you’ve named the photo something that’s relevant to the post. Google will read the name of the photo and use it to decide what to the photo and post are about.
Once uploaded, click on the photo and select the pencil icon that appears in the box above the photo.
On the right-hand side of the screen that appears, type the title of the photo (which should include post keywords) in both the “Title” box and the “Alt Text” box. You can also fill in the photo’s description. Then hit “Select”.
To change the size of the photo, click on the photo and use the right-hand sidebar to edit its dimensions. You can choose a size or enter custom dimensions.
How to Create Graphics
Creating graphics is an important part of blogging, especially if you plan on promoting your posts on Pinterest.
There are a few different free tools you can use to create graphics. My personal favorite is Canva.
Canva has a ton of templates you can work from or you can create your own graphics from scratch.
Others really like PicMonkey. Try out both and find which one works best for you.
When creating graphics for Pinterest, remember to use big and simple fonts that will be easy to read for people who are scrolling through their feed. Catchy, clickable graphics are a crucial part of any Pinterest marketing strategy.
If you want to learn more about Pinterest marketing, I have a FREE 5-day email course that I put together, sharing the strategies I used to get over a million monthly viewers. Just click the banner below to sign up!
One Last Note
I know that’s a ton of information. So, take a deep breath, and go through the post slowly, making sure you’ve done everything you need to do to set up your blog’s content.
Each of these sections could be its own post, but I wanted to give you a high-level view of all the little things you need to do. Hopefully, you’ve found it helpful. Let me know in the comments what questions you have about setting up your blog’s content!