Remember when you learned how to ride a bicycle?

I don’t – mostly because of a car accident at 14-years old that helped wipe a few of those memories from the mind.

Regardless, once the basics of cycling are learned, they provide the stepping stone for every future ride, whether competing in the Tour de France or riding around the block.

Everything has its basics. And this includes blogging on a WordPress platform.

Before I begin, please consider this a “Part I” of WordPress (also known simply as WP) blogging tips for beginners

I provide more granular perspectives in past blogs (and will continue to offer more in future blogs), but the need was there for some immediate answers to the most basic questions – something I realized after working with new blogging clients throughout 2019.

The following tips provide answers to questions I constantly receive from fellow digital marketers and small businesses that are either new to blogging or are seasoned bloggers on a self-hosted WordPress platform (not a site).

Keep these tips in mind for future blogging, and also for updating previous blogs. I’ve helped many businesses and personal WP bloggers grow their audiences and rankings by implementing these simple changes. 

WordPress Blog Tips: 15 Must-Have Basics for SEO & Engagement1. Keyword Research

If mantras existed within the world of blogging for the 21st Century, one would say “keyword research before writing.”

Loads of keyword research information is available online, including many on this blog.

Learn it. Embrace it. Don’t write a word without it. 

And don’t forget to use the main, or target, keyword within your blog title, meta description, and at least within the alt text of one image. 

Chase the keywords that have a lower volume so you actually have a chance of ranking. The less known you or your business, the more vital this low-volume focus becomes.  

For one client within the finance industry, we helped land some serious business due to chasing keyword search volumes of around 20-50 visitors monthly. Most SEOs would laugh at this. But when a single lead is worth thousands, chasing super low volume keywords makes much sense – you’ll have a much easier time ranking for them. 

2. Have a Consistent Structure

Simplify things as much as possible for your users, including the layout and structure of your blog.

A clean structure that’s repeated across your blogs is crucial for ongoing success. 

The simplest method is:

  • Catchy Headling/Title
  • Catchy Intro explaining why the blog matters and what value to expect
  • Sub-topics (if a listicle, these are each main point laid out in “header tags” explained below)
  • A conclusion that sums things up and, if needed, provides a CTA

3. Don’t Focus on Word Count 

You can never get away from questions of length – in regards to blogs, I mean. 

Some say 250 words is enough, others say 1000 is too little. 

According to Backlinko, page-one results are on average 1,890 words. But you’ll easily see blogs rank high on Google that are around 500 words. 

Don’t lose your mind over length. Focus on adding the most value to the readers as possible. Sometimes this may take 500 words, other times 3,000. Write until you say what you need to say.

Don’t add fluff for the sake of words – a typical occurrence of those focused on word count versus value.  

4. Edit – Then Edit Again

I can’t stress this enough. Edit. Rewrite. Then edit again. 

Always walk away from your final edit for at least a few hours and return for another read.

And always get a “second set of eyes” on your final draft. Others, even if not professional editors, will find mistakes quickly. 

5. Use Yoast 

If you run a blog on your WordPress website, the Yoast plugin is a must. Besides the numerous added SEO benefits like sitemaps and easily setting up permalink structures, you can quickly customize your title tags and meta descriptions.

And all this is free, though the premium version does have remarkable added benefits such as easy redirects for changing URLs or dead pages, and an internal linking tool that helps optimize your internal linking strategy. 

6. Create Engaging Headlines that Attract the Reader

Engaging blog titles are as essential as the blog itself. Put as much effort into creating the post title/headline as you would the article.

Craft headlines that:

  • Create curiosity
  • Show “how to” do something
  • Are timely (breaking news)
  • Are funny
  • Create senses of urgency
  • Use numbers (odd numbers have psychologically proven better over even)

Remember, the blog post’s title is going to be the first thing that appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Make sure it can influence a click through. 

Make sure to A/B test titles. Sometimes a simple rearrangement of words can have a significant impact. Again – always use your target keyword in the headline. 

create curiosity with your WordPress Blog Headlines7. Remember – the Post Title is Also the H1 Tag

SEOs know that only one H1 tag (Headline 1) tag should be used per page. And on normal pages (read – not WordPress blog posts), the H1 tag is different from one of the most important ranking elements on the page, the title tag. So for those pages, it’s wise to use the target keyword in both the title tag and H1 tag.

But the title you fill into a WordPress blog post automatically becomes your H1 tag and your title tag – though you can customize your title tag within Yoast. You can customize the title tag in the Yoast tool for optimization purposes in search engines, such as the 50-60 maximum character length. This will allow you to keep a longer post title on the actual blog post that readers see. 

I’ve witnessed many business blogs on WordPress use a H1 along with the title. This is bad for SEO because it sends mixed signals to search engines about what’s important. 

The solution in this situation is simple – either make the H1 an H2, or delete the additional H1 all together. I’ve helped many businesses increase their blog rankings due to this simple on-page optimization factor. 

8. Use H2 and H3 Headline Tags

Just as every page needs an H1, H2 and H3 tags also help organize the content for the user (main subtopics here are H2 tags). They also send signals to search engines that you’re attempting to prioritize that items among the other content. 

I use H2s mostly, and organize H3s under H2s when necessary. But I rarely use H4s or anything smaller. 

9. Internal Links to Other Blogs/Pages

Providing users with simple links within a WordPress blog helps them easily find additional information if needed. This also sends signals to search engines that these linked pages or blog posts are valuable to educating your audience, and this helps with overall SEO. 

Always link to relative information and use a strong anchor text, which is the word(s) that is hyperlinked to the respective page or post. 

Many ask how many internal links are sufficient for a blog. If they are used naturally, “how many” should not be an issue. But on average for a 1000-word blog, the typical number is around 5-7 links to internal pages, and at least one to an outside page. 

Again – don’t’ force internal links within a blog. Use them where you think another page or blog post can provide more value to the reader. 



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10. Unique Meta Description

Nearly every client I’ve dealt with over the past five years had failed to create unique meta descriptions. Instead, they had allowed the search engines to automatically fill the descriptions from the page’s first bit of text.

Make every meta description unique, which is simple with the Yoast plugin on a WordPress blog. 

Create interest, and keep the message to 150-160 characters max. Although Google says meta descriptions have zero direct ranking factors, they can indirectly influence a click through to your url over the competition. 

Meta descriptions also support the post title. If you wrote a headline that attracts interest, the meta description will only reinforce it, assisting with a click-through. 

And just like you would in a headline, always use the target keyword used in the post title. If that keyword is queried, it will show up bold within the meta description, attracting the eye of the searcher. 

11. Clean URLs

If you have Yoast installed, make sure you have your post settings on “Post name.”* This automatically takes care of any sloppy URL issues. When the permalink structure is set up this way, WordPress will automatically set your url to the name of the post. 

Always double-check your URL before publishing. Sometimes the system can just install a set of numbers. One of the worst things to do is change a URL in the future. This involves messy redirects that can harm your technical SEO. Make sure it’s clean before hitting that publish button. 

*Warning – if your website is set up different, say with the date in it, and you change this, you’ll get loads of 404 errors that will devistate your SEO. Make sure to address this permalink change correctly.

12. Images with Alt Text

Search engines can’t read images. That’s why alt text, also known as “alt descriptions” or “alt tags,” exist. 

The “alternative” text simply describes the image for search engines, which allows the SERPs to better crawl and rank that page. Also, if an image fails to load the text will be displayed. 

Make sure every blog post has alt text. And always use your target keyword in at least one image and other strong keywords within others. 

13. Don’t Forget CTAs

You should include a call-to-action within every blog post. But make sure that CTA reflects the content of that blog. 

Most businesses use blog CTAs to garner newsletter signups or call action to a specific product or page. If its the latter, make sure to only call action to one product or page – not multiples. Try not to confuse the reader. 

Also, try different forms of CTAs within one blog post. I’ve had luck with clients using a mix of image and text-based CTAs within the same blog posts. 

And remember to A/B test CTAs as you would a headline. If you’re blogging consistently and frequently, you can create multiple CTAs and test various colors, messaging, ect., throughout your blogs. 


learning the basics of WordPress Blogging

14. Consistent and Frequent Posting

Like auto-filled meta descriptions, the lack of consistent and frequent posting is also a huge problem I observe daily.

If you’re going to post three blogs per week, stick with it. One a week or bi-weekly? Stick with it. 

Fresh content delivered on a consistent and frequent basis sends signals to both readers and search engines that you care about delivering value. That’s exactly what it is – a value play. And one that many businesses miss. 

The goal is to keep a steady rhythm of blogging. And if some weeks will lack blogs due to the holidays or personal time, notify the audience via newsletter, social media and/or your email away signature. 

15. Social Sharing

Share new content across every social media channel you have – from the business to your personal feeds, and, if you have employees,  ask them to also share on their personal feeds

Without amplification, these blogs won’t get much exposure – especially if the website domain is newer or the business/people is new to blogging. 

Make sure you have social sharing set up on the blog that allows for simple shares within a few clicks. 

Also, do some research and use the proper hashtags and always tag anyone mentioned within the posts – especially across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Concluding Thoughts

Self-hosted WordPress websites are the best on the market. According to, 455,000,000 out of 1.3 billion websites are currently powered by WordPress.

I’ve helped many WordPress users create strong blogging content strategies that have helped establish their authority within their industry. Part of the strategy includes consistent posting to provide consistent knowledge to readers. And as their qualified numbers grew, naturally so did their website rankings. 

Blogging feeds into SEO just as much as it creates a strong brand authority within a niche. 

Remember – even if you create the strongest content in the world, if it’s not seen it’s useless. That’s why every WordPress blog needs the vital basics that I outlined above. Embrace them and watch your audience grow. 



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