Structure a blog
1. Sort your content into 2-7 main topic categories to guide the site’s structure and navigation.
Avoid getting too detailed or creating too many cascading categories and subcategories. Only add a category or subcategory if you have both enough content to add, and the category is substantially different enough from others. Categories and subcategories are opportunities to optimize for primary SEO keywords. If you already have an SEO strategy in place, draw on it for phrasing and word choice of each category you create. For example, a new marketing agency may only want to create a category for each of its areas of expertise: SEO, SEM, and paid social. Creating subcategories like keyword research, SERP optimization, and Facebook ads, only makes sense if the goal is specifically to highlight expertise in these subcategories, and enough content exists to fill each bucket.
2. Map out the hierarchy of your blog, with a homepage connecting to the categories and any potential subcategories.
Your hierarchy should be as logical as possible, with only a few clicks at most required to get to any relevant category page and post.
3. Establish a standard URL structure for each blog post that includes the main category, potential subcategory, and blog title with the main keyword.
The URL structure should follow your navigation hierarchy so that each category and blog title has relevant keyword coverage. Other URL best practices include: Using hyphens between words. Avoiding keyword stuffing. Shortening long blog titles by removing unnecessary words. If using a platform like WordPress, be cautious of default settings that may generate suboptimal URL structures. For example, avoid using dates in your URLs to keep content timeless and URLs short. Choose a URL structure that minimizes potential updates down the road. Changing URLs after publication requires redirects, and may cause broken inbound links that harm your website’s SEO value.
4. Create a blog homepage that introduces your blog and quickly directs your audience to their preferred destination.
In the intro text, outline the blog’s value proposition and tell visitors what type of content they can expect. Then, create clickable image tiles for your relevant blog posts. You can build your blog homepage’s value by segmenting your blog post tiles into any number of sections: Recent Posts. Featured Posts. Popular Posts. Posts in Each Category.
5. Streamline the blog’s navigation through a search bar, breadcrumbs, clickable page numbers, and a floating menu with categories.
Different visitor segments prefer different types of navigation. Including each of these elements ensures that no matter their preferred action, your audience can easily find relevant content: A search bar, using a tool like Google’s Custom Search. Clickable breadcrumbs that show visitors where they are in the blog hierarchy. Clickable page numbers that allow users to quickly navigate through the blog archive. A floating menu that shows blog categories as users read individual posts.
6. Create a standard template for blog posts to introduce consistency for visitors reading multiple posts on your site.
Elements to include in your template: The blog author and date. Formatted header tags. Standard image formats and sizing. Standard social share icons. A comment section. Directions and outlines of whitespace. You can also include other optional elements including an email signup form, related content offer, sidebar navigation to different blog sections, or call to action buttons. One increasingly popular element is an X minute read feature at the top of your blog posts that sets audience expectations.
7. Tag each blog post with clickable category or subcategory tags that display other blogs in that same subcategory.
For example, if your blog is about video editing, your tags may include Tutorials, Editing Tips, iMovie, Premiere Pro, Color Grading, and Audio. A blog post about a color grading tutorial would then have tags for Color Grading and Tutorial. Most blog posts, unless they are pillar pages, should aim for three or less tags per post to keep the focus narrow. Include a tag navigational panel and clickable tags in your post that lead to move content on the same topic.
8. Create an internal linking strategy to ensure that each post links to and is linked from other blog posts on your website.
Internal links create connections between all your pages and categories. They point search engines to valuable pages on your blog, making them more likely to be ranked. Elements of an internal linking strategy include: Linking pages whose content is closely related. Linking to and from content-heavy pages, like long blog posts and pillar pages. Including five or more links to older articles. Updating old articles with new internal links. Your internal link strategy may be an opportunity to build a hub-and-spoke content framework, in which skyscraper pillar pages link to and from posts about subtopics that go into more detail. For example, a comprehensive guide on video editing can link to many posts on color grading, audio and what software to use. Share your internal linking strategy with any writers, editors, and administrators who work on your blog.
9. Add links to 2-3 related or recommended posts in each blog post.
You can create these links either in the body text or at the bottom or side of the page. This creates natural internal links, as well as a continual experience for your readers to keep consuming your content and learning more about a given topic.