Content creation is an interesting topic to talk about. I mean, you could read ten different tutorials about it, and you’d end up with ten different opinions.
By the way, you’re reading a post that’s part of the Building a WordPress Site series. So far, we talked about things like: starting with an idea, setting the foundations, installing WordPress, taking care of the initial settings, and getting the essential plugins.
Back to content creation. Basically, everyone has a slightly different approach at it. But one thing remains kind of the same, the phrase “quality content” tends to get repeated a number of times.
But this post is not strictly about this. The main topic in this series is still WordPress, so I won’t give any detailed advice on how to craft this mysterious quality content. Instead, I’m going to focus on how to create content properly from a WordPress point of view.
First of all, why am I even mentioning keywords in the title of this post?
Keywords and their purpose
Keywords have a one really important purpose except the obvious side of SEO.
Just to make things clear, keywords are most commonly mentioned whenever the topic of SEO arises. Essentially, keywords are what drives SEO. If you don’t know what keywords you want to target, it’s going to be hard for you to build any sensible SEO campaign/plan.
The principle of using keywords in your content teaches you how to write more structured posts and remain on-topic throughout the whole post. Going off topic might not sound like a big problem at first, but it can really confuse your readers and make them leave your site. Having keywords in mind is the easiest way of staying on topic.
And when I say “having keywords in mind” what I mean is trying to use them a couple of times in your post’s body, as well us using other related keywords that support the core message of your post.
For instance, when you’re writing a post on “learning guitar chords” you should naturally mention the phrase “learning guitar chords” a couple of times, and also use other related terms. Some of the possibilities (among many others): guitar strings, barre chords, strumming technique, left hand position, etc.
The above is a very broad explanation, so here’s a more in-depth look into how to make keywords the core of your content.
(By the way, the first thing you have to do is pick the keywords you want to optimize your content for. Feel free to check my other post to learn how to get this done: How to Do Keyword Research for a WordPress Site.)
Categories vs. tags
Oh yes, the everlasting battle between categories and tags. Those two tend to be misunderstood by many bloggers. Actually, the concept of categories on its own is quite simple, but when you introduce tags into the equation the whole thing turns out to be much more confusing as there’s no apparent difference between the two.
One thing I should probably set straight here… I’m no expert or go-to person for this kind of advice. I can’t know for sure what was the main reason of implementing both categories and tags and what Matt’s (the creator of WordPress) original vision was. I can only share my own opinion on this, so here it is (of course, feel free to disagree in the comments).
I see categories as a way of grouping your posts together in a manner that they’re easier to grasp for the readers. The category should define the main topic of a range of posts.
For instance, for a guitar blog, categories could consist of: acoustic guitar lessons, electric guitar lessons, bass guitar lessons. This is just one possible approach, but it makes it clear what the visitor can expect if they go to any of these categories.
Another advice I have for you is to try to make your categories exclusive – put each post in just one category.
Now, tags. The only problem with tags is that readers don’t really use them for anything. The idea is that tags should define the sub-topics your content mentions, but this results in many tags being assigned to a single post. Most of the time it’s also really hard to be consistent throughout the whole blog. So sometimes given tags get assigned to posts, sometimes they don’t (even if they fit), which kind of defeats the core purpose of using tags altogether…
The approach I advise is to treat tags as a way of speaking to search engines. Your readers won’t find tags useful regardless of your actions (they simply ignore them), but search engines can still get a broad idea of what your site is about by looking at the tags.
However! In my opinion, even this won’t last long. Soon enough search engines will probably ignore tags completely, just like readers do. Whether or not to implement tags into your blog is up to you. For new blogs, I would say don’t. For existing ones that have been using tags, don’t delete them just yet.
But hold on, what about keywords, right?
Categories are the highest level method of grouping content. If you can include a keyword in a category name, do it. If not, it’s no problem.
For tags, try to use your main keywords. But only assign them to posts where it actually makes sense. Don’t try to use your tags no matter what. Search engines will get a grasp on this really quickly.
The body of your content is the main place where you should use the keywords you’ve chosen, but I’m sure you already know this.
Be careful, though. Keyword stuffing can still hurt you. The point of all this is to gently let search engines know what the content is about, and at the same time to keep it consistent and on-topic for the readers. If you repeat your keywords every other sentence then you’re failing at both.
When it comes to the technical aspects of creating content in WordPress, I don’t think I need to explain it here. However, I want to briefly mention one thing. You don’t have to use the interface provided in the admin panel of WordPress for creating content. There are alternatives.
If you’re not a massively popular blogger yet then you might find it hard to get people to read your content by themselves. The sad truth of the internet is that “if you build it, they won’t come.”
If you desire any form of success in blogging then you should focus on promotion, just as much as you’re focusing on creating quality content.
Explaining all the possibilities here would take another complete blog post, so I’m just going to list some ideas and let you do the digging and finding some tutorials online: social media, networking with other bloggers, link building, guest blogging, advertising, email marketing, social bookmarking, blog comments and forums.
Apart from posts, your blog should also have some pages. Things like about or contact are commonly known, but there’s much more you can create.
For instance, some time ago I listed 11 essential pages to have on a WordPress blog. Feel free to check it out.
The only homework I have for you today is to start creating some quality content. Also, please comment if you have any questions. Do you pay attention to keywords when publishing content?