My Top Six Blog Posts of 2018

I can’t believe 2019 is here! 2018 was the ride, mostly a terrifying roller coaster, but I’ve learned a lot and I hope I was able to share some great content you enjoyed. I want to take a look back at my favorite blog posts I wrote in 2018. If you haven’t checked them out yet, I hope you do now! If you have read them all, which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.

I’d also love to know what kind of content you’d like to see in 2019.

The Post: Three Ways To Improve Your SEO Right Now

Why i love it: This post offers three really simple solutions that you can do to improve the search engine optimization of your brand online.

The Post: 30 Day Social Media Plan

Why I love it: When you post a lot on social media like I do, it can sometimes be hard to come up with new ideas to freshen up your posts. This post gives you 30 easy ideas you can do to ramp up your social media, and hopefully inspire your own ideas for ramping up your posts.

The Post: Seven Ways to Fight Your Creative Slump

This was actually a guest post from Ashleigh York, the owner of Smokes and Sparks Creative. She gives some really great tips for boosting creativity when you feel in a rut.

The Post: Three Easy Tips for Building Your Instagram Audience

The reason I love this post is simple, these tips actually work! I got a lot of great feedback on this post and that’s always a bonus.

The Post: Comparison is the Killer of Creativity

This was pretty much a stream of consciousness post I had in a moment of inspiration. I love the realness of it and I often go back and look at it to remind myself when I’m feeling down.

The Post: Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Freelance Business

One of the most important things I really learned about and pondered this year was the concept of boundaries. It started out thinking about boundaries in terms of my personal life, but when I really began to deep dive down the rabbit hole, I realized that boundaries are extremely important in a freelance business. To be able to recognize your boundaries and enforce them is one of the greatest strengths you can have.

Five More Free Customizable Blog Banners

In October of 2017 I posted this blog post with five free blog banners you could customize for your own blog. Now I've created five more free banners that you can customize with your own pictures and edit the text to fit your title and subtitle. I’d love to see how you use the banners! Send me a screenshot of your customized banner in action and tag me on Instagram at @millcreekcreativetn!

Note: Files can be opened in Adobe Photoshop. Fonts used will be linked below each design. Pictures used are licensed for public use through creative commons via one of our favorite free stock photo sites, Pixabay. All fonts used are free to download. 

These works are intended for free use and may not be sold or resold in any form.


City Slicker | Free Real Estate Blog Banner

Free Real Estate Blog Banner | Mill Creek Creative

Font Used: Quicksand
Stock Photo Used: Hong Kong Urban Skyscrapers

 

Raleigh Writing Club | Free Writing Club Blog Banner

Free Writing Club Blog Banner | Mill Creek Creative

Fonts Used: Badly Stamped + Nixie One
Stock Photo Used: Typewriter Book Notes Paper

 

Fearlessly Faye | Free Fashion Blog Banner

Free Fashion Blog Banner | Mill Creek Creative
 

Cooking with Kashin | Free Cooking Blog Banner

Free Cooking Blog Banner | Mill Creek Creative
 

The Calm Place | Free Yoga Blog Banner

Free Yoga Blog Banner | Mill Creek Creative

Fonts Used: The Historia + Quicksand
Stock Photo Used: Meditation Calm Above the City

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’d love to know what you think in the comments. What kinds of blog banners or other designs would you like to see next?

Five Free Customizable Blog Banners

Looking for a refresh on your blog banner? I've created some free banners that you can customize with your own pictures and edit the text to fit your title and subtitle. 

Note: Files can be opened in Adobe Illustrator. Fonts used will be linked below each design. Pictures used are licensed for public use through creative commons via one of our favorite free stock photo sites, Pixabay. All fonts used are free to download. 

COSMOS

Cosmos - A bold all caps title paired with a clean lowercase cursive font

Cosmos - A bold all caps title paired with a clean lowercase cursive font

 

Crafty

A simple header with an emphasis on the title. Perfect for craft and diy blogs. 

A simple header with an emphasis on the title. Perfect for craft and diy blogs. 

 

MILO'S ADVENTURE

The picture is the focus in this blog header perfect for travelers and adventurers.

The picture is the focus in this blog header perfect for travelers and adventurers.

 

From Italy With Love

This banner has almost equal parts emphasis on the background image and the blog title. It's the perfect pairing for a cooking blog banner.

This banner has almost equal parts emphasis on the background image and the blog title. It's the perfect pairing for a cooking blog banner.

 

Ranch Dressing

Forgive the pun.

Forgive the pun.

 

Not seeing a banner that works for you? Let us design a banner for your blog! Contact us today to get started. 

 

How to Write a Wordpress Blog Post That Is Search Engine Optimized

how-to-write-a-wordpress-blog-post-that-is-search-engine-optimized.jpg

How to Write a WordPress Blog Post That Is Search Engine Optimized

THERE ARE MILLIONS OF BLOGGERS AROUND THE WORLD, SO HOW DO YOU GET YOUR BLOG POSTS NOTICED BY SEARCH ENGINES? FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE A WORDPRESS BLOG POST THAT IS SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZED:

Creating a new post:

1. Login to your WordPress account and click on “Posts” then “Add New.”

WordPress Post Titles, URLs & Heading Tags:

2.  Create a Title for Your Post. WordPress blog posts titles should be between 40 and 70 characters. Keep in mind the content of your post and choose a certain key word or key phrase (also known as a focus word) that describes what your post content will be about. For example: say your post is going to be about essential oils and what they can be used for. You will want your post title to be something like “Essential Oil Benefits for Your Health and Your Home.” (The key phrase being “essential oil benefits”). When deciding on a keyword or phrase, keep in mind phrases that might be typed into search engines to find content like your post. If you’re having trouble figuring out a good focus word check out the free Google Adwords: Keyword Planner tool (requires free Google account). If you want to check and see if your headline will grab someone’s attention try out this free headline analysis tool from CoSchedule.

3.  Modify the Post URL. Once you’ve typed in the title of your post, WordPress will automatically assign it a URL based on the post title. You can change this to help its SEO. You would want your URL to contain that same key phrase you’ll be using in your title and post content. Take for example the Post Title above. WordPress will automatically make the URL something like “www.myurl.com/2016/01/5/essential-oil-benefits-for-your-health-and-your-home.” It’s not necessary to have all the title in the URL, so you can change it something that is shorter and more beneficial to your SEO. If your key phrase is “Essential Oils Benefits,” you would want your URL to be myurl.com/posts/2016/01/5/essential-oil-benefits. (If your Post Title is just strictly your key phrase then you won’t have to change it, but if you have other words in there you will need to change it).

Click the "Edit" button next the URL to modify it. 

Click the "Edit" button next the URL to modify it. 

4.  Create your headings. Once you have named your post and changed the URL (if necessary) you will then move onto to writing your post content (the body content). The first two things that should be done to your post content is making sure the Headings are search engine optimized. You’ll notice on your tool bar that you can change the font style (ranging from “Heading 1” [also called H1] to “paragraph.”

Headings tags range from Heading 1 to Heading 6. (Most important to least important.)

Headings tags range from Heading 1 to Heading 6. (Most important to least important.)

The first sentence of your post should be typed in the Heading 1 Style. It should reflect the title of your post and should also contain your key word or phrase. To continue with our example, I would make the first sentence (in the Heading 1 style) read “Essential Oil Benefits for Your Health and Your Home.” Then press enter to go down to the next line and type “Essential Oil Benefits range from improving overall physical health, mental clarity and more.” The second sentence should be in the “Heading 2” style. The H1 and H2 styles are very important in regards to search engine optimization because they are the one of the first things that search engines look at to determine what a post or page is about. This is also helpful for telling your readers the same thing. You can use the other heading tags throughout your post, but the H1 and H2 tags should be your priority.

Writing Your Blog Post Content

5.  Content Length & Key Word Usage. Now that your main headings have been written you can move on to the the rest of your post content. The entire length of your content should be more than 300 words, but less than 1,000 words. Unless you’re writing an academic paper, there’s really no need to write that much. To find out more about why content length is important, check out this article from serpIQ.

WordPress offers a word counter at the bottom of their text editor. It can be helpful for tracking how many words you have written.

WordPress offers a word counter at the bottom of their text editor. It can be helpful for tracking how many words you have written.

Remember to use your key word or phrase through the content of your post. This can be a bit tricky for some people because you want to make sure it’s included organically throughout the text. Using a word or phrase organically simply means that the placement of the key word or phrase makes sense within the context it’s used. You don’t want to put it into every sentence or in sentences where it doesn’t make sense. As Google phrases it, “repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural.” There’s not really a magic number of times you should use the key phrase but I would shoot for ten or more times.

6.  Readability. An important thing to remember is to make sure that your text is easy to read. Generally shorter, easier to read sentences will do better than longer sentences with more complex vocabulary. To check the readability of your text you can use this free tool: https://readability-score.com/

7.  Use Images. Images are a great way to break up long paragraphs of text and engage your reader visually. Make sure the pictures you use are relevant to the content you’re posting. With our example posting images of essential oils, essential oil plants, etc., would be appropriate images. You also want to make sure you have the rights to the images you’re using. It’s always best to take your own pictures, but if you can’t then make sure the images you use aren’t copyright restricted. There are great websites our there for downloading free commercial use photos like Pixabay.

You can optimize images for search engines in several ways.

You can optimize images for search engines in several ways.

There are several tricks you can use that will help boost the search-ability of your blog images. When you upload a new image to WordPress it will show you the following options:  You should see the “URL” space which is the URL of that specific image (given to it by WordPress). Below that you should see a space for the image title. Typically when you upload the image WordPress automatically assigns the title as whatever you had the image named on your computer. You can change this if necessary. Again you’ll want to keep in mind your key word or phrase. You can also add a caption, which will show beneath the photo on your post. It’s not always necessary to use a caption, but you can add one if you like. The next space you can fill in is the “Alt Text.” The alt text is extremely important; search engines can’t visually “see” images on a website, so the Alt Text is what they use to determine what an image is depicting. It’s important that your Alt Text is an accurate description of what the image contains, and that it also uses the key word or phrase when applicable. You want the Alt Text to be short and simple. The last space you can fill in is the Image Description. This is where you can post more text describing the picture and the topic. When you share the image on social media the open graph software will typically pull the information from the alt text and description.

The Final Touches: Categories, Tags and Featured Images

8.  Categories.  After you’ve finished typing your body content, you’ll want to choose the category(ies) for your post. If you’ve been blogging before you’ll most likely have your categories already set up. Pick the one that is most relevant to the topic of your post. The purpose of categorizing your blog posts is to make it easier for reader so search for content from a single topic.

9.  Create Tags. You can also add “Tags” to a post that act as little descriptors for your post. This is not as important as it used to be, now that Google has placed less importance on meta keywords rather than keywords placed organically through page/post content. The main purpose for these tags is to have another way to make it easier for readers to find posts on a certain topic. For our essential oils example, some tags I might choose are “essential oils” “natural healing” “holistic health,” etc.

10. Set a Featured Image. Featured images appear at the top of your post, and typically contain an image depicting the content of your post. Some people add words to the image. Not everyone uses these, but they can be helpful when you or your audience shares your posts on social media. The Open Graph Protocol uses the featured image as the picture that is shared on social media sites like Facebook, etc. For example, this is what pops up when I share one of my blog posts that uses a featured image:

Facebook’s featured image size is 470×246 pixels.

Facebook’s featured image size is 470×246 pixels.

If you don’t use a featured image, then it will show a link. I recommend using a featured image because it can help grab people’s attention when scrolling through their timelines.

BONUS TIP:

For WordPress.ORG users only: If you are self-hosting your blog I highly recommend downloading installing the Yoast SEO Plugin(it’s free with optional paid premium version). It will help you keep you on track with all the things I mentioned above. You can also edit how your blog post will show up on search engines and when shared on social media sites. It’s definitely worth using.

So there you have some helpful tips about how to write a WordPress blog post that is search engine optimized. If you want to learn more about the basics of search engine optimization click here.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to like this post and share it!