Blog structure is key to a successful blog. You’ll need to think about your blog’s niche, subtopics, website navigation and permalinks.
Before you even start a blog, I strongly recommend that you think about your blog structure.
Today, we’ll explore the steps to create a successful blog structure.
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1. Think About Your Blog’s Niche
The first thing you need to do is figure out your blog’s niche. This is the specific topic you’ll write about.
The content should be high-quality and if you specialize in this specific area (whether it’s because you work in this industry or read a lot about this subject matter), it’ll be another plus point. Your blog will then position you as an expert or authority on this particular topic.
Thus, do take some time to carefully select the topic that you’ll focus your blog content around.
You can choose to write about one particular topic or a few topics. However, most bloggers recommend diving deep into one topic so your articles will be in-depth and well-researched and thus, high-quality. This also makes it easier for search engines to understand what your blog is about since they center around one topic only.
When choosing your blog’s niche, here are some questions that you can ask yourself
- What is your purpose for blogging? To entertain, inform, educate, inspire etc.
- Who do you want to connect with? Who are your target audience?
- What is your interest or passion?
- What is your expertise? What topics do you keep up-to-date with?
Remember, the key to a successful blog is consistently publishing content. You need to ensure that the topic you choose is something you enjoy and won’t be tired of 5 years down the road.
Check out my own personal story of how I chose my blog topics. The 3 topics I chose (entrepreneurship, marketing and self-publishing) are things I have experience and knowledge about. Plus, I also enjoy learning, researching and writing about these topics. In fact, there are popular blog posts from all 3 different topics as well as my news article about my first author branding based on Google Search Console. Meaning that search engines will still crawl all your blog content and if they’re relevant to a user’s search query, your post from a multi-niche blog will still appear.
2. Brainstorm Your Subtopics
After you decide on your niche, you’ll need to brainstorm some subtopics to blog about. Here are some subtopics that I write about for my marketing topic
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Facebook Ads
- Lead Generation
- Social Media Marketing
I recommend that you create tags based on these subtopics. Ensure that they’re relevant and related to your topic. Bear in mind that categories and tags are different. I use categories for the various topics I blog about: entrepreneurship, marketing and self-publishing. On the other hand, tags are specific subtopics. Do note that tags don’t belong to one category only. Tags can apply to all categories. For example, I have a “productivity” tag that I use for both my entrepreneurship and self-publishing articles.
If you’re blogging about a single topic, you can choose to use the categories for the various subtopics while tags can help to describe your posts in more detail. Something like a second layer of segmentation.
The key is that your blog content needs to be organized so your readers can easily find what they’re interested in. Categories and tags also help improve search engine optimization (SEO) so search engines like Google understand the structure of your blog. These subtopics that fall under a broad category will let search engines know that they are related. Search engines will therefore deliver such diverse content if it meets the user intent.
As a rule of thumb, try to limit your categories between 2 and 7. Too many categories will overwhelm your readers. Also, try to balance the number of subcategories. If one category has many subcategories while another category only has few subcategories, you might run out of ideas for the category with fewer subcategories.
This also extends to the number of blog posts. You should have the same amount of blog posts for each category. I don’t think it’s good from a reader’s perspective if your blog has many posts in one category and a few posts in another category. This shows that you’re neglecting a certain topic or worse, that you don’t enjoy writing about this topic.
If you’re serious about blogging, I strongly recommend that you create an editorial content calendar where you choose a theme for each month. This way, you organize your content in a structured way and also have a specific focus that you drill into monthly. This content planner will also help ensure that you publish a blog post for each category regularly and thus, increase your chance of ranking for each category too.
3. Plan Your Website Navigation
Whether you’re creating a single topic or multi-topic blog, you need to put yourself in your readers’ shoes.
As a reader, the first thing I look at in a blog is whether the content is accessible. Look at your own blog (or think about your website design if you haven’t created a blog yet) and answer these questions
- Can you tell at a glance what are the various categories?
- Can you easily find content that interests you?
- How long does it take to reach this category that you’re interested in? 1 click? 2 clicks? Or more than 3 clicks (which is a huge no-no)?
Navigation menu is a key feature for blogs. Make it easy for readers to access the content they’re interested in by adding categories into your navigation menu. Do keep your navigation flat and shallow, rather than deep and nested. Just showing the various categories is sufficient. Drilling down to each subtopic will make it hard for your readers to navigate and for search engines to understand your blog content.
My passion is still writing fiction hence, my navigation menu doesn’t include my blog categories but instead, includes my books. However, my sidebar (which only appears in blog posts) shows my blog categories: entrepreneurship, marketing and self-publishing.
4. Optimize Your Permalinks For SEO
WordPress has permalink settings that offer you the ability to create a custom URL structure. There are some options available
- Plain: uses Post ID > strongly don’t recommend using this because numbers don’t mean anything so search engines won’t understand what your blog post is about
- Day & Name: includes year, month, day & post title
- Month & Name: includes year, month & post title (excludes day)
- Numeric: uses Post ID too but under Archives folder > also don’t recommend this (see abovementioned reason)
- Post Name: uses post title
- Custom Structure: set up your own custom structure
I strongly recommend that you choose “Custom Structure”. This way, you can ensure that your blog URL structure is consistent. Plus, you can organize it your way. WordPress includes some structure tags that you can use for your custom structure like %category% and %postname%.
Also, always check your blog post URL before publishing. Ensure that the URL is easily understood by both humans and search engines. This way, your target audience will be able to guess what the content is about before clicking the link to your blog post. Search engines will also be able to identify your blog content and rank your blog post higher if it’s relevant to a user’s search query.
My permalink structure is my domain name, followed by category and lastly, post name. I feel that adding category will help search engines understand the topic that the blog post is under and be able to connect the topic and my blog post.
Do take some time to think about how you want to set up your permalink structure.
Updating the permalink settings should be the first few things you do when creating your blog. Check out my step-by-step guide on how to create a blog for more tips~
Bonus Tip: Create A Lead Magnet or Pillar Page With Related Blog Posts
One key benefit of planning an editorial calendar and brainstorming subtopics is that you’ll be able to write related content.
Gathering these related blog posts will allow you to create new content
- Lead Magnet: an incentive that encourages readers to subscribe to your newsletter
- Pillar Page: covers a broad topic in depth & is linked to a cluster of related content
Bear in mind that there are a variety of lead magnets that you can create
- Case Study
You can even create a video, webinar or course with the cluster of related content!
Now It’s Your Turn
How do you structure your blog? Do you have any tips that you’ll like to share with fellow bloggers?
For more blogging tips, join classes like Build A Successful Creative Blog and Blogging To Sell Your Products. Check out CreativeLive free online classes where you can watch streaming broadcasts! There are online courses at Udemy too~