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Content Patterns: How to Create Better Content, Faster

What if there was a magic formula that could help you write blog posts faster than ever before? And what if this formula also made your content clearer, easier to follow and more engaging for your readers?

If only, right?

I don't have a magic formula for you, but I've got something just as good: content patterns.

In this post, you'll discover how to use content patterns to create blog posts in a structured way, beat writer's block and cut hours from your usual content creation process.

Take Your Post from Good to Great

The System

1.

Cut - What can you remove and simplify? Where can you get to the point?

2.

Content Patterns - Follow a repeating structure like the ones here - thrivethemes.com/content-pattern/.

3.

Show, Don't Tell - Add examples, screenshots, metaphors, and/or stories.

3.

Sources & Experts - Where can you support a statement with proof? Where can you quote an expert?

3.

Design for Structure - Icons, images, tables, highlight boxes, pros & cons.

The Content Writing Formula Part 1: Structure

“Every content piece is a list. Even if it is not a list”. Shane’s method to structure content helps you to create content that is clear and fun to read.


Structure turns raw information into approachable and engaging content.

The structure of your content will be:

  • Hook
  • List
  • Call to Action

Hook

We start every article with a hook or teaser, which is meant to hook the reader in and keep them reading. This is where we can satisfy the search intent: Give them what they are looking for or tell them when they can expect an answer to their search query.


The 'list' content

The list is the main part of your content. This is not a listicle but a content pattern. You can deepen your understanding of content patterns on the Thrive Themes blog.


The list also allows to respect the hierarchy of headlines within your content, which is something that Google really cares about.


Do this:

Not this:


Find yourself picking headlines by design and not hierarchy?

Often times, people choose H2, H3 or H4 depending on what looks best on the website in terms of design.

Keep in mind that the headlines are meant to establish structure within your content. If you are not happy with the design, this is how you can fix it.


For blog posts you can update header and body fonts here:

How to Use Custom Fonts in the Theme Customizer

For further styling, you will have to use in text edits:


For each page you can customize all headlines in the page settings:

How to Customize your Landing Page Settings with Thrive Architect



Call to Action

And lastly, don’t leave your users hanging. Tell them where they can sign up, contact you or shop in your store. Every page should end with a “call to action.”


I personally love using Dynalist to create simple bullet point lists that allow me to structure my thoughts when writing content.

This content is for members only

Your 5 Step Strategy To Create Better Content Faster

Who doesn’t want to create better blog posts, faster

Consistent content creation is a big challenge for solopreneurs and if you want to publish quality work at a pro pace, then building this skill should be one of your top priorities.

So in this video post, we’re going to teach you a 5 step content creation process that uses 3 of our flagship Thrive Themes products (Thrive Theme Builder, Thrive Architect and Thrive Leads) to not only help you create professional looking blog posts more rapidly, but help grow your email list too!

The method you’re about to learn relies heavily on leveraging the rapid implementation power of templates across these 3 tools, and by the end of this post — you’re going to going to be a pro at all of them.

Ready to get started? Let's go!

The Perfect Landing Pages for Affiliate Marketing

A growing mailing list is the cornerstone of a successful online business, and affiliate marketing is a very popular way to monetize your mailing list.

Depending on how you position your affiliate promotions, they can be highly effective or a total flop. Check out today's video and the article below to learn four proven affiliate promotion strategies and view the related affiliate landing page templates.

7 Types of SEO Content Your Readers & Search Engines Will Love

Have you ever faced the sobering truth, that no matter how frequently you publish articles, your website is just not picking up on organic results?

This is a common issue.

But what if I told you that it’s possible to spice up your blog with certain SEO-driven article types that, besides engaging your readers, also please search engines?

We recently added a new feature to Thrive Architect, called Content Blocks. These new content templates are ‘Content Block Elements’ with a preformatted layout that you can add to your article with only a few clicks. This new feature will help you organize your SEO content into a nice layout without having to do any formatting yourself.

In this post, we discuss how can you use these Content Blocks to build up specific content types your readers and search engines will love.

Stop Publishing Boring Articles! Use Thrive Architect to Spice Them Up

1 hour 23 minutes.

It's embarrassing to admit now, but that's how long I once spent figuring out how to get a box with a dotted line around the key takeaways of my blog post.

This shouldn't be happening anymore...but then I glance at my neighbor's screen in the co-working space and see them struggling with the WordPress editor.

For some, the struggle is still real.

It doesn't have to be! Let me show you how to use Thrive Architect to create stunning blog articles that will keep your readers' attention from the very beginning till the very end.

How to Write Your First Blog Post – With Thrive Architect

How to Write Your First Blog Post


And Get It Published With Thrive Architect

So you're sold on blogging?

Whether for business or pleasure, blogging can be profitable and fun.

But you're not alone in wanting to start a blog. 

The years when blogging was a new and exciting thing are behind us. Now, blogging is an integral part of content marketing.

The blogging space looks a bit different today:

  • In the United States alone, there are over 31 million bloggers publishing content at least once a month.
  • Approximately 70 million blog posts are published each month by WordPress users alone
  • Worldwide, on every blogging platform, over 2 billion blog posts are being published each year. That's 5,760,000 blog posts published every day, and 4,000 blog posts published every minute

So. There must be no point in starting a blog today. It must be a saturated market, right? 

No. Absolutely not.

  • Websites that have a blog are shown to have 434% more indexed pages than websites without a blog. Indexed pages make your website far more likely to rank well on search engine results pages and have more traffic.
  • Companies who blog get 97% more links to their websites, and links are the most important part of search engine optimization.
  • Business leads generated from inbound marketing and SEO close at an average rate of 14.6%, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate

In short, blogging is still an incredibly important part of any digital marketing strategy. It's essential for growing your business, driving traffic, generating leads, and closing sales.

And there's no better time to start than today.

So, how do you get started writing your first blog post?

This article will give you everything you need to know in a step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Decide what your first (and second, and third…) blog post is about

You likely already know this, but it's worth a reminder:

Blogging online is only successful if it's done on a regular basis.

That means that before you type the first word of your first blog post, you need to know the next ten, 15, or 50 posts you're going to write.

To effectively build a community through social media, a loyal base of subscribers, and return readers, you need to publish at least twice a month.

Let alone that publishing frequently results in higher traffic:

Don't take that graph as gospel, by the way. 

You need to test what works for your business or objectives. Keep in mind this doesn't take into account the quality of that traffic or what they do once they get to your site (which, to be honest, are all that matters).

What to blog about?

So now that you're convinced you need to publish frequently, or at least semi-frequently, you need to plan it out. 

Coming up with your blog post ideas can be one of the most exciting parts of the process!

An Actionable Walkthrough to Identifying Your First 20 Blog Posts


  1. 1
    Identify 10 key terms relevant to your business or the service you're promoting. Put together a Keyword Research Strategy.
  2. 2
    Get the trial of the SEO tool Ahrefs to find the search volume and competition of your target search terms.
  3. 3
    Use the tool to identify related terms and queries which could become targets. Aim for high search volumes and low competiton.
  4. 4
    Map out your editorial calendar, noting the competition of each search term.

Pro Tip

Get the free trial of a content optimization tool, such as Pageoptimizer Pro, or MarketMuse to determine the recommended length for your posts, and keywords of posts your articles will compete with. If you are just starting out with blogging, it’s enough to manually analyze what your immediate competitors are doing and create content that is better than theirs.

Step 2: Learn How to Format Your First Blog Post

Let’s face the sobering truth, the majority of people just skim through content on the web, and some of them only spend 15 seconds or less ‘reading’ articles.

So, before you can start writing, you need to know how to write to get people to stay on the page, and (ultimately) come back and subscribe. 

  • Create skimmable blog posts by breaking up text into short paragraphs, including bullet point lists, headers, and subheaders to pull your reader down the page.
  • Include an image for every ~300 words. Articles with images get 94% more views as opposed to those with no visuals
  • If you have the ability, include video synopses of your blog content. 43% of consumers increasingly want video content from marketers.
  • Go long. The average word count for top-ranking Google content is between 1,140-1,285 words.

Okay, now we know how to write engaging content.

But what if you don’t know what to write? Staring at a blank screen can be frustrating. You have a topic in mind, you know what you’d like to express, but you just can’t get to writing.

There is a trick you can apply to get over this writer’s block. Use content patterns.

By applying these patterns, you give a visual guideline for your brain to organize your thoughts in a structured way. This is a repeating structure you can apply to your content to allow ideas to flow quicker onto paper. 

Using the same pattern for similar blog posts will help structure your ideas and get them to flow more naturally.

Step 3: Start Writing Your First Blog Post

The Research Phase

Start with a clear benefit statement; determine what you write about and how your readers benefit from reading your article? By stating this right at the beginning, it’s easier to focus on your topic and avoid rambling.

Then, do your research: collect information about your topic with examples, screenshots, sources.

Organize your points one by one through H2 headlines as you go. You want to ensure that you have enough information to provide an in-depth analysis of your subject. 

The Outline Phase

Outlining your post is one of the most crucial steps. This is the part where you take all of the information that you gathered during the research process and put it down on ‘paper’. 

Make sure you have clearly defined headlines and bullet-pointed information. This is really the meat and potatoes of blogging. 

If you are using a SEO tool to determine the correct placement of your keywords, this is the right time to use it. By making sure that the right keywords are present in your H2’s and H3’s in this phase (if necessary) you can avoid having to insert SEO-driven paragraphs unnaturally, after your article is done.

Once you're done, perform an outline review to double-check all of your facts and ensure that you're presenting your topic in a balanced way. 

The Drafting Phase

Now it’s time to create your first draft. In this phase your task is to sit down and type out everything you want on that topic. Don’t worry about formatting yet, just grind through it. In this phase, your blog post doesn’t have to be perfect or complete yet.

It’s more important to keep writing than to get everything right.

The Second Draft

Air your brain out a little, grab another coffee, and sit down again - it’s time for the second draft.

The second draft phase is for polishing your sentences and fine-tune grammar with fresh eyes.

Make sure that the line of thought is clear throughout the article. Avoid the so-called ‘curse of knowledge’, when you expect your readers to know everything that you already know. To avoid this, explain terminology and concepts like it’s the first time you hear about them.

This is also the time for making your sentences short and concise, eliminating anything that is redundant or irrelevant.

Step 4: Edit Your First Blog Post

To make sure you've hit a home run with your first blog post, ideally you'll want an external editor to review it. But that’s not always possible, especially when you’re first starting out.

If you're publishing your first blog post by yourself, you can use a selection of powerful tools to make sure you don't leave any grammatical mistakes or typos in the article. Furthermore, these AI-powered tools also help you to match (and exceed) the quality level of your competitors'. 

Tools that will help you write your first blog post's draft:

  • Grammarly - a spelling and plagiarism detection program that is offered as a standalone service or as a browser extension. It is seen by many to be the most effective grammar checker in the world.
  • MarketMuse - MarketMuse is a piece of marketing software that will help you analyze the competition for your post and optimize for specific search terms.
  • Clearscope - ClearScope is a service that uses real time data and natural language processing to give you recommendations on improving your content’s search growth.

Edit your first blog post with Thrive Architect

Creating visually impressive engaging content has never been easier. The Thrive Architect Visual page builder helps you to create beautifully formatted blog posts that drive traffic and shares. 

Launching Thrive Architect from the WordPress dashboard is simple. Just create a new post, give it a title, save it, and launch Thrive Architect by pressing the button above the title.

We added the content block feature to the Thrive Architect editor, that saves you a lot of time when editing your first blog post. You can insert one of the pre-designed blocks to your post, then all you have to do is to fill it out with text. 

In this example I added a 'setp-by-step' content block to a brand new post.

Content blocks are easy to use and they provide a flawless layout to your posts without you having to repeat the same editing steps over and over again.

Get THE BEST Page Builder for WordPress!

Thrive Architect makes creating a blog post a piece of cake. But let's not stop here...

We recently launched the Thrive Theme Builder, accompanied by the Shapeshift theme. The combination of both provides a 100% visual theme building experience with no coding experience necessary, which makes it the most customizable WordPress theme today on the market.

Step 5: Publish Your First Blog Post

Your article is in draft now, looking neatly structured and well written! Now it’s time to get it published.

Image Optimization

Your images should be optimized. Google’s search bots aren’t able to determine the content of an image just by looking at it, so you have to specify what it is through the title and alt tag. 

In order to keep your website fast, you need to minimize the size of the images in your article. Chances are that the screenshots you take, or (especially) the stock photos you intend to use are large, and it’s unnecessary to host image files of that size on your website. 

There is a handy tool to use for reducing image sizes: Kraken.io. Upon visiting their site, click on ‘Try free web interface’ and upload your images. The tool takes care of reducing the image sizes that you’ll be able to download one by one or in a .zip file, that you can later upload into your article on your WordPress website.

Meta Description and Title

Meta descriptions and titles are essential to set up right, as they help search engines to understand the content on that page. These HTML attributes are shown whenever that page appears in the search results.

The free version of Yoast SEO plugin provides you with a straightforward interface within your WordPress editor where you can specify the SEO title and meta description of your article. 

The Yoast SEO plugin in action

Set featured image

Before publishing, be sure that you’ve set a featured image for your blog. This is important, especially for social sharing, as the photo will pop up with an attached link. The ideal size of a featured image is 1200 x 628 pixels, which dimensions generally satisfy most WordPress blog themes.

Let's Start Blogging! 

After completing these steps, you can publish and promote your first plogpost.

Congratulations!

How do you plan to tackle your first blog post? Let us know in a comment below.

Want to Learn More About Blogging?

Meet Thrive University

Thrive University is an online learning platform that gives you access to all of our guides, courses & webinars.

Learn how to create websites, landing pages and opt-in forms that are built for maximum conversions, from the ground up and get an inside view of our favorite tactics and tools for growing any online business!

  • by Matt
  • on January 24, 2019

The Conversion Optimization New Year’s Resolution Checklist

It’s the start of yet another year, which means it’s time to create some gung-ho goals for yourself, right?

But while everyone else is signing up for a gym memberships they'll never use, why don’t you focus some of that drive towards optimizing your website instead?

Because you’re a Thrive Themes Member, we know you’re serious about building both great looking and conversion focused websites.

So while the energy of the new year is still fresh in your sails, here’s a quick checklist of tasks to help you optimize your site’s backend, conversions on the frontend, and content creation systems to bring more value to your visitors.

Your 2019 Conversion Focused Website Checklist:

Here’s a list of 7 big tasks to complete — listed in checklist format — that you can start working on right now to improve and optimize your website.

If you’d like to download this checklist as a PDF for offline reading (or just for the personal satisfaction of crossing things of lists), click the following download button:

Part 1: Technical Checkup Tasks

The first 4 checkup tasks discussed below focus on your WordPress site's backend and what you can do to bump the security, speed and capabilities of your site:

☐  1) Make sure your site is SSL Secure

When your site loads in a browser, does it show http:// or https:// before your domain name?

If it’s still displaying http://you better sit down ‘cause we need to have a little chat.

Is everything okay at home?

What’s going on kiddo? You can tell me... I mean, why haven’t you upgraded your site to start using a free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate yet?

All kidding aside though, if your site is still operating in the unencrypted dark ages, Google as well as your visitors are probably punishing you with decreased organic traffic and increased bounce rates.

If this applies to you, get this taken care of ASAP, okay? Hosting companies worth their salt (like WPX Hosting) actually make this step one-click simple.

☐  2) Delete Your Old, Outdated and Unnecessary Plugins

Assess the state of your current plugins to replace and/or delete any outdated, unused or unnecessary tools.

For example, now that Thrive Architect has a built in Contact Form element, do you really need Contact Form 7 anymore? If not, out with the old & in with the new to eliminate such unnecessary plugins from dragging down your site.

Other examples of unnecessary 3rd-party plugins your Thrive Themes Membership has made unnecessary include:

☐  3) Add These Plugins to Your WordPress Tool Stack

Speaking of your WordPress tool stack, here’s a few plugins you should consider installing and deploying if you haven’t already:

All the Thrive Themes plugins — you know which ones you haven’t had time to learn yet… maybe now’s a good time!   ;-)

☐  4) Keep Your Website Up to Date & Secure

Here’s some general website housekeeping habits you should implement if you haven’t already:

  • Have a way to backup your website on a frequent basis and before you make big site changes or updates.

    Certain hosts like WPX Hosting will do this for automatically on daily basis and give you the ability to create user initiated backups before you make a big change on your site.

  • Update your site with the latest version of WordPress soon after release. However, make sure to backup your site first just in case anything breaks in the update.

  • Same goes for your plugins. Make sure to update them as soon as it’s practical for your site — always making sure to do a site-wide backup in case the changes negatively impact your business.

Pro Tip for Plugin Updates

Always update plugin-by-plugin instead of batch updating.

If a plugin update happens to break something on your site, it will be much easier to figure out which plugin caused the conflict if you update them one-by-one and check how your site looks after each plugin modification.

The flow you should follow is

  1. Create a full backup of your site.
  2. Update 1 — and only 1 — plugin.
  3. Check how your site looks including important elements such as your opt-in forms and purchase buttons.
  4. If all looks good, continue by updating the next outdated plugin on your site and then perform the same checks again.
  5. Follow this workflow until all your plugins have been updated.

Part 2: Conversion Optimization Checkup Tasks

The next checklist item 4 focuses on what steps you can do today to get a conversion optimization bump with the least amount of effort:

☐  5) A/B Tests You Should Start Running Today

A/B testing is another habit you should make a habit of launching for your Headlines, Opt-in Forms and Landing Pages. Of course, the Thrive Themes plugins make it super easy to create and launch A/B tests for each of these scenarios.

Here’s some great resources to help you identify low effort, high potential reward A/B tests on your site right now:

Part 3: Content Creation Checkup Tasks

The final 2 checklist items deal with how you can improve your content creation process to boost your loyal fan base and audience consistently throughout the upcoming year:

☐  6) Publish QUALITY Content Consistently

Building a loyal audience of fans that actually care about your business and root for you to succeed is crucial for small businesses like yours.

Don’t believe me, watch Content Marketing expert Joe Pulizzi talk about why this is so important, big companies are starting to buy up audiences like yours since they’ve done such a bad job at it:

If you need some assistance coming up with content ideas, getting it written and then shipped on time every [month / week / day]don’t we all! — here’s some great articles from the Thrive Themes Blog to help you do just that:

☐  7) Must Have Pieces of Content To Create if You Don’t Have Them Already

Finally, there’s some cornerstone pieces of content your site needs to deliver for free to start bringing big value to target readers and customers in your niche.

The following posts will make sure you’ve got these covered to ultimately get more organic traffic, grow your list, and boost your conversions in the long haul:

Now It’s Your Turn

Don’t let the positive energy the New Year provides pass you by!

Jump into this website New Year's Resolution Checklist now so you can get as many of these website optimizing tasks checked off the list as soon as possible.

Have any comments, questions or need help from our team with some of the steps? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

The Smart Way to Make Your Opt-In Forms & Email Marketing GDPR Compliant

The new European data protection regulations (GDPR) are right around the corner and many website owners are in a panic. There’s been a lot of talk about rules, regulations and hefty fines that await those that don’t comply.

Most “how to GDPR” content seems to suggest that you have to add multiple checkboxes, prompts and extra steps all over your website.

In this post, we’ll take a look at what GDPR actually means for small business entrepreneurs and email marketers. And you’ll discover ways in which you can make your website compliant without sacrificing your visitors’ user experience or your conversion rates.

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and this post does not contain legal advice. Always work with your legal counsel to determine the right decisions to make about regulations.

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