Don’t write this: “There’s a new way to accept payments, specifically for e-commerce and your WordPress website. If you use WooCommerce, you can benefit from WooCommerce payments. It’s just launched in 5 new countries.”
Write this instead: “WooCommerce Payments, an integrated payment solution for WooCommerce stores, is now available in five new countries. It can now be used by WooCommerce stores across Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.”
When creating a content table for a listicle, you may use the content table for more than alluding to the list items (e.g., [List Item] + [X use case compared to other list items with different strengths]) to make it more skimmable for the reader. Here’s an example.
If you make an absolute claim (such as “every business must get an EIN”), don’t talk about exceptions to your claim later on in the same article (such as a section about types of businesses that don’t need an EIN).
“Still, you should maintain a professional presence, regardless.”
It’s redundant to use both “still” and “regardless” — just use one of them.
Alternative headings you can use to incorporate a definition of the key term are:
How ___ Works
Basics of ___
Why ___ Is Crucial
Don’t write this: “Users are given their choice of three plans.”
Write this instead: “The company gives users their choice of three plans.” or “Users choose from three plans.”
Don’t write this: “There are plugins, for example, that can help.”
Write this instead: “For example, there are plugins that can help.”
Don’t write this: “You can give your prospects and your customers a warm welcome if you use emails.”
Write this instead: “You can give prospects and customers a warm welcome using emails.”
Use this SEO checklist:
For all content:
Per 500 words of SEO content: (multiply by 2 for 1000 words, etc.)
Other notes on keyword usage:
Don’t write this: “If you own a business with a low working capital ratio, look into working capital loans.”
Write this instead: “Look into working capital loans if you own a business with a low working capital ratio.”
“7 Plugins To Make Your Website Stand Out From the Crowd” or “The 10 KPIs Every E-Commerce Business Needs To Know.”
Jump to Tone Guidelines for more word choice guidelines around tone >>
Don’t write this: “the company who”
Write this instead: “the company that”
“They have articles about topics ranging from digital marketing to famous tech geniuses in history.”
The items on either end of “from” and “to” should be extremely different. Otherwise, you’re just listing examples.
“Most e-commerce businesses have to process much more data through their website” add: “than a standard business website.”
Don’t write this: “involving throwing”
Write this instead: “that involved throwing”
Don’t write this: “Creating SEO content is crucial to building a successful website.”
Write this instead: “SEO content is crucial to a successful website.” or “Create SEO content to build a successful website.”
“Try a plugin (e.g., Yoast or Rank Math) to enhance your website’s SEO performance.”
“Tools like Yoast and Rank Math (i.e., SEO-enhancing plugins) are extremely handy.”
“During the interview process, be sure to ask the right questions. This could be a mix of common restaurant job interview questions and ones (try “those”) that are more unique to your company’s culture.”
“Make sure your content includes an appropriate call to action.”
“Calls to action are essential for content.”
“Enhance SEO performance”
“those businesses’ strategies”
If the word is singular and ends in an “s,” add an apostrophe and an additional “s.”
“that business’s strategy”
Don’t write this: “Previously only available in the U.S.”
Write this instead: “Available in the U.S. at launch.”
Don’t write this: “The brand doesn’t offer hosting for websites that aren’t on WordPress.”
Write this instead: “The brand offers hosting for everyone that uses WordPress.”
Replace “not” words (such as “can’t,” “shouldn’t,” “don’t,”) with a stronger verb.
Don’t write this: “You can add keywords to improve your content’s SEO.”
Write this instead: “Add keywords to improve your content’s SEO.”
Don’t write this: “There will be a button on the webpage on the left side of the screen you can click on.”
Write this instead: “Click the button on the webpage’s left side.”
Verbs are the fuel of writing. Verbs give your sentences power and direction. They enliven your writing and make it more interesting. Too often, we hide verbs by turning them into nouns, making them less effective, and using more words than we need.
Don’t write this: “To develop an understanding of the issue, we need to do an analysis of the complete situation.”
Write this instead: “To understand the issue, we need to analyze the complete situation.”
Don’t write this: “Boiler worker safety protection procedures development.”
Write this instead: “Developing procedures to protect the safety of boiler workers.”
Don’t write this: “The listed sections describe the information you would need to satisfy the scholarship requirements.”
Write this instead: “These sections tell you how to meet the scholarship requirements.”
Some clients require us to write using a conversational tone. Here’s how:
Imagine you’re on a tower seeing a show from a distance. And you have your friends — the audience — on the ground. Write/narrate in a way that your friends on the ground can visualize whatever is happening in the show:
Check out Chapter 3 of Writing for Humans and Robots for more info.
Don’t write this: “By combining Leadfeeder—which allows you to see which companies visited your site—and the Sales Navigator—which also shows you contacts from within the company—you can conduct more specific targeting.”
Write this instead: “By combining Leadfeeder (which allows you to see which companies visited your site), and the Sales Navigator (which also shows you contacts from within the company), you can conduct more specific targeting.”
Don’t write this: “He listed the qualities, like intelligence, humor, conservatism, and independence, that he liked in an executive.”
Write this instead: “He listed the qualities — intelligence, humor, conservatism, independence — that he liked in an executive.”
It’s WordPress — not Wordpress. Besides within text, follow this rule when sharing a URL as text (WordPress.com, not Wordpress.com).
“Text messages are not more secure than emails.”
“In your WordPress dashboard, click on WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping tab > Leave At Door.”
Instagram offers immersive experiences through Collections.
“Having trouble driving traffic to your website?
Here’s the good news:
Our guide offers eight simple, actionable steps you can take to boost your website’s visitor count.”
“A 2019 study conducted by Chase Bank found that 26% of students have credit cards.”
– Tom M., June 2020
For example (from an article about “top of funnel content for injury firms”):
Don’t write this: “Say you’re not sure about the differences between a road bike and a commuter bike, so you find a helpful article explaining the key differences. It means you’re likely interested in buying a bike in the future if you’re curious about the specifics.
When you later search a more transactional term like ‘Best city bikes,’ you’re more likely to click on a link or directly turn to the website you previously visited because of the pre-established level of trust.”
Write this instead: “Say a cautious driver has just moved to your city. They’re unfamiliar with roads, so they look up the dangerous intersections they should avoid. And they stumble upon your top-of-funnel article that compiles the places around town where the most crashes occur.
Now, they’re aware of your firm and the idea of personal injury lawyers. If they’re ever in an accident in the future, they will likely use your website as a trusted resource and choose you for assistance.”
The content will be a bit different for a personal injury firm, but the concept will remain the same
For a more in-depth step-by-step tutorial, follow The Blogsmith’s HARO submission process guidelines.
Here are some important details about the writing process:
For you, the writer, the writing process starts with an outline. The purpose should be to capture the client’s goals and develop the outline ideas as much as possible to save time on the drafting stage — within the client’s set word count.
We highly encourage you to include internal and external sources in your outline to avoid sudden idea and intent shifts in the drafting stage.
And remember, whether you’re speaking to businesses or individuals, pain-point-driven arguments are always better. Pain points are key for outlining stories that show relatability and engage readers.
For an in-depth view of the storytelling elements you can implement as early as the outlining stage, check out Chapter 18 of Writing for Humans and Robots.
Drafting and self-editing go together. As the writer, your primary goal should be ensuring that the ideas you’re developing are consistent with what was shown in the outline. Nobody likes surprises.
To achieve that, we suggest using the following self-editing passes on your drafted content:
You should also perform a sixth pass to determine if you implemented the keywords correctly. Yes, you should always optimize to reach our optimization goals. But never, and we mean never, compromise readability in exchange for incorporating more keywords.
Note: Whether you apply the multi-pass technique after finishing each section or the entire draft is up to you. However, the first is better for achieving consistency than the latter.
Consult Chapter 16 in Writing for Humans and Robots for more writing and editing guidelines.
We can’t get away with writing whatever we want. While it’s true you can likely find any source to justify any point on the internet, that’s not how The Blogsmith rolls.
Here are some general guidelines to avoid source-related problems throughout the research, outline, and draft stages:
For more in-depth tips on fact-checking and verifying domain authority, reference Chapter 17 of our book.
No content is complete without a compelling and connecting call to action (CTA). You should write CTAs that complement the article’s content and convey the client’s goal.
CTAs should be clear, compelling, tied to the audience’s expectations, and focused on one specific goal. Reference Chapter 19 of Writing for Humans and Robots for more details on how to write better CTAs.
There is no situation in which duplicate content is OK, save for explicit directions from a client to duplicate their existing content in another place. Even so, duplicate content should be accompanied by a comment with more details.
Include image licensing details in the Image Source line (basically, if you use an image from a stock photo website, confirm that we have the license to use it).
Image Source (License: Adobe Stock standard license)
ALT: Your alt text here
When creating articles that include or are based on product comparisons, use the following format (in order):
[Free (with limited features).] Premium plans start at $x/month [when billed annually].
You don’t have to add an image source link for the screenshot. However, make sure you link to the company website the first time you use the company name in the tool description.
Any WordPress plugins you include in your list should tick the following boxes:
You should also do a Google search to scan other reviews/news items about your topic.
When creating listicles of a more short-form nature, a shorter tool description/USP summary can replace the bullet list of features and “best” for section.
How to write great expert roundups: