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4 Great preparation tips for blog writing – Meet TheGoToGirl Jess

Meet Jess from the US who owns TheGoToGirlBlog, where she writes a little bit about a lot of stuff from practical advice on adulting and relationships to urban farming, fitness, crafting and how to make a killer cocktail. She is coffee addict, compulsive over-achiever and info enthusiast with a nasty craft habit.

Here our conversation went asking questions on how to write good articles and proper planning.

1. Jess, take us through your story.

Everyone knew I’d be a writer; (much to my mother’s dismay) my first word was actually “book.”  I wrote countless stories as a kid, poetry as a teenager, and even a screenplay or two- So no one was surprised when I chose English as my major in college. 

But knowing how difficult it is to break into writing professionally, my original intention was to teach high school literature. That’s actually what motivated me to start my blog, I had assumed that I would never land a professional writing gig and so I’d just have to satiate the writing bug by doing it for myself. 

As it turns out I was way off. I immediately landed a content writing position after graduation and within six months had moved to their parent company where I am now a “content manager,” writing for multiple companies in their portfolio.  It’s funny to think I write all day every day and then still come home and do it for myself. What can I say? Writers gonna write.

2. Why most of the bloggers fail?

There’s no easy answer to this but I think the key to successful blogging is persistence. A lot of people have a difficult time sticking it out when they aren’t seeing the traffic or engagement they expected. Rarely do blogs become overnight sensations.

It can be discouraging and make you want to quit for all the effort you put in- but you have to keep going. To be honest it was probably over a year before I got any significant traffic at all. In the beginning, I just tried to focus on blogging for me- what do I want to say, what are my interests this week? Your readers are out there, they will find you eventually.

3. What are the tools you generally use when writing a new post and how will you make use of those tools?

Whether I’m writing for work or myself I always have a Thesaurus and Grammarly open.  I don’t necessarily use a thesaurus to simply replace words; sometimes if I get stuck searching for words around the topic I’m working on can shake things loose mentally. 

Grammarly is admittedly a tool for lazy writers- however, despite my English major, I feel no shame!  When you write as much as I do it can be a relief to have an automated editor as you go.

Other tools I would recommend for bloggers are

Canva – an easy to use online graphic design program,

OneUp app – a social media management platform, and

Mail Chimp – an email marketing platform.

4. Can you share your checklist to write SEO friendly posts?

My SEO strategy is fairly simple; links, keywords, social media. I include a lot of links (internal and external) in my posts.  This is pretty easy for me because most of my topics are research-based. I want to reassure readers that I’ve done my homework so naturally, I link to my sources. 

My strategy for keywords would probably make SEO gurus cringe but it must be working because most of my traffic is organic.  I don’t do a lot of digging for keywords, I simply make sure they are appropriately direct then I repeat them throughout my post, headers, meta description, and URL.

If you use WordPress, I find the Yoast plugin to be an extremely helpful guide.  And finally, social media- I regularly post, link, and repeat my blogs across a couple of different platforms.

5. How do you use weekend time effectively? 

Writing for my day job means I must be a weekend warrior for my blog.  For me, the key to getting everything done each week is good planning. I jot down notes on topics and save links all week long that will serve as fuel for my next post. I have also developed an efficient system that works for me.

My Saturday morning writing ritual involves a cup of coffee, a cat in my lap, and drafting a post in an hour. Then I divert my attention to social media graphics and post images. Once I’ve completed the artsy portion of the blog I go back and edit my draft with fresh eyes.

Final touches are adding links and doing a couple google searches to ensure the keywords I chose are yielding results similar to my topic. On a good day, I have a new post locked and loaded before my husband even wakes up and can spend the rest of the weekend not writing (though I admittedly often do).

6. Finally, tell us who Jess is.

I’m a little nerdy. I love to research which makes me kind-of a know-it-all but also the one all my friends come to when they need to figure something out. I think education is the solution to any conflict and sharing our stories helps us to grow and become better humans. Perhaps that’s what keeps me motivated to blog?

I’m the Go-to Girl, your blogger bestie 😉

I am a chronic over-achiever and mildly OCD (in case it wasn’t obvious)… I carry a minimum of two notebooks and a planner on my person at all times and volunteer shelving books at the local library for fun.

Her social media link are below :-

Blog – http://thegotogirlsblog.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/thegotogirlblog

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/thegotogirlblog/

Pinterest – https://in.pinterest.com/thegotogirlblog/

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