How to write great tips articles for your blog or website

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I'm forever writing tips articles for Creative Boom. It's a great way to share knowledge, and things I've learnt along the way in a bid to help others.

And it's encouraging to see that these articles are the most popular on my magazine. They're so popular that they account for attracting thousands of hits every day – long after they've been published.

If you want to attract more traffic to your website, then the best thing you can do is share your expertise. Not only will people love you for it, but they might also hire you.

How you write practical tips articles is something that many people struggle with. That's why I thought I'd share some pearls of wisdom to help you craft your own helpful content.

Only write about what you know

You should choose a subject you're comfortable with when writing tips articles. It's no good focusing on things you're not familiar with – it will be evident. Stick to what you know, and you can't lose. For instance, if you're an illustrator – why not write about drawing techniques? Or if you're in marketing, share your wealth of expertise on how to attract more clients.

Stuck for ideas?

Ideas for great tips articles are challenging. To find them, visit Google and start typing 'How to...' – the search engine will give you a good indication of popular 'searched for' phrases and questions. Or you could ask people on Twitter what they'd like you to read. Also, carry a notebook because inspiration can strike at any time.

Choose the theme

When it comes to tips articles, you can do anything from tutorials and step-by-step guides to 'how to' posts. Things that tend to be very popular are lists, e.g. 100 inspiring ways to market your business is a great example.

The more you put in, the more you get back

If you only spend half an hour writing your tips article, don't expect too much for your efforts. However, if you spend half a day – or even a whole week – drafting your article, you are more likely to get back what you put in. For example, list articles that have a hundred items are more likely to go viral. They'll also get more hits. Therefore, if you want your tips articles to draw in lots of traffic and be recommended by others, work hard to provide real value to people.

Consider the title

The whole point of these tips articles is to attract people naturally via the search engines, so your article title should reflect what people are searching for. Just make sure your title also becomes your 'Meta Title', and you can't lose. Consider those popular questions people ask and ensure your title is SEO-friendly.

Write SEO-friendly copy

When drafting your tips articles, throw in some keywords relating to your title. Remember, you want the search engines to consider your article as top quality, and they'll do this by looking for related keywords and phrases. So if you're talking about photography tips, then Google will expect to see words like 'camera' and 'shutter'. Bottom line? If you're writing naturally about your favourite subject, you'll be writing SEO-friendly copy.

Check your spelling and grammar

You lose big points with Google if your article has spelling mistakes, so double check your copy before publishing. Go through every sentence with a fine-tooth comb. But we're not just talking about search engines here. Humans won't like sloppy copy either. They'll only lack trust in you and what you're saying. And worse - they might never come back!

Throw in some helpful, relevant links

Throughout your tips articles, always throw in some useful links to other articles or websites – anything that will help your reader further. Linking to relevant content will also give you extra points with the search engines. Plus you could use this opportunity to entice other influential bloggers and build relationships.

Stay positive to get big hits

In all my time of writing tips articles for Creative Boom, the ones that are the most popular are the positive ones. People love positivity. It's like magnetism. What people don't like is negativity. They tend to shy away from articles that talk about anything negative. So write positive stuff, and you'll get a good response.

Be controversial

While writing positive tips is always a good thing – if you want to attract more traffic, consider writing something controversial and topical. Remember to make your article title very enticing and thought-provoking. People won't be able to resist and will click to take a further look. Beware though – you must prepare for some backlash.

Link them up

When drafting tips articles, it's always worth referring back to other posts whenever possible. Not only are you encouraging visitors to dig further around your website – thus reducing your bounce rate – you're also providing additional value. And people will love you for it.

Respond to comments

When your article is published and online, make sure you look out for any comments and respond to them. Even if they're negative or a little picky. Try and encourage a debate. The more people engage with you, the more visitors you could attract to your site.