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The Benefits of Writing a Pillar Post

June 11, 2008

Have you ever had a great idea for post, such as one full of dozens of ideas or resources, but been too lazy to compose it? Then you’re really missing out and you better rethink things. Composing a pillar post, or a long and detailed one with a lot of authority, is one of the best things you can do for your blog. I’ve learned this not only by watching other great bloggers, but also from my own experience as well.

Some people think of pillar posts as top ten lists, or lists with five to fifteen points. While those kinds of articles do well with social media and fellow bloggers as well, they’re not true pillar posts – you can call them mini-pillar posts, if you will (an example of a mini-pillar post is 10 Ways to Create Exposure for Your Blog).

A true pillar post is long and contains a LOT of information. One can take several hours to several days or even weeks to write or compile. The first true pillar post here at Super Blogging is one you’ve probably heard of before, considering it’s still our most popular article to date: 75 Ways to Increase Your Site’s Traffic. That post took me tons of research and time, but it was well worth the effort, and I’ll explain why later.

For some other examples of pillar posts:

As you’ve probably guessed, there are more benefits to writing a pillar post than you could imagine. If you’re worried about spending too much time or effort on coming up with one, then quit worrying – like I said, it’s one of the best things you can do to have a successful blog. Here’s why:

1. Bringing in tons of traffic. With the pillar post I recently wrote containing 33 Firefox extensions, I saw tons more traffic with that than I expected. One person stumbled it on StumbleUpon, which led to more people stumbling it, until I saw a huge boost of traffic the first few days, and then a couple hundred new visits to that each day, from StumbleUpon alone. A lot of traffic comes to pillar posts by means of social media, and others blogging about your great new article.

2. Lots of backlinks. Another pillar posts, the 75 Ways to Increase Your Site’s Traffic, was written nearly a year ago – yet it still receives several new links from various blogs all the time. From tiny blogs with hardly any visitors to top A-lister blogs (such as ProBlogger), it has gotten many links. Not only do these links consistently send you new visitors and get you more exposure, but they help you in the eyes and rankings of Google and other search engines as well.

3. Plenty of new exposure. With all the traffic and backlinks you’re getting lately, this means lots of new people are being exposed to your blog and there’s potential that a percentage of them could become loyal readers – and you’re always trying to convert visitors into permanent readers and RSS subscribers. The more people see your name and brand, the more they’ll be curious to check it out or think they’re missing something big – so write all the pillar posts you can and get out there!

4. Creating a portfolio of great work. Whatever reason you’re blogging for, or whatever you intend to do in the future, it’s always good to start creating and building up a portfolio of great work. Your blog makes that easy! If you ever might end up writing for someone, or joining someone in business, it’s excellent to be able to show them all your best work and to impress them with some amazing authority articles.

And there you have it, four prime examples of how a pillar post can help you and your blog. Obviously there are more, but those are the ones to focus on – and if I’m missing anything important, please drop a comment to let me know! Have you written a pillar or authority article? How did you promote it, and how did the results turn out? Share with us in the comments below.

Don’t waste your time anymore – start writing those pillar posts today.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mugley

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11 Responses to “The Benefits of Writing a Pillar Post”

  1. Desmond - GradeMoney.com on June 11th, 2008 5:48 am

    The real good thing about pillar articles is generating backlinks which is helpful in terms of raising PageRank

    Desmond – GradeMoney.com’s last blog post..I Will Buy Ads On Your Blog

  2. Steven Snell on June 11th, 2008 5:16 pm

    Thanks for the links Tay! For me, list posts like the two of mine that you linked to are great for drawing traffic, links and exposure. And believe it or not, subscribers too. I don’t personally create those types of posts for reason number 4 that you have listed. I prefer to attempt to accomplish that through posts that are more informative articles rather than links.

    Steven Snell’s last blog post..Should You Explicitly Target Social Media?

  3. Devjargon on June 12th, 2008 11:31 am

    We’re still trying to write a few pillar posts for the development world. Coming up with one can be a difficult task if you take it too seriously and think about it too much.

    If you let the content speak to you instead of forcing a post out you’ll get more visitors and links in my opinion.

    Devjargon’s last blog post..Response: What a developer needs from their manager

  4. James on June 14th, 2008 4:11 am

    Use socialmarker.com to submit to the top bookmarking sites all at once.

    Tip: If you have a site that is focused on one niche, but want to write pillar articles/linkbait on different, various topics, and you dont want to post random stuff on the main site, do this:

    Make a new blog, and upload it as a subdomain. Make it a sort of “admins personal blog”, and upload them to there. Link to main site from blog pages, of course. Then submit all your random articles to bookmarking sites.

    This will separate your blog posts from the niche content, but the fact that the blog is on a subdomain will help the main domain. That is better than having a seperate blog, in my opinion.


  5. Amaan Goyal on June 14th, 2008 5:06 pm

    Well you would agree that whenever there is a post made for traffic generation it is being looked up with keen interest and is being visited by people round the clock, the result is that it helps everyone spread the word around.

  6. Leisureguy on June 14th, 2008 10:45 pm

    Very interesting point. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I did create a pillar post on “gourmet shaving“. It started relatively small, but I kept adding to it as I learned more. To this day, it’s the post that gets the most hits almost every day.

    Oddly, the other post that draws the most hits—sometimes more than the shaving post—is one that was really a throwaway: I had read about “Salba” (a food) and was trying to learn more about it, when I realized that Salba was simply a patented variety of chia seed. I wrote a very brief post with that fact, but then people started linking and commenting. This post became popular because of the comments—I really had little to do with it.

    Leisureguy’s last blog post..The most dangerous drugs

  7. Gaida on June 15th, 2008 12:18 am

    Hi Tay,
    Thanks for the info on creating a ‘Pillar Post’ hadn’t thought of that before. Will definitely check out the other links. Your ‘pillar post’ 75 Ways To Increase Your Sites Traffic was fantastic… gave it a Stumble & printed out a copy to go through each one.

    Gaida’s last blog post..Free Web 2.0 Traffic Video

  8. Parth on June 17th, 2008 10:57 pm

    Hey, awesome idea, especially for my niche! I used to write long articles, but then I thought that people may not stick around to read em. But I’m willing to go back and try writing detailed posts again!

  9. Woody on June 19th, 2008 9:11 am

    Thanks for this post it is something I never thought of before. Now I have to get cracking and come up with a pillar post.

    Woody’s last blog post..Secondhand Smoke and Dogs

  10. Mr. Payday on June 29th, 2008 8:46 pm

    Pillar posts can take a long time to write, but they do pay off. I’ve also found that you can generate a lot of shorter posts that go into more detail on various aspects of a longer article. They key is quality over quantity. And thanks for the links to some example posts!

    Mr. Payday’s last blog post..Faxless Online Payday Loan Options

  11. 10 Simple Steps to Increase Your Blog’s Traffic | Super Blogging on April 8th, 2010 9:16 pm

    […] This is one point that shouldn’t need to be said, but many bloggers don’t fully realize its importance. Your content needs to catch a visitor’s eye and draw them in. It needs to be clean, yet friendly. It needs to offer information or something of value — essentially, solve a problem or provide entertainment. But another big one is the way your post itself is written. Are your grammar and spelling proper and correct? Does the post flow smoothly and is it easy to follow? Does your post’s title pop? Working on all of these little aspects could have a huge impact. See: writing a high quality blog post, spectacular post titles, writing a pillar post. […]

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