There is one type of content that can be heavily and successfully used by both beginners and experienced bloggers. From the title of this article, you’ve probably guessed that today I’m going to talk about a good old showcase.
Simply put, a showcase is a compilation of website designs, where you suggest to your readers what themes they should check out and purchase. Easy enough, right? But we all know that the devil is in the details, so let’s try and go through the process of creating a showcase from start to finish, and see what steps you are probably missing.
Pick A Relevant Topic
First things first, pick your topic. You can choose something broad and general, for example ‘30 Ridiculously Outstanding WordPress Themes You Missed in 2015’. The title implies that there are some great WP themes that you should check out, but it doesn’t specify which kind of themes (niche-specific or multipurpose), for what websites, and although it mentions the timeline (2015), in my opinion one year is way too broad, and it doesn’t say too much about the themes we’re going to look at.
Don’t get me wrong here. Broad topics are great, and if you don’t publish theme compilations too often, it would be an ideal choice for your readers. However if the large portion of your content is theme round-ups, you would definitely want to diversify them, and make every post unique in some way. In this scenario, you may want to narrow down your topic and focus on specifics.
Let me show you another example, ‘20 Latest Joomla Templates for Your Restaurant Website’. You see what’s happening here? Your potential audience is shrinking. Is that bad? Absolutely not. Although the post would turn off those who don’t want to build a restaurant website, the title would draw the most relevant visitors, those who are actively searching for restaurant templates. Your conversion from such posts would also increase, since the visitors who are in search of a niche-specific template are more likely to buy it, than those who are idly surfing the web.
In order to diversify your showcases you can create different compilations based on niche-specific templates (layer WordPress themes, photography portfolio templates), time (best WP themes this summer, November bestsellers), or choose one particular feature of their designs (40 themes with parallax effect, 20 templates with awesome sliders). You can also mix them up (40 Latest WooCommerce Themes to Build an Online Fashion Store).
Choose Your Templates Or The Templates Will Choose You
Once you’ve chosen the topic, you have to go and find appropriate templates. In some cases it would be better to find the templates first, and only then make up a title. For example if you have learned that Monstroid has 37 child themes to offer, you can decide to put all of them in one round-up. Or maybe you liked some of our recent eCommerce sport templates and decided that it’s worth showcasing them on your site. Either way works, but in my opinion finding great templates first is more natural; however it’s up to you to decide which one to choose.
In case you’ve chosen the topic first and now you have to find the themes for your article, my advice would be to use categories. Luckily TemplateMonster makes it very easy to search templates by categories, so that you can specify not only the niche and type of template, but also filter the search results by features, compatibility information, popularity, and more. Feel free to use the category search a lot in picking the templates for your showcase articles.
Building Up a Skeleton
OK, we have a topic, we’ve picked up our themes. What’s next?
Now, my friend, we have to build up a skeleton. By skeleton I mean the foundation of your showcase article, and that is the titles of your chosen themes, and links to demo and info pages. You have to put them all together, leaving only some space for the screenshots and description under each template. You can either do it in a text document and then move the content to the admin panel, or prepare everything in the admin panel from the beginning. Wrap all the headings in h2 or h3 tags (depending on the layout of your blog). Also make sure all the links are working, and all the HTML tags are properly closed.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need to write your showcase articles this way. You can take one theme, make a screenshot, insert links, the title, write the description, then move to another theme, and so on. In my experience that takes too much time, which is why I suggest dividing everything into steps, which would make the whole process much faster.
Screenshots, Screenshots, Screenshots
The next step would be to make a screenshot for each theme. You can make them either with the simple Printscreen button, and shoot the top part of a theme, or you can use some kind of screen capture tool. A screen capture tool works well for themes that use a large header image, so that you can show other elements of the theme as well.
Images are probably the main pitfall that comes with showcase articles. The image-heavy content can slow down your site, which is why I suggest you optimize your images and find a middle ground solution between quality and size. The simplest way to make decent-quality screenshots without the annoying blurry text would be to scale the browser up to 125-150% and only then press the Printscreen button. Thankfully due to the responsive design many websites look great with the zoomed-in resolution.
When the images are ready, and you’re ready to upload them to your post, please, please do this small, annoying but very important thing. Write ALT text for your images. This is one of the most overlooked mistakes people make on their sites, but if you don’t write the ALT text, Google simply won’t be able to see your images. From the SEO perspective it’s a ‘must’, so please don’t forget to include an ALT description.
Write Your Copy Without Copying Somebody’s Writing
We’ve come to the most fun part of your showcase article, and that is writing the copy. OK, the word “fun” may be a bit of an exaggeration, because describing each theme when there are 50 themes in your post can be quite overwhelming. And of course, you can skip the description part, and write only a 300 word introduction. However if you want your site to rank higher on Google, you have to update your site with content-heavy articles.
Showcases are the best candidates for this purpose, since you can have a lot of copy simply by describing each template. Let’s say you have a post with 50 themes, each theme description is around 100 words, add to this a 500 word introduction, and you get a 5500 word copy. That’s huge, but Google will like it.
When describing your templates, don’t just describe the design and overall appearance. Instead, provide some useful information, for example include some of the most prominent features, extensions, compatibility information, etc.
Also make sure to put all the keywords in your copy under which you want your post to show up in the search results. Make sure you have your main keyword in the title and in the first sentence of the article. After that, try mentioning some of the keywords in every 80-100 words. However there’s no need to make your posts too keyword-dense. It’s better to omit some of the keywords and make the copy easy-to-read for humans first, and only then for the search engines.
Once your screenshots are nice and tidy, all the links are working, and the copy is long and keyword-friendly, we are ready to hit the publish button. The next step would be social media promotion, but that is a different topic worth a separate article.
Showcase posts are really helpful for growing your blog and attracting new visitors. They are useful for both experienced bloggers and beginners, so if you’re not doing them right now, be sure to try them out.