Researching & writing a massive 4000-word guide

A while back, I wrote a massive 4000-word guide on programmatic SEO which is probably the most detailed guide on the subject as of writing this newsletter.

Generally, I follow a 5-step for writing long-form blog posts:

  1. Research — Read a bit about the topic from a few sources
  2. Outline — Create an outline of what I know about the topic and what I researched
  3. Writing — Write the first draft as per the outline (sometimes, the outline needs to be re-adjusted while writing)
  4. Editing — Edit the piece on the next day (I never edit the same day if I’m writing something important)
  5. Publishing — Create images, format to make the article easily skimmable, and then hit publish

While writing the guide on programmatic SEO, I created a detailed outline and shared it on Twitter asking people to provide feedback. A few people replied and I adjusted the outline accordingly.

This is what the outline looked like:

Programmatic SEO Outline - Screenshot of Google Docs
The outline that I created in Google Docs

Huge, right?

This detailed outline was the result of my knowledge about SEO and other related articles that I came across while researching.

The writing started and it took me 6 hours (not continuous, spread across 5 days) to complete the first draft. Yes, I am slow like that.

The first draft was around 5300 words and 24 pages long in Google Docs. After editing, it was around 4000 words and 17 pages long; I removed lots of basic stuff that readers would definitely know if they are reading this advanced guide.

Programmatic SEO writing in Google Docs
A screenshot of the writing in Google Docs

As you might have noticed, I mention possible images/infographics insertions while writing itself. In the above screenshot, you can see the <IMAGE - Infographic illustrating PS> text.

Apart from writing, the editing process took another 4 hours.

After writing and editing were done, it was time to take useful screenshots and create stunning infographics to illustrate the concept in a better way. In this case, I created all the infographics and that took me another 2 hours.

Figma to create infographics
A screenshot of Figma artboard

I used Figma to create all the infographics that are there in the guide. You can see my Figma artboard in the above screenshot.

Lastly, it was the publishing part which took another 1 hour to copy-paste the article in WordPress, add all the images, and format everything for better readability.

And, it was live after 13-14 hours of work.

How much time would you have taken to write this? I think there’s definitely room for improvement for me.

That’s it.

See ya!

PS — If you’ve any related queries, feel free to let me know by replying to this email.

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