The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Blog For Your Business
Friday, October 16th, 2020
Many businesses don’t understand the value of building blog content on their website. We often get asked questions like why do I need a blog? And what does blogging do for my business? The short answer here is the importance of blogging stems from one of the key factors in all digital marketing strategies – good content.
When looking to build a stronger online presence and improve search rankings good content is arguably the most important factor in any SEO strategy. Your blog should be a major contributor to creating fresh, relevant content that covers all relevant search terms and phrases, provides useful information on all aspects relating to your industry while answering any questions potential customers might have.
What Is The Purpose Of A Blog?
While everyone these days seems to be jumping on the social networking bandwagon, many businesses have yet to get on board with creating a business blog, and may wonder whether blogging is actually relevant or beneficial for their business.
The driving factor behind the purpose of a blog is that search engines prefer new content to old meaning websites that are regularly updated and expanded get better rankings. Having a blog is a simple yet effective way to quickly add new keyword-optimised content to your website, which will in turn help boost your search engine rankings.
What Does A Blog Do?
A blog is about providing value, think of your blog as essentially aiding your potential customers in making their purchase decision while also building brand awareness. Blog articles are one of the best ways to draw your customers in and begin to develop a relationship with them.
A good blog post can have a compounding effect, by attracting more people to your website the search volume increases, which in turn has a positive effect on your rankings. Blogging also provides useful analytics as you can keep track of which pages are performing well and what it is your customers are actually looking for.
What A Blog Doesn’t Do
Blogs are not magical, they are not going to instantly drive up your rankings or magically make customers appear. A blog is an excellent tool for your digital marketing strategy but it will take time to see results, but in the meantime take note of these common misconceptions about blogs.
- Personal vs Business Blogs. There is a difference between personal blogs and business blogs. A business blog is not the place to provide a description of your latest holiday or what you did over the Christmas holidays. Keep content relevant to your customer’s needs.
- Blogs Are Not For Selling. A business blog is used to educate, inform, inspire or entertain your audience, it is not there to sell a specific product. Don’t push your products blatantly, people dislike this kind of post and won’t trust your advice – they will not come back.
- Quality vs Quantity. A common misconception about blogs is that the more articles you publish the more traffic you will get. While regular posts are important, quality always trumps quantity.
- Writing For Your Customers. While including references to the wider audience is good, don’t overdo it by trying to appeal to the masses. Stick to what you know and become the expert on your specific industry and you will have better success.
Top 5 Benefits Of A Blog
Still not convinced blogging is for your business? If you want to put a different spin on the name, you don’t have to call it a ‘Blog’. Call it your ‘News’ or anything you want – it’s the functionality that makes it so useful. Here is a quick summary of some of the top benefits of creating a blog on your website.
- Increased website traffic from search engines by publishing fresh, useful content
- Generation of incoming links from people that like your content (also good for rankings)
- Low-cost marketing and communication
- Easy way to provide targeted content (great for local search keywords)
- Greater brand awareness
5 Tips For Best Blog Design
The fundamental aim of any blog is creating content that is interesting, informative and sharable, however the way this content is presented is important too. While it’s true that good posts will shine through a dull or uninspiring design, a clever, relevant blog layout will take your words to new heights. Here are 5 top tips for getting it right first time!
- Match The Theme And Tone. Depending on who your blog is aimed at, consider whether your theme should be chic and modern or more traditional and familiar. Go for simple, clean layouts that emphasise your message and include pictures and videos if you can. Design Is Mine is a great example of proving the authority of the blog with a slick design.
- Make It Easy To Find Content. Tagging your posts and providing a page with links to browse different tags is an excellent way to make older posts more accessible. A search bar is a simple addition that will give your post archives a new lease on life. The Fat Free Vegan uses categories to help readers find the recipe they’re looking for.
- Clear Navigation. Use straightforward menus to guide users to where they want to go. Find the most popular topics and sections of your blog and provide a beeline to them. The best navigation has as few categories as possible. Popular exercise blog Blogilates keeps all their posts organised by categories and menus from the very front page.
- Maximise Social Sharing And Subscriptions. A slew of social media buttons for all the major networks can be easily added to any blog, and will appear on each individual post for maximum sharing potential. Similarly, RSS and e-mail subscription options will make it easier for people to follow your blog and share new posts with others as they go live. The SEOmoz Blog has examples of both.
- Utilise Extra Pages. Most blogging services allow you to add pages of static content in addition to your blog feed. Use these to organise content, add information about yourself and your blog, to link and receive reciprocal links, or simply add content that you find doesn’t need to be updated much. StoneSoup uses these to advertise their books and other print media to increase their blog revenue.
A well-designed blog will make your content more attractive and shareable. Consider the tone and theme of your posts, and above all make sure it is easy to navigate both old and new posts.
Writing Good Blog Content
All marketers and SEO fanatics know the mantra “content is king”, but with this comes a new challenge. Populating your website with strong, keyword-driven words is easy enough, but with so much fresh content being posted every day for not only SEO but digital marketing purposes, you need to go the extra mile to stand out.
A single viral article can net your blog or website a new following, which from there you can continue to expand. The aim is to create content that gets people sharing and linking of their own accord, but this is easier said than done. Read on for our insight into creating good blog content that is highly sharable.
1. Write Something That Creates Value For People
One of the easiest ways to get people working for you is to make them think you’re working for them. Offer your customers and readers something that will increase their value or profits – such as a guide or a tool – and they will naturally promote it for you.
2. Have An Opinion
When a new Google update comes out, there’ll be a hundred blogs all parroting the same information. Some will summarise it better than others, but the ones who tend to make out with the most traffic are the ones that are already established. If you want to bring in new traffic surrounding an update or big piece of web news, offer a take on it that can’t be found anywhere else. Of course, there is some limitation on this – you can only be as controversial as your company or branding allows – but having a point of view alone is a good incentive for readers to read your take as well as the main summaries.
3. Solve A Problem
Every industry has its share of grievances, and you should use your knowledge of your product and customer base to identify key issues and provide a solution to readers. This could be a software recommendation, a guide or even an instructional video embedded in the post. Be useful and tackle specific issues that you know will be of use to your customer base.
4. Be Interactive
Sometimes larger blogs and sites can’t offer much in the way of interactivity and personalisation. Listen to your readers, interact with them in the comment section, and write specific articles based on their comments and feedback. Not only will this earn you the appreciation of your current readership, it’s also an easy way of doing research into what people “actually want”.
There’s no sure fire way of writing that killer article that will be shared and get your name out there, it’s just a matter of knowing the market, occasionally taking a risk and creating content that serves a common need.
Top 10 Blog Writing Tips
As we have discussed above, maintaining a blog or news section on your website is one of the best ways to improve your site’s SEO and get higher rankings. A good blog will both prove to Google that your site is high-quality, and create content that is more likely to be shared.
Blogging is also a great way to provide extra information to potential customers – all of that stuff that doesn’t quite fit onto the main website. Of course, setting up the blog is the easy part. Figuring out what to say can be much trickier. It’s the content that will boost your SEO, so it’s essential that what you’re writing is clear, easy-to-read and above all, useful. You want your readers and customers to engage with your content, so make it interesting and relevant. Not sure where to begin? Take a look at our top 10 tips for creating high-quality and engaging content for your blog.
- Select Relevant Topics. Choose topics relevant to your target audience.
- Target Your Reader. Direct your writing to your ideal customer.
- Include Relevant Links. Link to other websites and other pages in your site.
- Include Keywords. Include keywords in the blog title and content.
- Use Informal Language. Blogs can be informal, friendly, opinionated and even a little irreverent.
- Run A Contest. A photo, product naming or video contest actively encourages audience participation.
- Add Graphics And Pictures. Screeds of plain text are guaranteed to repel readers!
- Leave Comments. Both to replies on your blog and other industry-related blogs.
- Cross-Post To Social Media. If you have a CMS site such as WordPress/Drupal/Joomla, then use plug-ins.
- Find Successful Bloggers In Your Industry. Offer to exchange links or make contact.
Top 4 Blog Topic Ideas
Stuck for ideas? Our top 4 blog writing topics are listed below.
- Insights On Industry News. Provide a friendly link between a complicated subject and the layman reader.
- De-Bunk Industry Myths. Readers love to feel like they’re getting the inside scoop.
- Talk About An Industry Debate. Provide your businesses opinion.
- Discuss Where The Industry Is Going. What this could mean for the reader, how this affects products/services.
Blogs often don’t become popular overnight; you have to keep working at it by posting consistently good content. It can be a challenge, but is often enjoyable if you pick a topic that interests you! The SEO rewards are worth it. See here for more topic ideas for content writing.
Boosting SEO Using Your Blog
When it comes to SEO, investing time and effort to produce long term stability and results is the best way to go. Blogs have long been recognised as a pillar of building good strong rankings, as they produce high quality content that is genuinely useful – something search engine algorithms will always value.
Creating engaging blog content does represent an investment of time however, which is why it’s important to maximise the gains you make from them. These tips will help you get the best bang for your blogging buck.
- Title Like A Searcher. We all instinctively know what to type into search engines to try and get the most relevant and accurate results, so apply this to your blog titles. Phrase it as closely as you can to a likely search phrase, and use tools like Ubersuggest to get actual data on how people are searching.
- Diversify Relevant Keywords. This doesn’t mean cramming as many tangentially related keywords into a single article as possible; it simply means using a few well-chosen keywords related to the main topic. If you’re writing good copy this will often happen naturally, but you may wish to edit a bit to achieve the best possible effect. Getting the exact right balance is something of an art form.
- Link To Previous Posts With Contextual Keywords. This provides a link back to original content, which makes it easier for search engine robots to crawl and is good for readers and making sure older posts don’t go to waste.
- Give Images Titles. If you’re using original images in particular, it’s a good idea to title images so that they can be found on Google Image searches for an extra SEO boost.
- Words Over Pictures. It’s said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but unfortunately search engine algorithms are not known for appreciating art. They can only read the text on the page, so where possible it’s better to have words rather than images, and for image heavy posts make sure all the image alt tags and titles are filled out.
- Add Comments To Other Blogs. The links produced by commenting on other people’s blogs aren’t going to be supercharged in terms of SEO “link juice”, but they create a solid back link profile from a range of sources. Use the title of your site/blog rather than your own name and try to mix it up so that it registers as different keywords, but avoid being spammy. You should only ever comment if you can think of something useful and meaningful to say.
- Submit Content To Someone Else’s Blog. It’s not easy saying goodbye to content you’ve worked long and hard over, but sometimes it can do much more good for you on another website. Not only will it provide a link from a high quality source, it’ll also bring you new traffic and visitors who are interested in what you have to say. A number of sites help connect bloggers with sites seeking guest posts.
These tips will help take your blog to the next level, and give your website a competitive edge in the search rankings.
Guest Blog Posting Tips
Speaking of guest post, if you fancy yourself as a good writer that may have a wider appeal, from there you may want to take networking into your own hands and get your content published on other people’s websites. One of the best ways to do this is through guest posting.
Guest blog posting means writing articles for other blogs to post. That may seem counter-productive, but it really isn’t. The key is to target the more popular blogs that are within your niche. The post you make will link back to your own blog, and hey presto – fresh traffic from a different audience. Some fo the best tips for getting guest posting gigs are listed below.
- Do some legwork and research the most popular blogs in your field, then see if there’s a guest blog opportunity.
- Try the Google’s Blog Search for a comprehensive guide to the latest developments in online search.
- Believe it or not, there are communities designed specifically for building guest posting contacts! My Blog Guest is a great place to start.
- Check forums and community sites for connections, tips and ideas from the people who know their stuff. Become an active member of the community and reap the rewards.
Guest blog posting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re good at writing interesting content, then it is a terrific way of broadening out your online reach and generating new traffic from targeted online locations.
Amplifying Your Blog Content
Once you’ve come up with a quality, engaging article for your blog and posted it, you may think your work is done. However leaving it at this point is like taking all that time and effort and running it into a brick wall. It immediately stops giving you any return or benefit, and its visibility and popularity peak at wherever it got to after posting.
Instead, you should continue to push and promote content in a variety of ways, so that rather than having to continually create more, you can strengthen and amplify the stuff you already have. There are a number of ways you can do this.
- Social Media. Most websites with a blog will already know the benefits of sharing to social media, and may even have a system that does so automatically after each post. However, there are many different factors that come into play when it comes to the success of a socially shared post. Look at which times give you the best reaction, and consider staggering your posts across different social media networks for a “slow burn” promotion. You can post the same article to a social network more than once, but be careful of spamming up people’s feeds – this tactic works best for covering opposite time zones.
- Lists And Review Articles. Just because an article is weeks, months or even years old, doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. You can draw back on this archive of older content through aggregation posts that link to previous articles and explain a little bit about them. This can be done with a list, or a year/month in review style post. You can also simply drop links to previous articles throughout the content, prompting people to click if they want to read more.
- Community Interaction. Most specialised fields have strong online communities built around them, and by interacting with these you can share links to relevant articles you’ve created even if they’re somewhat old. However be careful to ensure you’re only adding something of value to the discussion, or your input won’t be so welcome.
Creating good blog content is just one step in the process, and if you leave it at that you’re not maximising the returns it gives. Even a single social media push is just the minimum you can do, and there are many ways you can continue to spread your content and get returns from it.
How To Create A Blog That Converts
The benefits of a blog, for content marketing and SEO, have long been understood and appreciated by online marketers. The extra word count gives you lots of room for keyword development and creating useful content generates organic links. Another crucial way you can use your blog is to drive conversions themselves.
Using a blog as a sales tool is a tricky business. If readers sense the intent is not for their benefit, they’re likely to disregard the blog as an authority entirely. However, if you manage to strike the right balance, it’s a great way of getting engaged readers to make sales and do your promoting for you.
1. Use Subtle But Visible Calls To Action
A visual call to action is always a balancing act between being visible enough for your readers to notice and subtle enough that they aren’t turned away. As a general rule unless you are using your blog very aggressively for marketing, pop-ups are not recommended. (Take a look here for more reasons why your CTA isnt working).
For those who want to make a genuinely pleasant blog user experience, a great compromise is slide-in calls to action. These have the content of a pop-up, but they slide in from the right of the screen as the user scrolls down. This means that you aren’t immediately pushing an advert into their view as soon as they click the page and shows that they have some interest in what you’re talking about. Slide-ins are subtle and don’t overshadow the text but because they’re a new object appearing, readers will still take notice.
2. Make Sure Keywords Match Calls To Action
If people are finding your blog posts via looking up a specific keyword on the search engine, that keyword is what they want to get from your posts. Having a call to action for a completely different service, product or deal isn’t going to impact the majority of your search traffic.
Spend time finding what keywords your blog posts are showing up for and then change the calls to action to match these specifically.
3. Optimise Old Content
Most blogs will have a huge backlog of content that isn’t necessarily optimised for conversions. However, often, your old posts will be the ones people find through searches and links. Even on posts written the previous year, or further back, make sure they are all written and structured to assist in bring more sales and enquiries.
4. Be Mindful Of Article Length
To get the best results in today’s Google Search environment you ideally want articles longer than 1200 words. Google is rewarding higher quality content and it’s difficult to do that with just 400 or 500 words. So, if you have the time and resource available, it’s worthwhile regularly creating signature content pieces that more deeply explore a topic, and add a lot of value, to fully engage the target audience.
Ensuring your blog converts as many visitors as possible is the best way to take advantage of the traffic you’ll be naturally generating through link-building, content marketing and keyword optimisations. Want to improve your online marketing strategy and create a blog that’s going to give your business a head start? Get in touch with the experts in SEO at Avatar today!
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