So if you read our last post on Why Blogging is So Important for your Business, it’s now time to look at what you need to be doing to make sure your blogging efforts are all worthwhile.
First of all we need to address which blogging platform you should choose. Our preferred choice is WordPress as it is an easy to use, but very powerful blogging platform.
It is advisable to download WordPress (from WordPress.org) to install on your own server rather than setting up a WordPress account (on WordPress.com), as this will mean that all your posts originate from the same domain as your website. After all your aim is to drive traffic to your website in order to gain business, either by direct purchase or lead generation (whereby they contact you for more info).
That way, with each and every post you are adding content to your website and more pages for Google to index.
Blogging Efficiently and Successfully
With just a few tips and tools under your belt, you will soon find the whole blogging thing comes naturally and is not as scary (or even time consuming) as you first thought.
Set time aside
It is all very easy to spend more time working IN your business than ON it. We tend to get wrapped up in doing the work that makes us immediate money and forget that we also need to be working ON the business to bring in a constant and reliable stream of income for the future.
If you don’t already, set time aside for working on your marketing efforts. If you already do that, then specifically delegate some of that time to writing your blog.
Plan your blog posts
You will be much more productive (and find it easier to get into it) if you have a plan for your blog posts for the next few weeks or even months. Sit down and think of some blog titles or subjects and keep a list.
Inspiration can come from your current clients. What problems are they facing? What questions have they asked you? If it is relevant to your field (and interesting to your readers) then you could blog about recent work you have done, including the brief your customer gave you, your planning process and then the final outcome.
Do you have a particular product or service that you want to highlight? If so, think about how your visitors might search for it in Google. What search terms might they use? Incorporate them in your blog title.
Are there any current trends that are relevant to your business? Perhaps you could write about them, with a little info about what they are and why they are popular and then tell your audience how YOU can offer them that trend.
Quality (and a bit of Quantity) is key
Don’t just add a load of images or links in your post. You should try to write at least 300 words. That said, keep your content relevant and interesting. If you find you are just padding out the text to reach 300 words then maybe you need to rethink your post subject matter.
On the other hand, if you find that you really get into the swing of it and you are writing copious amounts, take an editor’s role and consider splitting your post in to two – or even a whole series.
Long posts can be good for Google rankings, but keep your reader in mind: will they nod off before they get to the end?!
It can help to split up a longer post with lots of headings and highlighted / bold text so that people can skim read the bits they are interested in most.
Think SEO (but don’t get obsessed with it)
When you write your blog posts, you should consider SEO by adding your keyword to your blog title and then in your first paragraph…. but then relax and just write. You will find you naturally drop in your keywords throughout the post, so don’t get too hung up on the whole SEO thing.
You should try to focus each blog post on one keyword phrase. To research your keywords you could use the various keyword tools available, such as Google’s own to find keyword phrases that people are actually searching for.
Think carefully about your keywords and keyword phrases. If visitors find you by searching for that keyword or phrase, will they find what they are looking for? Will those people be likely to want to buy your product or service from you? Make sure you are attracting the right people.
So called ‘long tail’ keywords (longer, more specific keyword phrases) can help drive more targeted search traffic to your site. For example, if someone is searching for ‘wedding dresses’ then they could be looking for pretty much anything and may not be interested in your products at all. However, someone searching for ‘vintage tea length wedding dresses under £500’ is pretty certain about what they want and are ready to buy (if they find the right dress!).
These long tail keywords may bring in less traffic, but they will bring in more focused, quality leads for your business than a less specific keyword would.
Make it easy on the eye
Use conversational language and short paragraphs to make your post easy to read. Some people scan read so it is always nice to highlight important words in bold or as a blockquote.
Once you have written your post, go back through it and see if there is anywhere you can add images to liven the page up a bit. Don’t just grab them from the internet as you could be infringing copyright.
If you don’t have enough of your own images to add, then there are lots of stock image websites out there and, best of all, some of them are free! These free images are called Public Domain Images and sites include Pixabay.com, StockSnap.io and Magdeleine. Even some of the paid stock image sites such as Dreamstime offer a few free images.
Allow readers to leave comments (but install an anti-spam plugin)
This can be down to personal preference: you may prefer to interact with your readers via social media instead, but enabling comments on your posts can add a human aspect to your blog and allow you to build on your relationship with your readers by replying to their comments.
It also depends on how much of the time that you have allocated to working on your blog that you want to spend on moderating and answering comments.
However, it has been shown that blog comments can actually increase your search engine traffic. Why? Because comments can increase your keyword density and also show Google that your post is current, alive and kicking!
Don’t fret too much about getting masses of comments – as always, quality is better than quantity. As long as you set your comments to only be approved upon manual moderation, then you can filter out the ones you don’t want. On the flip side, don’t worry if you don’t get many comments at all – it does not reflect upon the popularity or quality of your blog.
You might even find that your comments section offers up some frequently asked questions that you can elaborate upon in a new post.
If you do choose to enable comments, then you really do need to use an anti-spam plugin, like Askimet or WP-Spamshield AntiSpam. Askimet tends to be packaged with WordPress but is only free for personal use. For a business blog, you will need to pay a subscription (from £4 per month). WP-Spamshield is free for all though.
If you decide you really, really don’t want to enable comments, then we recommend the Disable Comments plugin which will make sure all comments are properly disabled throughout your blog.
Encourage further contact
Let’s not forget that the purpose of your blog is to promote your business and create leads or direct sales, so make sure you link to other posts within your blog where relevant and also to pages on your website, especially your contact page or product ordering pages.
Whatever your blog post is about, think what the reader may want to do next. Will they have read enough to buy from you? Will they need more information first? Maybe they will want to contact you for a quote or to ask a question. Make it easy for them to do those things from within your post. Don’t miss a single opportunity to convert them into a customer.
Promoting your blog posts
Of course you will also want to promote your posts to get them seen. This may well have been your purpose for creating a blog in the first place: so that you can create content targeted to your ad or social media campaigns.
Share, share and share away
Share your posts on your social media pages and profiles. There are even plugins that will automatically share your posts for you when you publish them.
Make sure that others can share your blog posts too
Getting your blog posts shared across social media is free marketing for you! You really want to make sure that your blog allows this. It may be an integral part of your blog’s theme or you may need to use a third party plugin like AddToAny Share Buttons.
A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is. Scott Cook
Link directly to your posts with Google Adwords
You may have written the blog post to specifically target a set of keywords for your Adwords campaign or it may be the other way around and you want to boost your post and get it seen.
Either way, your Google Ads will always perform better if the landing page (the page the ad links to) is relevant to the advert itself.
Link to your posts in your Email Newsletter
If you have a mailing list and regularly send out an email newsletter, then take the opportunity to add links to (and even snippets of) your latest blog posts to your mail out.
To discuss how Vanilla Gecko can help you set up a blog on your website, get in touch for a FREE, no obligation quote call us on 07879 815753 or click here to email us.