Why start blogging?
In case you don’t have time to read them, a blog can:
- Improve your search engine ranking
- Drive traffic to your website
- Establish you as an expert in your industry
- Give your sales team more ammunition to use throughout the sales process
- Help convert traffic into leads
If you have any fears about blogging, put them aside! The results may take you by surprise.
What do I need to know to start a great business blog?
If you want to create one yourself, or would like an insight into our approach, here are ten important tips for how to make a business blog great.
1. Know your competition
Before you create your blog, it’s a good idea to investigate what’s already out there. As easy way to do this is by Googling relevant search terms or browsing through competitors’ websites.
Take notice of what they’ve written about. Are there blog posts that were particularly successful, perhaps with a high number of comments or social shares? Are there particular areas where you can apply your knowledge and insight?
2. Research/brainstorm topics to write about
No doubt you’ll think of plenty of good topics to write about. If you’re stuck, there are tools that can help.
3. Write a good headline
A good headline can make the world of difference. Ideally you want your headline to be catchy, but also search engine friendly. That means you should have relevant keywords in there (in the headline for this blog post, they include “business” and “blog”).
You don’t, however, want to stuff your headline with search terms. If you do that it will probably sound dull and robotic. If you’re strapped for ideas, this blog post contains some tips.
4. Content is king
The most important tip of them all: create engaging content. There are no hard and fast ways to do this, and no precise formula we can give you. But here are a few things we recommend:
- Write about things you are passionate and knowledgeable about
- Don’t be afraid to share knowledge gleaned by experience. If you do this, you may become known as a leader in your field and your blog may be considered a valuable resource
- Try not to be too promotional. You can definitely describe and link out to your products and/or services, but be sure to match that with useful/interesting information
5. Write reasonable sized blog posts
A couple of sentences aren’t going to cut it. Google tends to rate what it calls thin content lowly (thin content basically means pages where very little text exists).
The ideal word count for a blog post continues to be debated, but he general consensus is that a post should not be less than a few hundred words. There’s no shame, however, in mixing short and long posts. Not every post has to be essay length!
6. Link back to sources
If you mention an interesting fact or statistic, it’s best link back to the source where you discovered it. This is called “netiquette.” In other words, the polite thing to do.
Aside from being polite, it’s also being smart. When you link to another blog, the owner of that blog may receive a notification and decide to check your website out. Linking to sources also demonstrates you’ve done your research.
7. Find an appealing tone of voice
You don’t want your blog to read like a phone book. Don’t be afraid to be opinionated and inject into your writing some personality. It’s a good idea to write when you’re feeling enthusiastic, because that energy is contagious.
8. Publish content in appealing and sharable ways
By now you should have an easy-to-use website that looks great on every device (if you don’t get in touch with us, pronto!).
We’ve covered off on the need to have an attention-grabbing headline; your blog posts should also contain visually appealing images.
You want people to share your content, too. So be sure to include social media sharing buttons that allow people to do this easily. A call to action can be a good way to conclude your posts (in fact, you’ll see one down the bottom of this post).
9. Have a content plan
Any blog worth its weight in cyber salt (OK, that’s not an expression, but we’re going to run with it) values regularity. Most importantly, so do readers. If you visit a blog that hasn’t been updated for a long time, you’re less likely to return.
It’s a good idea to have a content plan (even if it’s just a rough one) so that you can map out what you’re posting and when. It’s also a good idea to have a spare post or two saved up for a rainy day.
10. Unleash your content onto the world
Don’t forget to share your content! It sounds like a no-brainer, but businesses new to blogging sometimes rely too much on the Field of Dreams belief: that “If you build it, they will come.”
Just as requires effort to publish a blog post, it also requires effort to bring readers to it. Be sure to promote blog posts on your social media accounts and email newsletters. There’s no shame in directly emailing somebody you think might be interested; they might end up sharing it themselves.
Blogs can form an important part of your business’ SEO strategy. To learn more about Wide Open’s search and social solutions, visit our Sydney Search and Social website.