We tend to think of blogging as the realm of über-trendy hipsters sipping piccolo lattes and crafting rambling diatribes about on-point topics – the latest yoga hotspots, exotic superfoods, global travel or myriad motherhood hacks.
It is true that career bloggers may well fall somewhere within the periphery of this stereotype, but the value and application of blogs does not.
While SEO, website traffic, audience engagement, marketing funnels and Google keywords may be familiar terms, it’s not often they are associated with, or directly related to blogs.
Blog posts are an often poorly utilized resource of lead generation and traffic, acting as both a magnet and anchor for your desired audience, and the beauty is, you don’t need to be a Pulitzer Prize winner to have an active, abundant and engaging blog feed.
Here are six reasons for showing your blog a little love, and tips for making it happen – and don’t forget to download our Blog Writing Checklist at the end of this article:
1) Giving Your Audience More:
A blog post can go into great depth on subjects that your website might have only mentioned in passing. This provides you with the opportunity to up-sell your products and give your clients a far greater understanding of what it is you are providing.
Even if not a direct sales pitch, a blog provides you with a two-way street; offering your audience helpful content, even free tips and advice creates loyalty. By going one step further for them, your readers will want to come back for more, will be more likely to revisit your site, sign up to newsletters, like your social accounts and so on. It will also spark further interest in your content and actively encourage them to explore further. It may also entice them to make a purchase they have been pondering over or to discover more features, products or offerings of your business. It’s like up-selling without the pushiness!
2) Maximising Your SEO Potential
Anyone who has investigated building or optimizing their website is only too familiar with those three poignant letters; S-E-O.
Search engine optimization is incredibly important in helping you rank higher on Google and other search engines than your competitors. Each page on your site should be checked for its SEO strength (nb: Rock Paper Digital can help you with this, giving you tips and an easy-to-use plugin for your WordPress site).
It’s worth doing a quick bit of research to get your head around writing for SEO value prior to starting blogging. Even a quick five-minute browse will give you a clearer understanding of how subtle word changes can increase the magnetism of your blog.
A useful little tool can be found here: Blog Title Generator
This handy website will take your keyword (a single word or two describing the theme of your blog, such as ‘vegan recipes’, ‘ethical fashion’ or ‘animal rights’) and offer SEO-rich options for your blog’s title.
3) Add Google Pulling Power
One thing Google absolutely loves is fresh content. Even if you create a site and make sure it is 100 per cent optimized, ranking number one on every search, if you don’t keep updating it, it will slowly slip down the ladder.
Rather than updating your static pages all the time, blogging provides you with this fresh content that the hungry little Google algorithms feed off. While it’s recommended that a couple of blogs a week will get Google to recognize you, what is more important is to maximize traffic. So even just posting once a month, with regular remarketing or reposting through email newsletters you will get more traffic and Google will begin to see that your blog really has some value and is of interest to your audience, strengthening its overall SEO value.
You see, it’s not just about getting lots of fresh, new content on your site, it’s about making valuable, rich content that Google believes people really want to see. So one conscious, in-depth blog per month is far better than five short, empty posts that people won’t pay any attention to.
4) Make Your Blog Pretty
Including images in your blog is essential. A strong feature image will act as the cover of a magazine, drawing in initial attention. It’s important that you also think about where this image is going to go. For example, if you want to share to social media, make sure that the image is the right proportions for the platform. Facebook posts landscape images for links, so if you use a square picture as your feature image, you’ll be risking potential decapitation, with the top and bottom quarters of your picture being automatically cropped.
Three to six well-chosen, good-quality images can run through your blog, depending on length. We find that one image every 20 lines, or around every four paragraphs, gives a nice text-to-image balance.
It is important to relate the image names, ALT tags and captions to your blog. SEO algorithms search the image details as well as the text, so naming and even captioning your blog pictures will add another element to its SEO viability. Read more about best practices for images in blogs.
5) Pay It Forward
Adding links to your blog post is essential. By including links to other pages of your website, you are encouraging the readers to explore further, learn more, spend more time on your site and discover more of your engaging content, products and business opportunities. Think about this as you write your blog, but even when you’re pondering your next blog topic.
Good blogging has the potential to be entertaining to your audience while also acting as a sales funnel, directing the most engaged readers to the aspects of your business they are truly interested in, maximizing your sales potential and the return on investing your time and efforts into the blog.
Linking to an external website gives you the opportunity to later draw from that website’s or business’s audience. Tagging the business on social media, inviting it to share your blog and making it aware that you are subtly promoting it can all add up to you gaining added customers.
QUICK TIP: When linking to external websites, always be sure to make the link open in a new tab or window. You don’t want your readers navigating away from your site, so by doing this, your website will still remain open on their browser.
6) Share Your Blog on Social Media
As we mentioned earlier, sharing your blogging projects across all of your platforms is a great way to build its online presence, both in terms of SEO and eyes on the page. Create an area on your website’s homepage to feature your ‘Blog of the Week/Month’. Create a special graphic on Instagram declaring that your latest post is now live and feature the direct link in your account bio. Add it to your Facebook page and then pin it to the top of your page for however long you think is relevant. Unless specifically time-sensitive, we’d recommend a week or two.
Lastly, let your mailing list know it’s there. Send out an initial newsletter specifically and solely about the blog, including your featured image and an excerpt, suggesting the viewers ‘read more on our website now’ and featuring a link. Then include another small reminder in future newsletters and EDMs. This can even revive traffic to very old blogs, breathing new life and SEO value into content that might even be a few years old, so long as it’s still relevant.
Blogging doesn’t have to be arduous and time-consuming. If you’re writing about a subject you’re acutely familiar with, you’ll find the information will simply flow. You don’t even need to be a literary genius. In fact, writing your blog in simple terms, even dumbing it down a little if the subject is particularly complex, will make it far more accessible to a wider audience. And make it personal – throw in a little humor, add a bit of personality and help the audience feel that they are reading the words of a real person with whom they can identify.
So now you know the ins and outs of why you should be blogging, start making a list of blog ideas, get creative and have some fun with it!
If you simply don’t have time to put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – why not discuss your blogging needs with us? We can create bespoke blogs just for you, to help take the hassle out of your ongoing SEO optimization.