Now you know about the giant that is Google, you know about handling social media, that means it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty; specifically, it’s time to get your business’s own blog up and running. You should already have a company website, and regardless of the number of offsite blog hosts you may find, you should never put your company blog anywhere but on the company website. It does you no good whatsoever to drive traffic to another external page; that’s what makes blogging so important in the first place.
Many small business owners may feel that having multiple social media accounts and a blog is a little redundant, but this is actually one of the most important elements of your SEO efforts. Facebook and Twitter are always active, but they’re short form social media while your blog is long form, giving you the opportunity to talk in detail about current events and noteworthy changes to your business, as well as speak openly and publicly about your employees, colleagues and customers.
Blogging offers a number of SEO benefits that social media can rarely match, not the least of which is an increase in traffic to your website. The more traffic you get, the higher your site climbs in search results; it’s as simple as that! While Facebook and Twitter offer traffic to your company pages and help get your company name out on the world wide web more easily, clicks through to the most important pages of your website tend to be fairly few and far between without constant events and calls to action. Your company blog, on the other hand, should be a part of your website, and that means that all blog readers offer a new hit every time they click to read a new post. This is just one of many reasons that groups like WordPress are so popular for building today’s business websites: this is a content management system originally designed around blogging, and that makes it easy to keep the lines of communication open.
However, deciding where and how to host your blog doesn’t mean you know exactly what to do with it once you have it set up. Thankfully, that’s where this tutorial comes in.
One thing all blogs need to have, regardless of hosting or industry, is sticky content. No, this doesn’t mean you need to do a cleanup in the Internet aisle, this is content that “sticks” with your customers and viewers, the information that comes up in conversations a week down the road and stays fresh in the minds of your visitors when they think of your company. Sticky content is generally used to describe high quality imagery, whether they’re illustrations or photography specific to your company, but can also be thought-provoking textual content.
To make your content stick as well as possible, ask yourself these questions every time you draft up a post:
“Who is this post talking to?” Make sure you know your target demographic, which may vary from one post to another. Some entries are written for loyal customers, while some are written for the new leads trickling in from around the Internet.
“Is this content relevant to my customers?” Regardless of your target audience, the post should be relevant to all your customers in some way.
“Is this content relevant to my industry?” Again, regardless of what you’re saying in the post, it should be relevant to your industry overall. This means no posting about the best deli meat on a blog for a cleaning service—unless you’re doing a trade, guest blogging and endorsing another small business, of course, in which case make sure you’re highlighting the “local business” aspect of your affiliate.
“How does this help promote my business?” If your post (announcements of errors and outages notwithstanding) doesn’t support the vision and goals of your business, don’t post it. Remember that your blog is public, so write with care.
“What do I want to achieve with this post?” Are you hoping to increase sales, get more comments, drive more likes to your Facebook page? Even if you’re just announcing that the ladies’ room is out of order until further notice, every post should come with a goal in mind.
Hitting all five of these points with every blog post can be a bit daunting at first, but with a little practice it should come easily. All you need to do it talk about your business, your industry, your place in the community, and even your favorite customers candidly and in such a way that others want to know the rest of the story. You’ve already built a great rapport with customers in-person, all you have to do now is duplicate that on the Internet.
Make it Simple
There is the possibility, when aiming for high-value content, to overstate things or get a little long-winded. It doesn’t matter how much quality your blog offers if it’s too hard to read, so do your best to make posts in laymen’s terms and in formats that are easily consumed by your readers. This means appealing to multiple areas of the brain in order to keep the reader engaged, and that often means images. You should have a minimum of one image in each blog post, at the very beginning, and not just for aesthetic appeal. Studies show that blog posts starting with a high-resolution, engaging graphic or photo can see a traffic increase of more then 90 percent over plain text posts.
Mixing things up a bit with text and images can help keep your content easy on the eyes, but there is still the matter of keeping it simple. A blog post should never be under 350 words in length, but don’t conflate the topic just to reach that word count. Repeating yourself and using multiple words to get a simple point across is aggravating to readers, and all but promises your posts won’t ever be fully read.
Instead of worrying about word count, worry more about the quality of content. Before you publish a post, read it aloud for flow and grammar, and to make sure that it sounds as engaging as it should; if you get bored of reading less than halfway through, spice it up a bit. Shorten words, rearrange paragraphs, whatever it takes. You only need to make a post every week to 10 days, but every blog post is a mini SEO campaign, and should be handled with respect for the topic and care for the readers.