Why is blogging so important to business? A blog is one place where you can market your business and where you can build trust with a consumer. Approximately 80% of people start researching a product online. Meaning a consumer is much farther along in the buying process once they contact a business. Which also means it is easier to make a sale, as long as your consumers are finding you online.
A blog drives visitors to your website. It can help turn those visitors into leads and it helps establish your authority.
As a business, how do you create a successful blog?
- Start with a good topic and title
- Make sure the blog is formatted correctly
- Use keywords
- Include a call to action
- Promote your blog
- Be consistent
- Analyze your efforts
Incorporate these 7 best practices to ensure that people not only read your blog but keep coming back for more.
1. Choose One Topic and a Phenomenal Title
Choose one, and only one, topic to write a blog about. The blog needs to be educational and not promotional. Keep in mind that consumers, at this point, are just trying to learn more about a subject or topic. They are not necessarily ready to buy after reading one article. If you try to sell them right away, consumers will stop reading and likely will never return.
When choosing a blog topic consider some of your most frequently asked questions or what your customers need help with.
Find out what readers what to know and answer their questions. One tool that may help is called Answer the Public. Type in a word and get suggested ideas for a blog. Depending on the keyword you type, you can get hundreds of useful ideas.
The title must capture a person’s attention while also deliver on the topic. Titles should be no more than 9 words in length and no more than 60 characters. After 60 characters Google cuts it off. You can write the perfect title , but no one will see all of it if it is too long.
For some people (including me) titles, are harder to write than the 500-word body. Co-Schedule has an awesome tool to help people like us, the headline analyzer. Type your headline into the bar and Co-Schedule will give you a score. They will also give you suggestions on how to improve it.
2. Keep It Easy to Read
Visitors to your blog are there to gather information, so make it easy for them. Content needs to be clear and concise. The Yoast SEO plugin is great for helping with readability. It includes a Flesch Reading Ease score, as well as a host of other features. If you struggle with spelling or using proper grammar, then try Grammarly.
Don’t be afraid of white space. White space, the area that does not have text or images, helps a reader organize what they see on the screen. If there is too much to look at, it causes sensory overload and people will exit the page
Format your blog. Use section headers or bullets and include images to break up the text. Adding both external and internal links to the blog will help with its credibility. Use external links from reputable sources.
3. Key to Being Found
Keywords, oh those dreaded keywords! Keep things simple and start by only choosing one topic to blog about. Since it is difficult to get found with a single keyword, use a long-tail keyword instead. A long-tail keyword gets searched less but it does have a higher conversion rate.
Include the keywords in the URL and the title. While the entire long-tail keyword does not need to appear in order, it should also be in the body of the content, the headers and in the alt-text of at least one image.
4. Encourage Action
Every post must have a call to action. You wrote that blog for a reason and while it was to inform people you hope they will take another step toward buying your product. Unless you move them in that direction, they may not continue.
A call to action does not necessarily mean they are ready to buy. Instead, offer them exclusive information, but in return, ask them for their email or other pertinent details. Examples include newsletter or eBook sign-up.
The call to action happens at the end of every post. Also, consider using a passive link bar at the end of the first few paragraphs, for people who do not read the entire blog.
Stay the Course
It takes a long time to build a following online, but blogging will help you. If you are not consistent, your blogs are not much help.
Consistency is more important than frequency. Publish your posts on the same day, that way people will know when and look forward to your blogs. If you are sporadic with your blogs, then people will give up looking for your content.
While frequency is not as important as consistency, a good expectation is to publish a new blog at least once a week. This keeps your site fresh and gives you plenty of material to promote.
5. Hear Ye, Hear Ye!
You spent hours writing and formatting the content, now go promote it. The best ways to share your blog is on social media and with email. There are great automation tools available to make promotion easier.
Choose the right social media platform for your business. Follow the best practices for how often to promote them. Each site has different guidelines to maximize your reach. If you promote too much or too little, that will affect your results, depending on the platform.
To promote your blogs, start an email list and send your top blogs for the week or month to subscribers. How do you know which blogs are the tops- well, analyze their performance.
6. Analyze This
The final best practice for business bloggers is to analyze. Follow the performance of each blog and study what is working and what is not.
Check how many clicks the blog receives and analyze it based on the topic and the social media channel used to promote it. Start with the analytics tools the social media site provides and add Google Analytics for clicks from the website. This should give you a good picture.
If a blog does not perform to your expectations, decipher why. Was it a poor headline or topic? Too hard to read or not promoted enough? In some instances, you can go back and fix the problems, then promote it again.
Put the Pencil to the Paper (or Fingers on the Keyboard)
These 7 best practices will help your business reach more people and turn those visitors into leads. Remember to choose one topic and write an attention-grabbing headline. Format the blog, include a long-tail keyword and a call to action in every post. Schedule how often you blog and stick to it. You may not see results right away, but over time you will. Promote, analyze and repeat. Follow these best practices and you are on your way to a successful blog and business.
Are you a rock-star when it comes to using all the business blog best practices? Which best practice do you struggle with? Any to add?