Blogging For Your Business
We all hate ads, that’s a fact! So when it comes to marketing, it makes sense to focus on content rather than more traditional, ignored methods of advertising. Blogs are directly responsible for over 430% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links. You can’t ignore those numbers; it’s time to start blogging for your business.
So why do users prefer blog posts over other advertising methods? The main reasons include feeling closer to a company after reading blog posts as well as feeling more positive about a company, everything you’re looking for to ease visitors down the conversion path.
But what if you don’t have the time or really can’t bring yourself around to the thought of crafting the perfect blog post? Well, why not consider outsourcing? 62% of companies outsource their content marketing to agencies like us here at Actuate Digital and see an upturn in traffic and sales because of it.
How To Start Blogging With Your Existing Website
Congratulations, you’ve decided that blogging is the next logical step to increase brand awareness, visitors and sales, but how should you start and what software should you use?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The answer can vary depending on your current website setup, personal preferences and features you’re looking for in blogging software. We do, however, have a few suggestions to make the process of choosing easier and a lot of the time it includes the term WordPress!
Existing WordPress Users
If you’re already using WordPress to manage your website, you’re in luck. Over 63.5% of all content managed sites use WordPress, which amounts to over one-third of all websites in existence today. It’s a scalable platform designed originally for blogging, so you’re already well on the way to success.
For those using Magento, arguably one of the most popular e-commerce platforms today, FishPig produces a free extension for both Magento 1 and Magento 2, which integrates WordPress into the Magento architecture. Once installed, you’re free to enjoy all the benefits of Magento for selling and WordPress for blogging.
Shopify & BigCommerce Users
While it’s not currently possible to integrate WordPress directly with Shopify or BigCommerce, you do have many options available to you when it comes to creating a blog.
The first is using the inbuilt blogging capabilities of each system, while basic, they are more than adequate for the occasional blog post. The second option is to use one of the many third-party blogging plugins available.
Users with a love of WordPress can even set up their blog using a sub-domain such as blog.domain.com and install WordPress here. The drawback, however, is that Google classifies both www.domain.com and blog.domain.com as two different sites meaning you won’t get all of the benefits of hosting your blog together with your main website. The choice, however, is ultimately yours, and companies such as Actuate can help explain the pros and cons for your business.
Blog Post Planning
For some, the thought of writing blog articles can be terrifying. The idea of being chained to your computer for days attempting to think of something to write about isn’t pleasant. Make things easier for yourself by starting a content calendar using a simple spreadsheet. Here you should list ideas for blog posts as you get them, a schedule of when you plan to post articles to your blog as well as additional information on the type of blog post you plan on writing.
Ideas for posts themselves can come from anywhere, other blogs you frequently read, industry news and announcements and your own ideas and thoughts. If you keep your blog in mind as you go about your everyday business, you’ll find ideas jump out at you almost all the time.
Some of the most popular blog posts which engage users and pull in views include:
- “How-To” articles which answer questions on a specific topic.
- List-based posts which are easy to skim through and give ideas.
- Pillar pages, which are an in-depth analysis of a given subject.
- Newsjacking posts which capitalise on trending news and topics.
- Infographic posts which are highly visual and include in-depth statistics.
Writing Blog Posts
Once you’ve decided what you want to write about, it’s time to sit down and get to work. Firstly, don’t be put off if it takes you a while to get into the swing of things, the average blog post takes 3 hours and 57 minutes to write. Persevere, and you’ll find the number of new visitors to your site is well worth the time spent writing and promoting your new blog.
You’ll also find your blog posts fall into two categories. The first is topical, time-sensitive content which focuses on current trends and news appealing to your target demographic. The second is evergreen content addressing questions users have on a particular topic. Evergreen content can be marketed to users time and time again as they usually stay relevant for a reasonable amount of time, topical content while useful for tapping into current trends typically has a short shelf-life.
Try and work out what tone is right for your audience and adapt your writing style to match, it’s no use writing very technical and advanced articles if you’re posting for beginners with little to no knowledge of a subject. Consider asking friends and family for honest feedback on some of your posts and find out if they understand your article. They usually won’t have an intimate understanding of your business which will help them give honest feedback on your writing and ability to explain a subject.
Follow these tips to make your article easy to follow:
- Break up your article with headings, images and statistics. Most people skim through blog posts, so make things easy for them.
- Utilise free stock image sites such as freepik.com to add visual touches and great looking photos to your posts. Websites like this operate in exchange for simple attribution for using their images.
- Don’t be afraid of having a healthy mix of short (600 words), medium (1,500 words) and long (2,500+ words) articles.
- Whatever you do, resist the urge to copy articles or ‘borrow’ lines of text. Google will penalise you for plagiarism, plus it’s just NOT COOL!
Marketing Your Blog
- After you’ve written your blog post, it’s time to tell your customers, social media users and everyone else about it. You’ll have to put in a little legwork before people start coming back of their own accord to check for new posts, but again the reward is worth the effort.
- Make sure you advertise your blog posts on your website, it makes sense right? But you’d be surprised how many people make this mistake. Consider adding a blog section to your homepage and placing a prominent link to your blog within your navigation menu and in sidebars throughout your site.
- Post to the social media platforms used for your business and remember to include relevant #hashtags which will enable more people to find your content. Remember to adapt the frequency of posts to complement the platform you’re using.
- Remember to include a link and overview of your latest blog post within your company newsletter, whether it’s digital or printed. It will also save you time having to think of additional content to include in your mailing.
- Finally, make sure you include the basics of on-page SEO (search engine optimisation) within your blog post. At a minimum utilise META information, title tags and alt tags for your images. Post, refine, repeat, and before long with a little luck and the help from your friend Google, you’ll find your efforts start to pay off, and you should see a steady increase in traffic to your site.