Blogging is one of the most important things you can do to help your website attract more visitors. Blogs are important because two key factors for how search engines rank sites are the depth and freshness of content. Blogs allow you to expand the depth of knowledge your site contains, and posting over time ensures that you consistently have fresh (new) content online. We are often asked by clients what the best way to do this is. This guide is written to help small businesses get the most from blogs on their websites. Here are some of the most common questions new bloggers have, and their answers.
How often should I blog?
The quick answer is, “As often as possible.” The more you blog, the more content search engines will find, and the more likely your site is to appear in the top results for the topics about which you write. We have found that blogging one or twice a week is usually sufficient for the goals of most small businesses. It is important to balance your blogging efforts against the other demands for your time. Be sure to not abandon other initiatives in favor of blogging, and not abandon blogging in favor of other initiatives. You can set aside time to create many blog posts at once that you then schedule to post over time, so even if you are unable to schedule time to post every week, you can still have your posts appear online on a regular basis.
What topics should I discuss?
This is dependent on your business, but it’s best to discuss things that your customers and prospects will find interesting, more than those topics you find interesting. If you are a retailer, it’s great to discuss the products you sell. If you are a manufacturer, discuss the products you make, and if you are a service based business, discuss the services you provide.
Beyond these topics, however, is where the real value in your blog lies to your audience. Write about the use of the products you sell, produce, or support. Write about unique solutions they provide to common problems. When you write blog posts, try to use the terms that someone would type when looking for your solutions. This will help with search rankings. It is far more valuable to discuss the problem that your business solves than it is the solution that you offer.
How long should my blog posts be?
Again, this varies on your business and the type of blog post that it is. If it is a post describing a common problem that someone has, it should be long enough to make reading it worthwhile, but not so long that a visitor is presented with a “wall of text” when they arrive at the page. 3-4 paragraphs are usually sufficient for this type of post. If it is one that describes the solution in detail, then it may be a bit longer, since you have more information to convey. If it is a post that is just providing a quick thought on a subject, you can get away with 1-2 paragraphs. Write as much as is needed to get across the point you are trying to make, and no more.
What else should I have in my blog?
One thing that works very well is recaps/reviews of other online content. You can include a few sentences from another online article, provide a link back to the source, and write your thoughts on the topic discussed. These types of reviews/recaps are very effective, and often work well at inspiring others to provide some feedback. To be valuable, your comments on the article should be at least as long as the content you include as a quote.
Another effective type of blog content is video- you can use a cell phone or web cam these days to easily create a basic video that helps you provide a more dynamic type of content to your readers. Videos are great as product reviews, unboxing demonstrations of retail products, showing how something is manufactured, demonstrating problems your services solve, etc. Videos should be less than two minutes in length, and any content that appears in the video should also appear in text form in your blog post. This is because search engines can’t index your video, they can only index the text you provide, so make sure you have a text write up to accompany the video that contains all of the important ideas.
Lastly, it is important to have a call to action in your blog. This can be encouraging readers to share the post with others, asking them for feedback, encouraging them to sign up for e-mail updates, asking them to buy your product, etc. It is important that once you have provided your readers with some valuable information that they are then presented with a next step to take.
How do I get people to see my blog posts?
One of the best ways to promote your blog is to use it in conjunction with your other social media efforts. Luckily, there are two tools that are free to use that assist you with distributing your blog to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media profiles. You can use www.dlvr.it or www.twitterfeed.com to do this. After an initial setup process, every time you publish a blog post a copy will be sent to your social networks. This provides visibility to your blog, and an additional way for someone to provide feedback, since most persons are more likely to comment on a Facebook post or reply to a tweet than they are to comment on a blog.
We hope these tips help you with your blogging efforts. Please let us know if you need any assistance with setting or managing your own blog. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments.