Is blogging worth your time and effort, or is it just hype? You’ve heard your business needs a blog, but people tell you your business “needs” a lot of things.
Creating great content is expensive. Either you have to carve out time you’d be spending doing what you do to write posts yourself, or you pay someone else to do it. Does any of that spend ever go back in your pocket?
It depends. If your blog contains the information your customers are looking for, it’s completely unique and optimized for search engines, there’s a very good chance good things will happen. Great blog posts improve search engine ranking. They draw traffic. They better explain products and services to create delight. Excellent business blog posts move consumers along the sales funnel and prompt them to convert.
Posts that aren’t optimized won’t do any of that.
If you currently have a blog, check out the data on hand. Do your posts get traffic? When visitors click on your result, do they stay on the page long enough to read what your post contains? If you’re not getting any engagement, it might be time to reevaluate.
Common Business Blog Mistakes
If you’re a realtor, lawyer, doctor or builder, you’re busy doing what you’re good at. Most business owners have solid basic writing skills, but writing just isn’t what they do.
Unfortunately, creating a successful business blog takes more than just putting words on a page. Here are some of the common business blog mistakes that turn what could be a revenue-generating business blog into a waste of time and money.
Using big words and industry jargon – Unless you’re writing for other professionals in your field, keep it as simple as possible. If your customers had your degree, experience or background knowledge, they wouldn’t need to hire you. Write in plain English.
Not blogging consistently – You don’t have to post something every day. Depending on your industry and competition, you might not even need to blog every week. You do, however, need a plan for posting consistently. How often that is for you depends. If you want a more specific number, get in touch and we can help with that. Posting consistently helps collect leads and acquire customers. People come back when they know they can expect something new.
Not working from a plan – We believe in SMART goals for everything we do. Do your keyword research, then make a content calendar and stick to it.
Only writing short content – The posts that get to the top of search engine results pages are the most comprehensive, most authoritative and most relevant. That’s why they’re number one. Often that takes more words.
Obsessing over word count – Sometimes people look up ideal blog post length and read a number like 1500 words or so. They write to fill up the page with that many words. They’re thinking more about the word counter in the bottom corner than providing excellent content. Don’t be that guy. If you can provide the best, most comprehensive, most relevant information in 300 words, stop there.
Metrics That Signal A Problem
How will you know whether or not your business blog is doing what it’s supposed to? What data indicates your blog is building relationships, improving search engine ranking and generating a return on your investment? Here are several metrics you can use to evaluate business blog success.
Page Views – This is the number of times an individual visitor visited one page on your website. Notice posts with the highest number of page views. Users prefer this type of content.
Pages per view – Check out how many different pages visitors read. When they read one business blog post, do they like it enough to want more?
Visits/Returning visits – Over time, you should see an overall upward trend in traffic. Unique, new visitors are great, but hopefully, you also see people who enjoy your content enough to keep coming back for more.
Social media shares – Set up your business blog so readers can share directly from your page.
Bounce rate – This number indicates the visitors who clicked on your result, decided they were no longer interested and bounced away. High bounce rates indicate people don’t find what they’re looking for or don’t find your content engaging.
How to Optimize Your Business Blog
Most businesses are competing against others in their industry that are about the same size. That might just mean their geographic region. Your business blog posts have much greater competition. Every post ever written about your keywords gets indexed and included in search engine results. Here’s how to give your business blog the best chance of success.
Know Your Customers
At Spade Design, we do search engine optimization, web design, branding, social media marketing and everything else related to digital marketing. The people looking for us want those things. For our own content, we talk to our clients. We listen not just to what they want, but to their questions and the frustrations and needs behind them. We also look at data.
Spade Design literally serves clients from all over the world, with thousands of people who regularly read our content. We look at trends to find out where they’re coming for and how they find us. We uncover what they type into search that leads them to our results. Their behavior patterns before, during and after accessing our blog posts provide insight that helps create even better content.
Creating a successful business blog starts by knowing your own customers. Record what you know now, then talk to them to find out more. Seek to gather information on their background, education level, communication preferences, goals and challenges. Even if you don’t have a blog currently, look at your website data to discern what are your most popular pages and engaging topics.
Put all that information together. Picture one person who embodies all the traits and characteristics of your audience.
Once you get to know them, ask what they want from your business. At Spade Design, we have team members who know about a lot of topics. We could talk about dogs, travel, good scotch, personal growth or a lot of other things. But that’s not what our clients are looking for when they visit our site.
They want to know about web design, branding, social media marketing and search engine optimization that gets results. So that’s what we provide.
Identify Your Keywords
What words does your audience Google when they’re looking for your products and services? Those are your keywords. We talk more about what they are and how to find them in our article, What the Heck Does it Mean to Optimize for Keywords? For each blog post, pick one or two long tail keywords.
Be specific. The more general you are, the harder it will be to get the results you’re looking for. For example, this post is about blogging. However, if we choose “blog” as our keyword, there’s too much competition.
Let’s say you manufacture supplies for beekeepers. One of your most popular products is your line of hand-painted beehives. Customers ask a lot of questions about them.
After researching, you choose the keyword custom Langstroth beehives and set out to create the best possible blog post for that keyword. It’s specific and unique, which boosts your chance of success. Only people familiar with beekeeping would know what a Langstroth beehive is. People on a tight budget might still read your blog, but using the word “custom” lets people know your product is more high end.
Write Relevant Content
Provide users with the best possible information on your topic. Make it as long as it needs to be to completely cover the topic. For now, don’t worry about search engines. Picture that one person who represents your consumers and write just for them. With the above example, you’re thinking of one beekeeper who loves their bees, wants the best for them and will spend whatever it takes.
Some people start with notes or an outline, others just start writing and refine later.
Solve your audience’s problem. Meet their need. Offer value for their time.
Make your content readable by breaking it up into sections. Sections can be anywhere from two sentences up to 300 words in length. Break sections up with headers.
Use approachable language. If you need to use jargon, include a brief explanation of what it means. Unless you’re writing for other professionals, aim for web text a teenager could understand.
Include Keywords in These Places
Use your keywords and their synonyms in these places:
Your blog title
The page URL
The H1 header
The article itself
image alt tags
your meta description
Let’s use the beehive article as an example. That business owner might title their post, “Custom Langstroth Beehives – What You’ve Been Missing” Their headers might be things like, “Energy Efficiency of Custom Langstroth Beehives” and “Features of Custom Langstroth Beehives.” They sprinkle that phrase throughout their article and it seems natural, because that’s what their post is really about.
They include an image of several of the hives they sell and tag it “Custom Langstroth Beehives.” They use the phrase in their meta description. It all goes together.
Search engines easily identify what that page is about. When people search for related words, they read that compelling title and meta description, so they click. On the page, they find the information and images they’re looking for. Search engines take note and display the post to the next person who searches for related terms.
Think Mobile Friendly
Right now more than 63 percent of people using the Internet access it on mobile. Picture your target persona typing search terms into their cell phone with their thumbs or speaking it while driving. Then recognize a large portion of them will be reading it on a tiny screen.
Make sure your website and blog is mobile friendly. Use easy-to-read text, big buttons and calls to action that are easy to follow on any device.
Link your post to others that are related. Also, link to outside sources with high authority. That helps search engines see what topics are most important to your business, increases the amount of time visitors spend browsing and provides additional, helpful information.
Call Them to Action
Don’t just write your article. Make it clear what readers should do next. Spell it out with phrases like, “sign up for our newsletter,” or “buy custom Langstroth beehives now.” Give them a link so they can do what you’re asking of them.