What Is A Blog?
A blog is a powerful tool, essential for a healthy website. Nearly every internet marketing professional and even Google says you should be blogging.
However, it can be detrimental if it’s randomly updated, poorly written, and only pushes product. It’s a human touch and a relationship-building tool. Cultivate it, and it could yield good results.
Here’s a blogging guide to help any business professional create and sustain a rewarding blog.
First, Blogging Does 3 Things For You:
- Provides new and fresh content to attract readers.
- Demonstrates your topical expertise to help turn those readers into prospects.
- Increases your site’s relevancy to search engines, positively impacting your positioning in search engine results.
Create Your Blog
This article assumes your site has a built-in blog. If it doesn’t, ask your webmaster to add one and show you how to use it.
It’s very important to make sure the blog is part of your site. If it’s not, it loses its SEO advantages and splits readership between your blog and your site.
Choose Your Topic
Before you start your blog, pick a topic and try to be specific.
For example, “real estate” is a massive topic with myriad niches. Choosing a niche like “property value” narrows your focus and tells readers what they can expect to read about. Do the same with your industry.
To help you get ideas, search out other blogs in your industry and note what and how they blog.
What Do I Blog About?
Once you choose your topic, blog about topics relevant to what you do and what interests your market. Here are some ideas:
- Your unique insights into a particular topic.
- Investigate what you want to know more about and blog about those.
- Controversial or timely posts about a current hot topic.
- Lists – they’re easy to scan and often touch on real-life examples.
- Useful resources or tools for readers (like this blog guide).
- Questions and Answers.
- Case studies.
- Compare different products, services, businesses, brands, solutions, etc.
- Video posts.
Think your niche is too boring for an interesting blog? Think again. This excellent article shows how some “boring” companies are making very interesting content.
How Do I Write A Blog?
Write to satisfy readers. Here’s how:
- Write punchy, useful articles formatted for easy scanning that answers readers’ #1 question: “What’s in it for me?”
- Put section headers in bold to attract the eye.
- Don’t push products or services. When you do talk about yourself, make sure it applies to readers.
- Give readers take-away value.
- Avoid jargon unless you’re writing to others in your industry. Otherwise, outsiders won’t know what you’re talking about.
- Encourage audience interaction by asking for their input and engaging them in the comment section.
- Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck. Nothing undermines credibility like typos. Use spellcheck to catch misspellings. If you often leave words out or use wrong words (ex. – there, they’re, their), ask someone to proof your articles before publishing them.
Writing regular entries is the hardest part of blogging.
If possible, write several articles at once. That way, when you don’t have time to update the blog, you can pull from your archive and keep the blog consistent.
We recommend writing at least once a week. However, if you’re just starting out, set a realistic goal of once a month or once every two weeks. If you post every week and then skip a couple, it’ll undermine your credibility.
Headlines are easily the most important part of your blog (and the hardest part to write). If you can’t catch someone’s attention with the title, they’re not going to read the article. Catchy and descriptive is better than cutesy and vague.
Your title should be informative and catchy. If your post is about how property location can impact quality of life, title it something catchy like, “5 Property Locations That Will Damage Your Health.”
Make sure to optimize your blog article and title with the keywords you want to rank for.
If you want to target new keywords that aren’t in your website, you can do so with blog articles because search engines treat blog articles like additional site pages.
List the new keywords you want to rank for and write a blog article for each one.
Or, if you have something you want to blog about, research the topic’s keywords to find the most popular keywords to integrate into your article.
To check the popularity of keywords, use the Google AdWords Keyword tool. Enter your keywords in the search box, enter the verification characters and click “search.”
Here’s how to use keywords in your blog articles:
- Use the keywords that are most relevant and get the highest traffic.
- For best results, target 1-2 keywords per post and no more than 4.
- Use the most relevant and highest traffic keyword in your blog title.
- Use the second most relevant and high traffic keyword in your sub-title.
- Use all of the keywords a couple times conversationally in the blog.
- DO NOT stuff your articles with keywords. Search engines hate this and will demote your site if they catch you.
Optimize Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
If your website has a content management system (CMS), you will be able to customize each article’s title tag and meta description. These are very important.
A title tag is the text at the top of the browser window. Make your title tag the same as your blog article title. It tells search engines what this page is about, influencing how it’s indexed and shown in search results. For best results, limit your title tag to 70 characters or less (including spaces).
Your “meta description” is the description search engines display next to the link in search results. Here’s an example:
It is very important to make this description interesting and encourage people to read more. To ensure that search engines don’t cut off the description, keep it at 160 characters long, including spaces.
If you link to other sites or to other pages or articles in your own site, make sure you select the option to open the link in a new window/tab. Otherwise, people will click away from your article.
To avoid link-heavy articles, only link the first occurrence of the word or term.
For example, if I wrote an article in which I reference an article by CNN.com, I only have to link to the article once even though I may reference it several more times.
Before You Publish, PREVIEW
When your blog is ready, you should have the option to preview it. Do so. Then read through the article, making sure everything is right and click all the links to make sure they work.
When it’s ready, publish it! Now you can promote it.
Promoting Your Blog
Every time you add a new article, promote it by posting it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and any other of your social networking sites or forums.
Here are other ways to promote your blog:
- Put it in your site’s main navigation or obviously link to it on every page.
- Link to it in your e-newsletter.
- Link to it in your email signature.
- Add the link to your business card.
- Become a guest blogger on a more recognized blog in order to boost your visibility.
Now that you know how to write, optimize, promote and maintain your blog, start blogging today.
If you need help, we offer turnkey blog writing services. We can write as many articles as you need and even manage your blog for you. For more information, email us or call us at (920) 560-2471.