Let’s get something out of the way: there are a lot of websites out there. Every website is competing for attention between both the search engine algorithm and from potential visitors to the site. Blogging can be a great marketing tool to help win both of those competitions. A frequently updated, relevant, and high-quality blog can inform the search engine algorithm that your website deserves visitors and traffic. Frequently updated blogs can be a way to show the search engine algorithm that your website is being updated, even if the products or services that you are offering have remained static for some time.
Blogs can also help build reputation, credibility, and trust with readers which encourages them to buy your products.
How frequently should a new blog post be published?
Well, that depends on how much time and effort (and in some cases money) you can invest in a blog. During a guest spot on the Online Boutiquers Podcast, marketing specialist Jasmine Powers recommended that blogs be updated at least once a week—although, she did recommend updating the blog more frequently than that if possible. The key though, Powers points out, is consistency.
Those who are new to blog-based marketing strategies might be inclined to populate their blog with a ton of posts to have a lot of content for visitors to view when they visit, but this can be harmful to your blog and your business website. Primarily, this will make it difficult to examine the analytics regarding the blog and the posts on it to see what your visitors want to read about. Secondarily, the average blog reader is still searching online for an answer to a question; blogs are a way to provide longer, more in-depth answers, but most readers aren’t skimming through all of your blog posts like they would a newspaper.
Instead of posting a bunch of content all at once, it is best to post regularly and consistently. Set a schedule and maintain it—down to an exact time of day for publishing your posts if you can. This will inform search engines that your website is updated regularly, which will benefit your ranking in searches.
Additionally, readers can trust that your business is professional, consistent, and most importantly, still actually in business. If a business website’s blog hasn’t been updated since 2015, how likely are we to take the chance at purchasing something from their online store? Probably not very likely.
How do I write relevant blog posts for my business website?
Blogs offer a unique opportunity to create a more personal relationship with your customers. This can be especially important for businesses that sell products. Chances are, the product that you are selling is not the only one of its kind on the market. Blogs can humanize a business.
As an example of this, think about brick-and-mortar businesses that you frequent. Many of us, myself included, prefer if we can to shop at smaller, mom-and-pop type businesses. We might know the owners, or we might have some friendly banter with the employees. We know them, and we trust them for their advice on the products they are selling.
This type of relationship can be difficult to find in an online retail environment, but it can be built through blogging or similar marketing strategies for your online business.
On the search engine optimization side of the issue, blogs also allow you to cater to more specific and longer search terms. Kristen Hicks at hostgator.com used the example of a small business that sells camping supplies. This hypothetical business probably won’t get on the top results page for the search term “camping gear,” but if they have a blog post on “best gear for camping in cold weather,” they have a good chance of getting a higher ranking on that specific searched phrase.
So, what do we write about? Well, we don’t want to write about something that isn’t related to the products or services that we offer. For example, a website that sells specialized spices and herbs for cooking and baking probably doesn’t want to have a blog post about the health benefits of acupuncture. But we also don’t want our blogs to be too specific to the products that we are selling. No one wants to read a five-minute advertisement. Instead, we want to strike somewhere in the middle.
Relevant topics will entirely depend on the business that you have as well as the branding of your business. That makes it hard to offer concrete advice on what to write about, but here are some examples that can get you thinking about what to write for your business:
An online fashion boutique could write blogs on everyday fashion or seasonal fashion trends.
A landscaping company could write blogs reviewing different types of lawn care.
A technology business could write blogs outlining the different specifications of the latest products.
Here are some more general ways to find inspiration for blog posts:
What commonly asked questions do customers have regarding your services or products?
Are there any discussions, trends, or news happening in your field of business?
Do you have any new products or services that you are excited about or passionate about? Or are there any that you are not happy with or disappointed by?
How do I write High-Quality Blog Posts?
Once you get the content, tone, and branding of your blog posts to match your business, you also want to make sure that your blog posts are also readable. In our last blog post, we mentioned how long load times will make visitors leave a website, and here is another thing that can potentially drive visitors and readers away: if a blog post is hard to read due to either grammar, clarity, or organization, readers are likely to skip it for an easier to read the post. This can impact how search engines rank the website or blog in the search results.
Okay, but how do I actually write clearly with sufficient grammar and organization? Besides taking semester-long classes on writing and grammar, I recommend utilizing online services like Grammarly to review your writing before publishing. The free version of Grammarly can help with small issues like grammar, punctuation, and spelling, but the premium version can also help with clarity, tone, and repetitive sentence structures.
It’s also a good idea to have a real-life person look over what you have written before publishing as well. The added benefit of this is that actual readers might notice some things that a computer algorithm might miss.
If writing isn’t your thing, there are a bunch of other options that you can try that can also accomplish similar results as written blogs:
You could publish video blogs with transcripts of what you said. This is great for businesses that need to show their products or services rather than just having their audience read about them. The transcript attached to the video will allow the search engine to still easily find this type of blog post.
You could also publish regularly on social media sites like Instagram or Facebook, showcasing your products or services for visitors. This still helps with the online presence of your business, but it doesn’t always help with how frequently your website is updated, so keep that in mind.
An additional option if writing isn’t for you, but you really want a written blog, consider hiring someone to specifically write blogs for you. This could be contract work or even a full employee of your company. A more budget-friendly option is hiring an intern from the local university or college. Many English, Marketing, or Communications majors would jump at the opportunity to get experience through blog writing.
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