Every business and brand that has a website should have a blog. But so many small businesses struggle to find the time to put together regular, high quality content and even if they did – they don’t have a clue what to write about. It’s a pretty normal scenario that leaves many business owners sceptical of starting their own blog.
But blogging is absolutely crucial to your business. What was once an option is now paramount to the success of your brand, with Hub Spot rating blogs as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information. Effectively boosting search visibility, leads and sales; creating a blog on your website gives your brand a powerful voice. Investing in a content publication strategy begins with an onsite blog, here’s a few tips to get you started.
1. If my website doesn’t have a blog, how do I get one?
After you have decided who will be responsible for getting blog posts published on your website and you have a content strategy in mind, you will need to get blog functionality set up on your website. Depending on the content management system (CMS – such as WordPress, Drupal etc.) your website is based on, and the level of access you have, setting up a blog can be as easy as creating a new page on your site at domian.com.au/blog and setting it up as a blog feed. However, if you do not have advanced knowledge of your CMS it’s probably better to leave this to the professionals. Get a quote from your website developer to set up a blog. If you have a modern and updated CMS it shouldn’t take them a huge amount of hours to do, so if the quote seems high always get another from a different competitor to compare.
2. Should it go on my website or a separate domain?
Hosting your blog on your business site is extremely important to reap the rewards. If you host your blog somewhere else (like on Blogger or WordPress), a lot of the benefits of business blogging are eliminated. If you use free blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger, any links back to your blog posts from people sharing your posts will only benefit those domains and not yours. The true benefits of blogging for business are only really achievable through a blog that’s hosted on your primary business domain for example, www.companyname.com/blog.
3. Should it be blog.domain.com or domain.com/blog?
Your developer may ask you if you want to set up the blog as a subfolder (domain.com/blog) or a subdomain (blog.domain.com). Whilst both options have benefits, for SEO benefits, social media sharing ease and Google Analytics tracking, a subfolder is the best way to go.
Subfolders are easily crawled by major search engines like Google within a few days after a new blog post goes up. Your blog page will automatically inherit the authority of the parent site, so rankings are boosted for your blog posts. Although subdomains can be technically easier for some setups, when your posts are shared and begin to build authority, they will only build authority for the subdomain, not your main business domain, so you would not be reaping the full benefits for your business and your rankings.
Backlinks and social mentions generated by the blog post content can help to boost the content on the rest of your domain too – a big benefit of business blogging you don’t want to miss.
4. How do I get buy-in from management?
By now, you’re probably fairly persuaded about the benefits of business blogging. But what about your CEO and board of directors if you’re a bigger corporation? How do you get them on board to invest the money into paying a developer to set up the blog and a copywriter to create the content?
According to Hub Spot, companies that use blogs receive a whopping 67% more leads than those who don’t. Blogging is the perfect tool for driving natural traffic to your website. Think about the ways potential customers can find your website – if they know your company name, they can search it – but that’s an audience you already have. You can run an AdWords campaign or you can blog.
A blog is the best to provide relevant, consistent and fresh content that your audience wants to read about. It’s the most updated page of your website and every time your write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page you have on your site. And every time a new page is indexed, Google is reminded that your website is active.
A business blog doesn’t just fuel SEO, it’s the core part of building a network, establishing relationships and a voice for your brand and provides an easy-to-use platform for connecting with and sharing relevant information with your customers. It creates free PR, a conversation with your readers, builds confidence with your brand, sharpens your business focus and helps to establish you as an industry leader. It’s a marketing investment every business should be putting into their budget.
5. Can I write about company news?
Yes! Whilst you don’t want to be blowing your own horn every single blog post, relevant updates within the company are definitely encouraged and can make for a great blog post. But bear in mind that blogging is a creative tool and best used to provide information that will benefit your customers and potential customers, rather than to write about your updates – so think outside the box when it comes to content ideas too. A content calendar will help to plan and create your blog posts.
Tap into what’s happening in the industry, follow blog styles – like how to lists or presentation posts and become a credible source of great information. Industry related blog posts allow you to establish yourself as a leader, but avoid spam and sales pitches or you will lose your audience very quickly.
6. Should I accept guest posts from SEO companies or other bloggers?
Guest posting can have some proven benefits when done properly. Providing that the website is relevant to your industry and is of a high authority site, providing blog posts for guest opportunities can be great for your business and brand.
Whilst there has been some debate about whether or not guest blogging is dead, guest blogging and SEO can still be effectively integrated. Accepting guest posts from high authority sites not only allows you to take a little break, but it can bring in new readers that you haven’t tapped into yet. Only use guest posts that are well written, appropriate for your readership and industry and original content. Check the links within the article to make sure they are not spammy and only providing useful information to your audience.
7. How long should the posts be?
According to Google, the juicier your content is the better. But you don’t want to waffle on too much either. Some people say 400-500 is best, other sites thrive on 2,000 word pieces and it all depends on the content you are writing and who you are writing for.
Your content needs to be comprehensive, but get to the point too. Personally, I find that aiming between 700-1,200 is a good place to start. But a blog post can be just as effective in 400-500 words, if that’s in line with the content you are producing.
About the author:
This article is written by Jayde Ferguson who writes for White Chalk Road – a specialised SEO and Online Marketing Company based Perth. You can catch Jayde on Google+ or LinkedIn to discuss this piece.