How to make your business blog a success
Did you know there are 265 million tips to make your business blog a success? Well, maybe not but if you Google “blog success tips” that the number of results you’ll get. So what do you do?
Even though I’m dedicating this month to writing about blogs, I will be completely honest and admit that I haven’t read them all ;-). But there are 10 tips I’ve distilled for you that you should know and I think will help you achieve success with your blog. They’re certainly the ones that are helping me.
You need a cunning plan – maybe not quite cunning but you do need a plan. It’s back to one of my favourite refrains of Market – Message – Media. You need to have a clear idea of who you’re writing for and what they’re looking for to create content that will be valuable to them. This, in turn, should drive a consistent flow of qualified leads to your site.
2. Make sure you have your own domain name and know your hosting
I’ve heard several horror stories recently of businesses who have lost their domain name and/or hosting and then their websites because they didn’t make sure the domain was registered in their name. Either their web designer or hosting company had gone out of business so their site just disappeared! One of my clients is currently wasting hours trying to track down who is hosting her domain as she wants to set up Google My Business and needs to verify her domain name. Frustrating is an understatement.
An easy way to check your domain ownership is to use Who.is as your starting point and search their database to look up domain and IP owner information.
3. Brand your blog design
Your blog needs to represent you and your brand and template websites definitely don’t rank highly in search engines. I love WordPress which I like to describe as the naked mannequin in a shop window which you then need to dress. You do this by choosing a Theme which creates your site’s appearance. A good theme will make the difference between a professional-looking site and one that isn’t. So start with a good theme and then add professional (or semi-professional) graphics. If you need help please do get in touch with me.
4. Pay attention to Search Engine Optimisation
While I absolutely support the view that you need to write your business blog for your ideal client, this doesn’t mean you should ignore or forget SEO. As I’ve previously posted, titles are one of the most important elements in your blog post, along with having high-quality backlinks from guest posting which you can learn more about in this video below which is full of helpful tips.
Once you’ve written your blog there are plugins to guide you to improve your SEO, the one I particularly like is WordPress SEO by Yoast which has clear guidelines and is easy to use.
5. Read other blogs
I may have become a little too addicted to reading other blogs at the moment but after all, it is all for the sake of research – well, most of the time anyway. It is genuinely a great way to see what works and what doesn’t and also of keeping up-to-date on your industry and competitors.
6. Leave comments on others’ blogs
This is something I’ve only come across recently courtesy of Jon Morrow at Copyblogger who is a huge fan of guest blogging and recommends leaving appropriate comments on other blogs to generate goodwill, build a relationship and attract attention. What you should not do is promote yourself within the comment as that’s seen as very poor form.
7. Engage with your community
When you do get a comment you should do your best to respond and either answer their question or address the issue they raise. After all, someone’s taken the time and trouble to connect with you and it’s a great way to build or reinforce a relationship. I also found that the responses to my earlier posts this month really helped me decide on the subjects for my future blogs.
8. Make it easy to subscribe
This is something I know I need to improve and get a better understanding of so, of course, it will become one of my future business blogs. Most platforms offer RSS feeds out of the box but again plug-ins, such as Feedblitz and Feedburner will come to your rescue and will offer you more control over your feeds. More to follow in a future post!
9. Take advantage of social media
A blog is part of your social media activity and you do want to broadcast your posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ as you feel is appropriate to where your ideal client hangs out. You want to encourage your readers to share your content and asking them to Share or Retweet can be an effective way of achieving this.
10. Commit to your blog
I will instantly confess to having been an inconsistent blogger. This 30-Day HubSpot Blog Challenge has certainly shown me the error of my ways. I’ve been both pleased and surprised by the difference this has made already.
Your business blog will take work and so you’ll have to find the time to fit it in. As you’ll see from the current timings on my posts, this is in the evening. I hope that I’ll be able to post earlier in the day next week. I have already said that the jury is still out for me on how often you need to blog. I’ll be taking a look at that at the end of this month.
That’s my official “Top Ten” for your business blog success!
By the way, did you spot that I followed my own advice from yesterday’s blog? I used Corey Eridon’s first paragraph template from The Foolproof Formula for Writing a Solid Blog Post to write my first paragraph.