Blogging. No doubt you’re familiar with the term.
Whether you’re a new business, have an older existing website or are in the process of setting up a new website, setting up a blog can be a great way to aid with your websites Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Brand awareness.
In this post, we’ll run through the fundamentals of blogging, starting with what a blog is, how it benefits your website & finally we’ll touch on how to get started with it all. Ready? So let’s go.
What is a blog?
If you’re not aware, a blog is a part of your website which is used to inform others, usually about something your business has plenty of experience in.
Blogs tend to come in the format of blog posts or articles. They generally cover a single topic or query (much like this post here for instance), and can range from anywhere between 200 – 2000 + words. Blogs also contain images, videos, infographics and other media.
When looking on the main blog page, its common for you to see the latest posts first however posts can also be arranged into categories which makes life easier for those on your site who are looking for a specific topic.
Chances are, you’ve come across many blog posts online – they usually fir into one of the following brackets;
List-based blog posts – List based posts tend to do quite well as they are informative and direct. Think of something along the lines of “the 10 best dog walks in oxfordshire” or “top 10 things to do in oxford“. These posts usually require a fair amount of research/work however tend to resonate well with readers.
The “ahead of the curve” latest news post – As suggested in the name, you need to be ahead of the curve with this type of post. The idea behind it is to get in on the act before a large topic goes crazy. A good example would be if we use Covid-19, an e-commerce company for instance, who happen to sell hand-sanitiser, might’ve (with enough foresight) put a detailed post together on the best way to wash your hands.
Looking back on Google trends we can see that this specific search peaked in March 2020 – hence the needed foresight. Should this example business of ours had capitalised on this trend and ranked highly on the SERPS (Search Engine Results Page), the idea is that they would have seen a large spike in organic traffic, likely by people who were concerned at the time with covid-19 and as a bi-product of this, would’ve have seen an increase in sales (the hand-sanitizer).
This is a pretty basic way of looking at it, however, you get the idea.
The “how to” posts – These types of posts are great. Given that every business should be an expert in their field, these types of posts are fairly easy to put together (less research as you have the knowledge) & provide great value to the reader while demonstrating just how knowledgeable you are.
The pillar page post – Pillar posts, as the name suggest, are posts of a fundamental topic (a pillar). They will usually be longer than other posts and have often come in the form of “ultimate guides” or whatnot. An example of this might be if we did a post for example, covering Digital marketing for small business as a whole. From this pillar post you could expect links to others posts covering Local SEO, Web Design & Conversion rate optimisation in greater detail.
To put blogging into layman’s terms, a blog is essentially a way to add additional value to your existing & prospective customers which in turn, benefits your websites online presence (which we’ll come onto now).
Benefits of blogging for small business’
As we’ve covered already, blog posts are a way for your business to publish more in-depth insights, thoughts, and stories about any topic relevant to your industry or your company itself. Your blog can help boost brand awareness, credibility, conversions and sales, as well as driving traffic to your website.
If you’ve ever had a discussion with anyone within the digital marketing industry they’ve no doubt mentioned a blog to you. Clients we’ve worked with, specifically those who are in the trades, typically don’t see the benefit of a blog – and that makes sense. How is writing a post about something going to bring me paying customers?
Having a well functioning website (and blog) is a little more complicated than that though. Blogs are a fantastic way, when used wisely, to bring potential customers to your site, via Search engine optimisation or by tying in with your social media strategy to again demonstrate your expertise.
We gave the example above with the imaginary hand-sanitizer company to demonstrate how a blog can help with SEO. Coming onto “aiding your social media campaign” when you use your industrys knowledge to write an informative, engaging and overall useful blog post, a few things happen.
1 – You build trust with your audience (a sneak peak into who they’re buying or requesting a quote from)
2 – You present yourself as the subject matter expert
3 – You increase your brands awareness
All these points are particularly important and can help especially, if your business is still new and not yet very well known within the area.
In addition to the benefits above, with more (good quality) blog posts come backlinks, or at least the possibility of gaining more. As we touched on in another post here, other websites are more likely to link to a blog post on your site rather than, say, a service or product page. If you’re a service based business, gaining these all important backlinks from other high authority websites is an effective way to increase your service pages SERPS ranking – provided that the SEO fundamentals & interlinking are taken care of of course.
Hopefully, I’ve explained this well enough for you to understand why Digital Marketers are always harping on about the importance of a blog for a company’s website. So let’s come onto how to actually write a blog post.
Starting a small business blog
How to write a blog post
Before writing your post, you need to make sure that it’s going to be useful for people. There are a couple of good ways to go about this, Keyword research or using a tool like google trends, will give you a good idea of what people are searching for online and the problems they’re facing.
In addition, if you have existing customers who could benefit with having a resource to reference, by all means pick their brains, establish their problems and use that as a topic to cover on your blog.
Once you know what you are going to write about, it’s important to understand those who will be reading your post. Are they other business owners who appreciate a straightforward, informative approach? Or are they IT geeks who love going into every little detail? Knowing your audience is key as this will determine the language used and how your content is written.
It’s worth bearing in mind that your blog post need not only answer questions and resolve problems, it also needs to be interesting.
A good introduction, decent layout (plenty of white space) & relatable language all help in keeping readers interested. This said, it’s important to remember that your post will reflect on your company so, although you may be using more informal language, spelling and grammar should be of a high standard.
It’s worth having a second set of eyes (someone else) proof read your post before publishing it.
Setting up your business blog
Most blogs will be a part of your existing website, so all that you’ll need is an additional page. For ourselves for example we have https://akoca-seo.co.uk/insights. If you’re setting up and don’t have a website at all, you’ll need to get one up and running beforehand and that’s a topic for another time.
In regards to creating your blog page, this should be a reflection of your business and match the appearance/style of the rest of your site. If we have made your website for you, then this will already have been taken care of, we’ve sent a link to some video instructions on how to post so feel free to skip ahead.
Writing your first business blog post
Writing your first post can be difficult, in an ideal world, it’d be good to establish some credibility before coming out with instructional posts i.e – the “how to” types we covered earlier. That being said, if you’re an established business, there’s no reason why you can’t include a brief video to go along with your post, detailing your credentials.
It’s good to keep all posts related closely to your business, industry and knowledge all whilst meeting the needs of your readers.
In terms of thinking about the best topic for your first post, here are a couple of ideas, this said, if you have a team it may be worth putting your heads together to come up with a decent topic!
A good success story or case study could be a great first post, especially if you’re looking to share to your social media audience. Failing that, list posts can be a good starting point. To give you an example if you are a plumber, you could go with something along the lines of “7 ways to save money on your water bill”. If you want to introduce your business/blog, a good backstory could do you well, this said, try to avoid the default “hello world” introduction seen below.
When it comes to the title, your post should be relevant & contain keywords aswell as “power words”. If you’re using wordpress, a plugin like Rank Math can help with this.
Once you’ve reached this stage, you’re ready to write the post itself. The start of any good blog post is a decent introduction, if it’s boring you’re likely to lose the interest of your readers quite promptly resulting in an increase in your websites bounce rate.
The introduction should hook the reader, draw them in and set up the post.
When it comes to the meat of the posts, as we touched on, we’d suggest using plenty of white space between text. You want to avoid overloading with vast quantities of text as much as possible and break everything into smaller chunks. We’d suggest using bullet points, headings & subheadings, photos, info-graphics & text indents etc to avoid the information overload.
In respect to ending the post, ensure you’ve cited any references and that you have included a Call To Action (CTA) on your post. For instance, if you’ve just put the “7 ways to save money on your water bill” post out, it might be worth popping a small paragraph together at the bottom of the post with a contact form (CTA) – something simple like, if you’re too busy to carry out these steps, book a service of your home water system with us today.
Blogging and SEO
As we’ve touched on, one of the main benefits of starting a business blog is the benefit it will have in your websites organic rankings on the SERPS. When you’re first getting started, it will likely take a while, depending on your industry/niche, before you start seeing your posts up the top. This being said, it’s important to ensure that your website and your posts are Search Engine Optimised from the get go.
As of earlier this year (2021), a big part of how search engines like Google establish how well your site ranks is with the websites page speed. There are some best practices when it comes to SEO, more for another time, but ensuring your website is functioning as it should be is the first step (technical SEO).
Keyword research, again as we touched on, is an important phase to writing any post. Once you’ve established what Keywords you’re going to use, running them through a site like answer the public is a great way to bring up phrases people are actually searching for (search terms).
Within the post, you should look to answer questions presented, include some of the questions perhaps in headings or sub-headings, however it is more important that the content sounds natural as though it has been written by a human rather than a robot. To that end, avoid spamming keywords.
In summary, we’ve covered what a blog is, the benefits of blogging and how to start a business blog.
Having read this, you’re ready to write your own post – be sure not to forget to share to your social media channels once you’ve hit publish!
Hopefully you’ve learned something by reading this post, namely as to how blogging fits into the bigger Digital Marketing picture.
If you haven’t yet started with your websites blog, do consider starting one. Done well, blogging can be a great tool in the marketing arsenal, but done poorly, it can be a total waste of time – or worse, have a negative effect.
Common excuses we tend to hear from companies who haven’t got a blog are – a lack of time, lack of topics, not being great at writing. If that’s the case, consider delegating this to somebody in the company who would be capable of handling the task. If that’s not possible, perhaps consider a freelancer or alternatively you can reach out to us and we’ll be happy to have a discussion of your options.