Having an active blog on your company’s website can make a big impact on your business. Blogging provides shareable social media content, allows you to point to lead gen forms, positions you as a thought leader in your industry, and helps you rank higher and improve your site’s SEO.
Blogging is so effective that according to a study done by HubSpot, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5x more leads than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. Check out the steps below to get started.
Choose a Host & Platform
Chances are if you already have a website, there’s a blog feature you’re not using. If you’re just starting out, I recommend using WordPress for your website/blog. It’s user-friendly, cost-effective and easy to set up. No matter what you choose, make sure to do your research. Changing platforms with an existing website in the future can be a pain.
I would also recommend hiring a professional designer to build your website. (Nobody likes a Frankenstein website!)
Here are some of my favorite WordPress hosts:*
- WP Engine
WP Engine is the best platform for WordPress hosting. It’s wicked fast, has great customer service, staging capabilities, automated SSL certificates and a bunch of other great add-ons. Cons? It’s a little pricey (but so worth it if you’re thinking longterm). Click the link above and save 20% on your order.
GreenGeeks comes in second because it offers easy setup at a great price AND is environmentally friendly. Click the link above and get a free domain, 1-click WordPress install, and web hosting for $3.95 a month.
- Blue Host
Blue Host is probably the most well known if you’ve been researching WordPress hosting. They also easy setup and great customer service. Click the link above and get a free domain, 1-click WordPress install, and web hosting for $3.95 a month.
Get to Know Your Audience
Before you start to write your first blog post, it’s important to know who you’re writing for. Getting to know your audience is one of the first steps towards a successful content strategy. That way, you can write content that speaks directly to them instead of taking a shot in the dark.
One of the easiest ways to gather this information is by sending out a customer survey via email. SurveyMonkey and Google Forms are great free tools that allow you to easily collect responses and export them into a spreadsheet.
Brainstorm Article Topics
Brainstorming ideas for blog posts is no easy task. Especially if your goal is to write content that people actually want to read (which it should be). Your content should be educational, entertaining, and
So how do you come up with article topics that keep them coming back for more?
Try these five brainstorming techniques:
- Join social media groups that cater to your audience and listen in
- Engage your social media followers with an online poll
- Look at what your competitors are writing about and fill in the gaps (and do it better)
- Use websites like Quora to see what people are asking about online
If you sent out a customer survey, use your response data. That stuff is marketing gold! 🏆
Do Keyword Research
Understanding keywords and SEO is a beast of its own. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll give you a quick overview.
Keywords are what search engines use to validate your content. Using the right keywords helps you move up in search engine rank, but it’s not as simple as just stuffing keywords into your posts and clicking publish.
In fact, keyword stuffing is a big no-no.
Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords
To properly optimize your blog, it’s important to know the difference between long tail and short tail keywords.
Here’s a quick overview:
- Long tail keywords: Longer search phrases that help you reach a narrow, more qualified audience. By being specific, you’re targeting your posts to your audience and cutting out the fluff.
- Short tail keywords: Shorter, broad search phrases that receive more traffic, however that traffic is less qualified and less likely to purchase. Plus, by using short tail keywords you’re more likely to compete with brands that have a much higher rank than you.
For example, here’s how I would decipher my keywords for this blog post:
- Long tail keywords: how to create a blog for a small business, setting up a blog for a small business, small business blogging
- Versus short tail keywords like: how to set up a blog, starting a blog, business blog, blogging
By using the long tail examples above, my potential for traffic volume might be lower, but the amount of qualified traffic will be higher. People searching how to set up a blog or, blogging, probably aren’t my target audience. So even if they land on my site, they’re not the people I’m interested in talking to.
There are a lot of tools out there that can help you find the right keyword(s) for your content. Start with the Keyword Explorer by Moz, it allows you to explore keywords in relation to your audience and/or competitors.
Don’t use the same keyword for every post. You should be using unique keywords and phrases to diversify your content.
A lot of people skip this step, but it’s essential if you’re trying to increase your organic traffic and rank.
Write Your First Blog Post & Hit Publish
Now that you’re all set up and know who you’re writing for, it’s time to actually start writing. The point of your blog is to provide a resource to your readers, not to just talk about your product or service.
The goal is to educate your readers so that they learn to trust your business and keep coming back for more content. That trust and assurance will help push them in the right direction when it comes to deciding whether or not they should buy your product or service. Make sure to end each article with a strong CTA (Call-to-Action).
Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
Once you start generating valuable content, your blog should be increasing your organic search results and therefore positively impacting your amount of leads. How do track your progress? First, make sure your site is connected to Google Analytics.
This is one of my favorite tools and is essential to any business. Google Analytics gives you insight on just about everything when it comes to website traffic including demographics, user acquisition, website referrals, top pages and real-time website users. If you don’t have it set up, do it right now.
Once you’re all set up and your traffic starts to trickle in, pay attention to what your customers are doing on your website. Are they looking at one article more than the others? What is the topic of that article and how can you create more content like it? Do you have a lead generator on that page?
Google Analytics helps you answer my favorite question: how can I create an exceptional experience for my audience?
What’s the Point?
Having a successful blog for your business takes work, but it’ll pay off in the long run. Blogs help your business establish credibility, gain the trust of potential customers, educate them on new products and product benefits and give them an inside look into your company culture. Having an active blog is one of the first steps to nurturing prospective clients into customers who keep coming back for more.
*This post includes affiliate links, which means I will get a commission if you purchase through that link. Every product recommend has been vetted and I stand behind 100%. If you have a problem with one of these companies once you have made your purchase, please let me know and I will consider removing them from my website.