Many businesses today wonder if they should dip their toes into the blogging waters or if their energy is better spent on other marketing strategies.
There really is no better way to increase traffic to your site, improve your SEO, and convert customers than through a well-crafted blog.
In this informative ebook, you’ll learn how blogging is good for your business, how to optimize your blog for better readership, develop reader personas, plan for keywords and SEO, and get more subscribers.
Whatever your business is, blogging can be an integral part of your content marketing strategy.
In early 1993, the first blog was started by Rob Palmer. He started the blog for a communications company he’d been hired by in London.
That first blog was only text. There were no graphics and the formatting wasn’t great, but it did help spread ideas that the communications company wanted to express.
It wasn’t until 1994 when an adventurous 19-year-old named Justin Hall began sharing all the details of his personal life on his website that the personal blog was created.
The actual term blog didn’t come about until about 1997. The word blog is actually short for weblog; prior to that, they were called online journals or online diaries.
Fast forward to today and you’ll find that most businesses, and even a lot of people have their own blogs. Today, blogs generate millions and millions of dollars in revenue. For many people, blogging is their full-time job. Businesses use blogs for things like thought leadership and reporting on industry trends.
There are so many different types of blogs happening out there today. People start them for a myriad of reasons and they serve many different purposes.
Having a blog for your business is a marketing tool to get you more online visibility. It’s a channel, like social media or email marketing, that supports the growth of your business.
Here are just some of the benefits of blogging:
Driving traffic to your website
Blog content can be shared on social media
Convert traffic into warm leads
Become an industry thought leader
Helps with link building
Is passive marketing
The other type of blogs out there are personal blogs. Personal blogs have exploded in recent years with the development of more ways to monetize them through ads and affiliate marketing.
Personal blogs are easy and inexpensive to start but, much like business blogs, generating traffic is the name of the game. If there’s no traffic, there’s no one to click on the ads or affiliate links and there is no profit.
You can have many blogging goals. You may be trying to drive more traffic to your site, get more subscribers, or build your email list. Whatever you’re trying to get out of your blog, it all starts with having content they want to read.
If you want to grow your blog, you have to know who your target audience is. Once you know this, it’s much easier to create the content that your potential customers want to read.
Blog audiences are composed of reader personas. These are fictional, generalized depictions of your ideal readers whom you want to convert to customers.
You can develop reader personas using market research and the experience you have with your actual reader base.
Here are some approaches for assembling the information you need to develop your own reader personas:
Interview current readers
Follow the data
Use form fields to gather information
Once you have your personas in place, you can use them to guide every part of your blog content creation process. If you want to drive more organic traffic to your blog, you’ll have to write about things that your target audience is looking for.
You should write your content based on what they’re searching for so your blog post will come up on their search engine results page.
Let’s break this process down into actionable steps:
Create a list of content and keywords. Once you have a good list of topics you can work with, work on creating a list of keywords within that topic. Keywords are what people type into search engines to look for whatever topics they’re trying to get information about.
Not all blog content has to be in the form of the written word. Try experimenting with different types of content and see what your audience prefers. Pay attention to post views, shares, comments, and the amount of time spent on the page.
Develop your brand voice. All successful brands have their own personality that is communicated through content. Having a brand voice is important because people are drawn to brands they can relate to.
The first step in getting more traffic to your posts is to optimize the structure of your blog posts.
Use short URLs that contain the primary keyword
Create an engaging title
Use section headers to make skimming easier
Create a hyperlinked table of contents
Use a responsive design
The next part of your optimization process will be to optimize your content.
Include target keywords
Learn the art of copywriting
Break up text with shorter paragraphs
Include some internal links
Input alt-text for images
Once you’ve optimized your content as far as the copy and images, you can optimize for engagement.
Include share buttons right on the post
Let readers comment
Strategically use CTAs
The key to having a successful blog is email subscribers. Once they hit the subscribe button, they have offered their email address to you and have become a captive audience to all of your marketing efforts.
Let’s explore some ways you can entice your readers to become subscribers.
Opt-in forms allow readers to receive something from you. In this case, you would like for them to subscribe to your blog. You provide them an opt-in form which basically says, I like this blog and I’d like to receive it in my email or receive a notification that you’ve published new content.
Opt-in forms can be placed virtually anywhere on your website. Here are some popular suggestions:
The main blog page or the home page
The bottom or sidebar of each actual post is another terrific place
The About page of your website is also good
A pop-up or slide-in form is also a great idea
Opt-ins will also keep you out of trouble. There are laws pertaining to email marketing, and the top one is having permission to send emails to a person by getting them to opt-in.
A landing page is a web page that a visitor lands on that serves a certain purpose. Generally, a lead might hit a landing page after they’ve clicked on a CTA from your blog or social media.
On the landing page, they might enter their information in order to take advantage of your lead magnet or subscribe to your blog.
Another way to get readers to subscribe is when they are reading the content. A strategically placed CTA within your content that leads to a subscription landing page is a great way to get subscribers. A natural and well-crafted CTA will nudge readers in the right direction without being pushy.
Growing your blog readership and subscribers is a continual process, and as you get further into it, you’ll develop new and better ways of driving traffic to your blog.
Let’s dive into some proven ways to promote your blog.
Put links to your blog everywhere. Your website homepage should have a link as well as the signature for your email. These are subtle but powerful ways to put your blog information out there to be shared with new readers.
Every time you create content for your blog, share it on social media channels. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great channels for sharing blog content.
You can also post your content on public forums. Reddit, Quora, and Medium can be great places to contribute content and expertise you may have. Answer questions and make comments on articles and information relevant to your blog.
By creating content for other, more well-known blogs, you can introduce yourself to a new audience. This is called “Guest Blogging”. When readers enjoy your content, they may travel to your blog to find more.
Influencer marketing can work just as well for blogging as it does for social media. Find an influencer with whom you share an audience and ask them to share your content with their followers.