What’s the big deal about blogging?

If you’ve already had a browse through some of the other feature blogs for how to succeed with your digital marketing strategy, you may have read our post on the importance of creating quality content for SEO. While content can be as simple as the way in which you write the product descriptions you are selling or the description you use on your introductory page about your business, a blog is one of the chief features that you may be using (or thinking of using) to add content.

Not all websites out there make use of blogging to assist their digital marketing, but it can be a very effective means of improving your SERPs, or Search Engine Ranking Position.  Blogging has rapidly become a popular medium not only for business owners with websites looking to increase their online visibility, but also to anyone out there with something to say to the world. However, it can be very easy to overlook the possibilities to optimise your rankings and gain followers. Here, we’ll look at the main ways that you can make the most out of your blog – or inspire you to start one!

One of the first steps you need to take if you are embarking into the world of blogging is to buy your domain name. If you already have a unique website domain and are simply adding a blog to your existing website this doesn’t apply, but for anyone out there starting fresh it is critical. Buying your own domain lets people know that you are serious about your blog/business and sets you up as a more reliable and professional source. While the numerous blogging sites out there are very useful and a great way to get yourself started, having a domain name ending in ‘.wordpress.com’ or ‘.blogger.com’ means that you’re unlikely to be seen as particularly authentic.

There’s also the theme you choose (again, more significant for those starting a blog as the main component of their business rather than established website owners branching out with a blog) that makes a big difference to the usability of your site. There are a multitude of styles out there to choose from, be it themes that are offered for free or those coming with a price tag, but you need to think about how these choices will affect your page loading times. If you end up choosing something with a lot going on you’re likely to start experiencing slower loading times, which could ultimately end up losing you valuable traffic.

When you’ve got the nitty-gritty formatting tasks done, it’s time to think about what it is that you have to say on your blog. This ties in with what was said previously about writing great content – the quality of your writing, the originality and relevance of your post should be the top 3 things you look for in each blog you publish. Bear your target audience in mind and spend some time researching and thinking about new ways that you can approach your most-talked-about subjects. Inspire people to look at something in a new way, or give them an insight that goes beyond what’s already available out there. Let’s face it, on WordPress alone there are 48.7 million new blog posts every month (and growing!), so there’s a lot of competition out there – but by coming up with a unique vision about your business area you’ll set yourself fields apart from everyone else.

As is true of anything related to digital marketing, we’ve got to talk about keywords here. You know the drill: overuse of keywords = penalties from search engines. It’s all about moderation and implementing them where they can be most effective. Your best bet is going to be to use them in your blog’s title, and then space them out throughout the rest of your content without going overboard. If it flows naturally with what you’re saying then you aren’t likely to come up with any issues. You’ll be able to tell when proofreading if you’ve gone on a bit of a keyword spree – look for repetition or clunky sentences as the signals that you may have tried to slip them in where they aren’t needed.

Nowadays, with blogs becoming much more common, it’s not just about writing content. Maybe the written word isn’t where your skills lie, but you want to add another dimension to your business to expand your reach and give it an edge – this is where your other options come in. There are so many different channels at our disposal with which to explore new ways of getting things across to our users, and the possibilities of blogging really open these up to website owners. In addition to the more traditional blog format, you may want to expand into video blogs (vlogging) or podcasts. Google and other search engines are always on the lookout for websites that reach into new and exciting avenues to reach their consumers, so it wouldn’t do any harm to think about how you can make yourself stand out from the crowd.

One of the big things about the blogging world is that it is very much a community, which you should aim to get involved with if you want to spread the word about your own site. Pretty much everywhere you look you’ll see that one of the biggest tips about making your blog succeed is to communicate with other bloggers in your field. By creating these relationships you are much more likely to be promoted by others in your area, which is going to be great for optimising your site potential. This ties in with the importance of keeping your social media accounts active, and making sure that any posts you publish are easy to share for maximum coverage.

In addition to reposting any new blogs on whichever social platforms you take advantage of, you need to make sure you have the appropriate ‘buttons’ installed on the blog itself so that people finding your blog organically can easily share your page. If you have a website that runs alongside your blog, when you write about something that is connected specifically to what your business has to offer make sure you provide a backlink to the suitable page – this will drive more traffic and ensure that your readers are aware of everything else you have to offer. The same goes for if you mention a topic that appears in another blog post – link it! As long as you aren’t replicating what you’ve already said, by linking a user onto another post of yours you are extending the amount of time they spend on your site and increasing your chances of converting them into a regular follower.

To follow on from the ‘community’ vibe of blogging, there is the option of guest blogging. This is where you either write a piece as a ‘guest’ for a different blog, or invite another blogger to write a piece for you. This can be a good way to promote yourself and get your site noticed through as many avenues as possible, but lately it is a practice that has become rife with guest blog spammers. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bloggers out there trying to trick search engines into ranking sites more highly with spammy posts to increase link building. The consequence of this is that some now take the opinion that you shouldn’t use guest blogs at all. However, it is still possible to use them in a way that will benefit you as opposed to drawing your site into a search engine robot’s speculation. The rule of thumb to go by here is to only accept a guest post from a site/writer that you absolutely trust and have checked out. Look into recent activity and how many followers they have, and the quality of their posts. If they seem to be updating frequently and with content that you’d be proud to represent on your site, go for it. The same goes for if you are thinking about becoming a guest blogger. Make sure that you are associating yourself with a site that you want to be seen on. If you approach it with caution, guest blogging can certainly be used to your advantage and help draw in traffic.

Having a blog is by no means an absolute necessity for your business. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth considering if you want your site to be noticed by search engines as having up-to-date, reliable and good quality content, and it’s easy to create something that really works for your business. This trend is only growing, so maybe it’s time to move your business to the next level.

Have some more questions? Fill in our Contact Form or talk to james@burfieldcreative.co.uk.

Image by Thomas Hawk – https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/ 

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