Starting a business blog doesn’t have to be a massive feat. Read our five steps to a successful blog and join the thousands of companies using blogging to grow their business.
1. Define your blog’s purpose
Not every successful business blog has the same goals. Understanding your blog’s purpose will tell you how to measure its success. You may want to drive traffic to your website, generate and funnel leads, or build awareness.
Once you define your purpose for blogging, take a baseline measurement. Many goals can be tracked using analytics, so make sure yours are set up. Get a clear picture of your current situation, then check in every month or so to see if it’s improved. Even if it doesn’t perfectly translate to statistics, setting a purpose for your business blog will keep you from being discouraged by irrelevant metrics.
Common business blog purposes:
- drive web traffic
- generate and funnel leads
- increase brand awareness
- position brand as an expert/influencer
- increase awareness of an issue or cause
- provide helpful information
- drive sales of a specific product/service
- feature past work or case studies
- answer frequently asked questions
2. Regularly post well-written content
For many, this is the most difficult part of maintaining a business blog. There are two big obstacles here: posting regularly and creating worthwhile content. A weekly blog may be too much to commit to, so try to get something posted once a month. Try to avoid bursts of blogging followed by months of inactivity. If your budget allows, you can hire a copywriter to create your content or subscribe to a service. If you have the staff, ask each team member to write a post once a quarter and you’ll have a year’s worth of business blog posts in no time.
As for coming up with blog ideas, there are many tactics to avoid blogger’s block. Think about your most frequently asked questions and write a post addressing each one. Depending on your purpose, you could give a behind the scenes peek at your process, explain a project in a case study, or curate a collection of work related to your field. The key is thinking about your audience: what information they need, what questions they have, and what entertains them.
3. Include images
Images are a key part of a successful business blog. Incorporating visuals triggers additional parts of a reader’s brain, increasing retention and engagement. Yet, many business blogs neglect this powerful sensory tool. Images break up lengthy blocks of text and can even help turn skimmers into readers.
You can use photos to help illustrate a point or show examples. Charts and graphs often explain better than written words and can easily be made yourself in Excel or online. Infographics, longer graphics combining words and images to share research, are a great accompaniment to a blog on the same topic. An engaging header image helps your blog stand out when it’s shared on social media. Double down on your exposure by pinning your photos and graphics on Pinterest.
When adding images to your business blog, be sure to source them legally and add meta data (see tip #5).
4. Incorporate SEO keywords
Once upon a time, many people thought you should mention your keywords as many times as possible to get ranked on Google. Blogs would have paragraphs of nonsense repeating keywords with a tiny chunk of real content. Google, and the other search engines no one uses, caught on to this bit. It’s called stuffing and it will actually lower your page rank or get your business blog banned from Google.
That said, it’s still important to include keywords in your content—just do it in a way that feels natural. Try to mention your target keyword once or twice per 100 words. (Use a plugin to track this for you.) When it fits, use your keywords in your headings. To choose SEO keywords, think about the words or phrases your target audience would use as search terms.
5. Fill in meta data and alt text
Google uses many methods to index and rank your blog posts. One of the most effective is meta data. Using a plugin or your blog CMS, fill in the SEO page title, description, and tags/keywords. This is crucial information search engines read to rank your page and what’s displayed in the search listings. You can kill two birds here: help your business blog get listed and help potential readers understand what your post will include.
Alt text is how search engines crawl/read images. By entering a brief description of what’s in the picture, you tell Google when to bring the image up in searches. Include the title of your blog post, your website or business name, and a few words explaining the image.
There’s much more to share about running a successful business blog. Post your questions in the comments below.