Best Practices for Good Blog Writing
Since we put so much emphasis on your blog for driving business to your webpage, we constantly hear the question, “What are the best practices for good blog writing?” The subtext underlining that question is, “I’ve started blogging, but it’s not generating instant ROI! What am I doing wrong?” Here’s the simple truth about what it takes to get your blog from “blah” to “best-in-show”.
1. Commitment, discipline, consistency
Your blog is the perfectly dressed street-level window with a sign saying “you NEED this”. What brings people in the door is putting useful content in that window, giving your potential customers a reason to follow your blog, and recommend it to their friends.
Think about it: why do YOU follow certain blogs, and not others? Chances are, the blogs you sign up for publish on a consistent schedule, with attention-grabbing headlines, and there is always a take-home punchline at the end of every article. You can think to yourself, “Today I learned something really useful from reading that blog.” Even if your blog is all about widgets, your “DIY homemade bubblegum widget experiment with your kids” article empowered your readers, gave them some food for thought, and helped build trust in your business. All in around 500-600 words.
Trust is the most important factor that you build with a consistent, reliable blog. When people sign up, they expect to see regular posts, they get used to the average length of post, and they begin to incorporate your website as an important part of their life. (Not to mention freshly updated posts with popular search terms boost your SEO immensely.)
2. Follow Up Your Successes
Your “DIY homemade bubblegum widget experiment with your kids” post is performing 85% better than any other post this week. Now what? Sadly, this is where most blogs drop the ball. It’s not that they are poor writers, and it’s not that they aren’t disciplined and maximizing SEO. It’s just that they aren’t listening.
Listening is the most underestimated skill for inbound marketers. When we’re really listening to traffic patterns we recognize when we’ve piqued our reader’s interests, and it’s our job as bloggers/inbound marketers to follow that lead with timely and relevant follow-up articles.
How can you drive more engagement on your business blog? Every click is a customer walking in the door and saying “hello”. Typically, a store clerk would ask about what brought them in. “I noticed the bubblegum widget in the window…” You already have plenty of valuable information here. That one article generated a lot of traffic. What was it about that post that people were searching for, and how can you make that blog post perform better? Follow-up!
Brainstorm two or three follow-up articles to roll with the momentum you’ve generated: “3 minute video of DIY bubblegum widget mishaps” and “kids win DIY homemade bubblegum widget contest”. Now, let’s capitalize on some simple analytics such as the day and time of peak traffic to your best performing post, and search terms. Optimize your blog posts for the more frequently used search terms, and schedule your new, better blog post to publish during times of anticipated higher traffic.
How else can you use metrics to maximize follow-up? Check the traffic patterns over the past week (or month, depending on traffic volume and posting frequency) and highlight your top three best performing blog posts. Re-read Rule #2, wash, rinse, repeat. (Read more about key metrics here.)
3. It’s okay to be self-serving, sometimes
Too much cut-and-paste self referencing damages your SEO. That means Google (and other search engines) will put your website at the bottom of a long list of search results for blog posts that have too many links, and more “keywords” than content. Content is king. We prefer blog posts that run at least 600 words (300 at a bare minimum), giving us plenty of time and space to thoroughly engage our readers, give them some kind of “take home” useful knowledge. Following this guideline will also maximize on-page SEO strategy, and let you know how awesome our company is.
Having said that, however, it doesn’t hurt to add a few useful links that are relevant to the blog topic at hand. For example, maybe you stumbled on this post because blogging is your bread and butter, and you are looking for writing tips on how to blog better. But instead, you find yourself wondering, “what is all this about inbound marketing?” Turns out, inbound marketing and blogging go hand in hand, and you can read more about it here.
By keeping your readers engaged on your site with a few, relevant, and well-placed links, they spend more time on your site and are more likely to engage with you and your product.
Content marketing is not casting a wide net into a dark ocean. It is the art and science of bringing traffic to your site, and (ultimately) seeing some ROI for all your hard work at building a better blog.