Everyone is chatting away about something on a blog. But what about businesses? Well, they’re blogging too. In fact, a blog is an excellent tool for a business.
A business blog allows you to share your opinions and thoughts directly with your customers and clients. It drives traffic to your website, encourages social sharing, and it helps Google notice and rank your pages in the search engine results pages.
A blog also gives your business a platform from which to inform, educate, entertain and, ultimately, sell your goods and services.
And here are some stats:
- Companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those without. (DemandMetric)
- Blogs can result in a 434% increase in indexed pages and a 97% increase in indexed links. (DemandMetric)
- Businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t. (HubSpot)
How to actually add a blog to a website
OK, we now know a business blog might be beneficial for your business. But how do you actually add a blog to your website?
Let’s assume you already have a nice business website for your company. Your domain will be something like www.thebusiness.com, and now we want to create a subdirectory named www.thebusiness.com/blog. This is where all your highly engaging and beautiful blog posts will be placed.
First, check if your web hosting service supports blogging. Bluehost, Hostinger and SiteGround all have features and guides to help you set up a blog on your site.
If you’re using a platform such as Wix, adding a blog is just as simple too. Just follow this ‘How to Start a Blog’ guide.
Best blog practices
One of the most confusing aspects of blogging is understanding the best practices for your audience and SEO. Depending on where you look for this information, you will get very different answers. For business blogging, it’s relatively straightforward.
Short and snappy won’t cut it in the world of business blogging. While it is tempting because you may think ‘who’s going to read a 2,000-word long blog post?’, it’s actually better to write long-form blog posts people can scan through.
Why? Because the gods of the internet, aka Google, say so. Google’s algorithm has gone through several changes which focus on longer articles that are authentic, relevant and valuable.
This means Google wants to see information-rich content that really offers readers something engaging and useful. You simply can’t achieve this in 500 words – unless you’re an international organisation with millions of customers ready to engage with your content.
Research shows the sweet spot for word length is 1,760+ words. According to this research, Google prefers long content over short content. This is mainly because the more information on the blog, the more Google’s algorithm can determine what the blog is about and its relevance for their users.
It is therefore recommended that each blog post is 1,600+ words.
The structure of your blog is just as important as the length. Here is the basic blog structure:
- Main body
But there are different types of blog posts that all have their own benefits. Here are the most popular:
- Listicle – these are the popular 20 Incredible Places to Visit in Spain This Summer type posts. They can be short or long but are designed for people to scan and get information quickly. People like listicles because they’re easy to read and fun to share.
- Round-up – a bit like a listicle but usually involves some expert advice or opinion. For example, 10 Things Exceptionally Productive Entrepreneurs Do Every Day.
- The review – no list for this one. Instead, a review of all the different aspects of a product or service. For example, Canon EOS M50 review.
- How to – a blog post for teaching people how to do something. For example, the blog post you’re reading right now.
- Guide – A great way to deliver a massive amount of information in an organised and engaging way. For example, How to Gain Weight as a Vegan.
Strategy for content
Most blogs fail because there is no strategy or content plan. And there is research to prove it.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 60% of organisations with a content strategy are effective, compared to only 32% of those with a verbal strategy or no strategy at all.
To create a solid blogging strategy, you must first:
- Define your goals for the blog
- Perform target market research
- Complete keyword research
- Generate topics
- Create a content calendar
- Create and share fantastic blog posts
Let’s do an example for a company that sells bamboo products.
- Define goals: drive organic traffic, become expert in the industry and sell more bamboo products.
- Target market: 24–45 years old, mostly female, earning £30k+, into eco-living and healthy lifestyle.
- Keywords: ‘best bamboo sheets’, ‘eco-friendly home’, ‘best bamboo products’, etc.
- Topics: ‘the 8 best bamboo sheets you can buy’, ‘11 best bamboo products for an eco-friendly home’.
- Content calendar: 4 x 1,800 word posts per month, post every Tuesday at 10am UK time.
- Share: via social media and email newsletters.
There are billions of blogs and billions of internet users. The blogs that succeed are the ones that are structured, organised and consistent.
The benefits of a blog: social sharing and organic SEO
There are hundreds of great reasons to start and run a business blog. But there are two that really stand out.
For many businesses, it’s a daily struggle deciding on what to share across social media. You don’t want to be repetitive, and you don’t want to share the same old tired images or promotions all the time.
Blogging keeps your website and social media pages fresh. You’re creating engaging content that keeps you in direct contact with your followers and delivers a message.
Engaging and useful blog posts encourage sharing too. The more your followers share, the more your business reaches new people online. They may then like your page, follow your account, visit your website and start the journey to buying your goods and services.
Blogs help your website rank higher on Google. It won’t happen overnight, but after 3–6 months if you have used good keywords and your content is engaging, you will start to climb the ranks.
This then generates organic visitors to your site. That’s 100% FREE website visitors. And Google loves websites that generate organic traffic as it signals to them that you’re creating great content that people want to engage with.
Organic traffic is the most important traffic. Why? Because it is targeted. You’re getting people who are actively looking for a solution to a problem your business solves. If you write a blog post named ‘The best bamboo toothbrushes’ and you sell bamboo products, you’re driving people to your business who are actively looking to buy.
Organic traffic also builds trust in your website, and people trust websites that rank highly on Google.
Having a business blog is a great way to drive organic traffic, connect with your customers, and build trust and brand awareness. A blog takes a lot of planning and hard work but the content you create can pay back in dividends for years to come if done correctly.
Adding a blog to your business is relatively simple. Once you’re up and running, think about what you want to talk about with the world and your customers. It’s a chance to develop your brand ‘voice’ and become an authority within your industry.
Amazing photo: A. Rouse