Many business owners, particularly those within the SME environment, wonder what they should be doing to improve their search engine rankings. While SEO is far from a straightforward matter, there are some things that you as a business owner can do to elevate your search engine rankings. One of these activities is blogging. If you already have a business website you should be able to create a blog fairly easily, especially if you are using WordPress or another content management system (CMS). Perhaps you already have a blog sitting on your website that is raring to go but you are unsure what steps you should take to get started?
In this article, we will outline our four step process for starting and managing a successful business blog that supports your overall SEO strategy.
How To Get Started With Blogging
1) Select Your Blog Topics
The very first step in your journey to blogging success is to identify a number of topics that your prospective customers are likely to be interested in. You may be fortunate enough to have a clear idea of the issues and problems that your customers face. If so, these are great starting points for a blog article. If not, you can gain some insights into potential topics with Google Trends. This powerful tool will allow you to enter a keyword and view the level of search interest over time. In addition to this, it will show you a number of related topics and queries. These insights are great ideas for a successful blog article as there is already a significant level of interest in these topics. For example, if you have your own accounting practice and you used Google Trends, you would find out that interest in the ‘BT accounting scandal’ is at its peak with the recent new stories. This makes it an incredibly opportune time to blog about the BT accounting scandal.
To start with, it is sensible to select five topics – this will give you enough ideas to power your blogging effort for around 2-5 months depending on your blogging frequency.
2) Prepare A Blog Schedule
Now you have selected a number of topics for your blog, it is time to plan when you are going to post your articles. The most successful blogging efforts usually coordinate the blog activity with other elements of your digital marketing strategy. If you already have a content calendar you may wish to coordinate your blogs with your social media posts or email marketing activity. Regardless of this, you should prepare a separate blog schedule that details when you will be publishing articles about the topics that you have identified. This is an important part of ensuring that your blog is regularly updated with new content, which is key to its overall effectiveness. Generally, it is recommended that you aim to publish between one and four blog articles per month on your business blog. Your chosen frequency will depend upon the time that you have available for blogging and the number of viable topics that you have. In your schedule, outline which blog topics are going to be addressed and the publication date of each article.
3) Write Your First Article
It is now time for the most exciting part of the blogging process. Writing your first article can appear to be moderately daunting, but once you have started you will soon become a brilliant blogger. It is sensible to create a brief outline; perhaps a few bullet points to plan your article. This will help you to structure your ideas and achieve a natural flow in your writing. If you are struggling to get started, consider adopting one of the popular blog formats such as a how-to guide (which explains how to do something – this article is a great example of this) or perhaps your article could present information/advice about a particular topic.
As you write your article, do not neglect SEO best practice. Blog articles are often overlooked from a technical SEO perspective as they are not essential/key pages of a website. It is certainly worth remembering that they are just as important from a search engine perspective. In particular make sure that your article contains an appropriate search optimised page title tag, meta description tag and heading tags. If you add images to your article, add an alt tag to each image that describes what each image shows.
4) Share Your Article
Once you have published your article, you face another challenge – driving people to your blog article. While you will of course receive some traffic from the search engine results pages (SERPs), you should not rely on this as your sole source of traffic. Social media can be a significant source of traffic for well written blog articles, at a minimum you should aim to share your article on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to maximise your articles reach. In the case of Twitter, you can use hashtags to reach users that may be interested in your article. Generic hashtags such as #MondayBlogs and #Blog do work well, but you should compliment these with topic specific hashtags too. LinkedIn is particularly adept at reaching professionals that work within particular sectors. To reach them, join relevant LinkedIn groups and share your article there.