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Blogging For Business: The Ultimate Guide

This post originally appeared on Niall Devitt’s blog, Niall is a regular contributor to Tweak Your Biz. 

A business blog is a proven business tool that successful companies use to market, generate leads and increase sales conversions. Find out what you need to know to become a successful business blogger.

Blogging for Business

The business case for blogging

With inbound leads costing 61% less than outbound leads, it’s easy to see why 81% of businesses now report that their company blog is useful to critical for their business. 

  • Companies that blog get on average 55% more website visitors than those that do not.
  • 57% of companies that blog report that they have acquired customer/s from their blog.
  • And 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day report that they have acquired customer/s from their blog.

[Ref: The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report, Hubspot]

Choosing the right blogging platform

There are many available blogging platforms to choose from with each one having strengths and weaknesses. However, if you are looking for the best option for business, there is only one winner; WordPress.

  • WordPress is a free open source blogging tool and content management system (CMS)
  • It’s the most popular blogging system and is used by over 16.7% of Alexa Internet’s “top 1 million” websites
  • Features include a plug-in architecture and template system

Questions to ask before you start blogging

Many people and businesses, who fail at blogging, do so because they didn’t properly understand the challenges; they started blogging with unrealistic goals and expectations. Building an audience for your blog is going to take time and consistency, start off by defining your audience and readers.

Ask yourself:

  • Who exactly do you want to read the blog?
  • Can they become your customers?
  • Which content would they find valuable?
  • How often will you need to post to generate a return?

If content is king, then networking is queen! You’re going to also have to build relationships and grow a community around your blog and its content. Networking will be a key skill in how fast you can attempt to grow.

Are you ready to?

  • Comment on other blogs
  • Share content
  • Guest post

What to write about?

Coming up with ideas for blog posts is something that most business bloggers struggle with initially. Here are ten suggestions for posts that are proven to work:

Lists

People love lists and it is easy to come up with ideas for list type posts. List ideas can be quickly researched and written up when compared to other types of posts.

Link round ups

Pick a topic and build a useful resource post by linking out to other bloggers and their content. Linking out in this way is also a great way to network online and it encourages those bloggers mentioned to comment and share.

Reviews

Reviews are an easy way to create blog posts and you can review just about anything.

Interviews

Think about the interesting people you know and you’ll quickly realize how easy it is to create a series of blog post interviews. Interviews can also be used to network with customers and influencers within your industry.

Crowd sourced

Crowd source your posts by asking your network for their contributions. These people are then also more likely to comment, share and help promote these posts.

How to

Writing a how to post is an effective way to tap into people’s needs.

Case studies

What better way to create unique blog content and promote your business, than by writing case studies about the clients and the work that you have carried out.

Controversy

Challenging the status quo is an effective way to differentiate your writing and generate interest and engagement. Be careful not to be controversial, simply for the sake of it!

Questions

You don’t always need to know the answer to create a great blog post. Asking questions in your writing is another way to create interesting and engaging content.

Best of your blog

If you have been blogging for a while, you will have built up an archive. You can easily use this content to create a roundup of your most popular or interesting posts.

How to format your posts for internet readers

The online reader discovers and reads content differently.  According to CopyBlogger, Brian Clark: “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest”

Title

He goes on to say “This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece”. The more effective and catchy your headline, the better your chances are of getting clicked on and read by the right type of people.

First paragraph

After someone clicks through the first text they see will be your first paragraph, it’s like your post’s elevator pitch! Can it continue to hold the reader’s attention? Does it explain what the content is about? Does it communicate the “what it’s in it for me” for the reader?

Images

Images add the visual element that helps you to communicate, with more impact!  Also, if you consider social media platforms such as Facebook, not using images will put you at a significant disadvantage in the newsfeed.

Sub-headings

People scan rather than read from start to finish through online. Using sub headings (H2s & H3s) breaks up the posts providing the reader with the opportunity to scan and digest at different levels.

Paragraph length

Shorter rather than longer paragraphs work best online. A good way to manage paragraph length is to stop at the end of three sentences and then start to figure out the transition to the next paragraph.

Bullet points and numbering

Bullet points and numbering further help break up your posts and make them more readable.

How to optimize your posts for SEO

There are 175 million blogs producing around 1 million new blog posts every day, ensuring that your blog and posts rank is a big challenge. “Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users” wikipedia.org 

 

Keyword research

There are many tools available incl:

Keyword research allows you to confirm or find out about what people are searching for. When deciding which keywords will work best, consider those that offer you:

  1. Relevance
  2. Lots of searches
  3. Less competition

If I built apps?

Say, I was an app developer and I wanted to write a blog post to target businesses who might like to build an app. I might consider that “We build apps for your business” is a good title for a blog post, but is it?

If I go to Google keywords tool and search for “We build apps for your business” I get 0 searches! Next, let’s input “apps for your business”. OK, that’s better, it shows 2900 searches per month.

However, If I scroll down the page, I see the keywords “How to make apps” which has 450000 searches and is of medium competition.

I like this keyword opportunity because: 

  1. It has lots of traffic potential
  2. It is not too competitive
  3. And the people who are searching for it, are looking for actionable information

However, it still has some weaknesses:

  • It’s very broad
  • And it only weakly relates to my target audience

Titles

So how can I optimize “How to make apps”, so that I’m targeting the right type of reader? In my example: businesses that might be considering building (and paying for) an app?

Let’s look at some titles that will make my blog post more razor-sharp:

  • “How to make apps to get your business downloaded”
  • “How to make apps that deliver new customers and more sales”
  • “How to make apps that return on your business investment”

Note: Position your keywords nearer the start of your title as search engines and people put more weight on the early words

Meta description

Meta descriptions are the short descriptions that show up in search results along with the link to your blog post:

  • They should be no longer than 150 characters
  • And front loaded with your chosen keywords

H2 and H3 headings

Ideally, you also want to include your keywords in your H2 and/or H3 headings.

  • My H2 heading above is “How to write SEO Friendly Blog Posts?”
  • Includes “SEO Friendly Blog Posts” which are the focus keywords for this post

To do this in the HTML version of your website, write the following text: 

<h2>Headline Text</h2>

Or 

<h3>Headline Text</h3>  for H3 

Note: WordPress and other content management systems have this option in the format menu.

Images

When an image is unavailable, “Alt Text” ensures no information or functionality is lost. However they are rarely used by content creators.

Use the alt text to incorporate your chosen keywords adding additional SEO value to your post.

Links

Readers, other bloggers and even search engines (such as Google) love links. When linking internally or out, the text that you choose to hyperlink (called “Anchor Text,”) is very important. Rather than using words like “click here” –  incorporate links into suitable keywords. Do this within the text of your blog post using words that best describe – where that particular link goes to.

Where linking to another site, make sure readers are opening a new browser window. This ensures that they are less likely to permanently leave your website, for the other site.

Keyword density

Your keywords need to be sprinkled in the text of your article, but you need to also be careful of overdoing it (called keyword stuffing).  Aim for a ratio of between 1-3%.  For example: In a 600 word article, repeat the keywords between 6 and 18 times.

Business blogging ROI

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Images:  ”Blog button on the keyboard close-upShutterstock.com


Digital expert, top 10% influencer with over 10 years’ senior management experience - including managing projects and teams, and growing companies in the Irish, international and online marketplaces. Co-founded one of the largest B2B blogs in the world, helped grow a B2B social media to over 1,000,000 members, created the strategy for one of the most effective SME Facebook pages in the world and have grown 3 business websites (TweakYourBiz.com, BizSugar.com & MyKidsTime.ie) to in excess of a 100,000 unique visitors per month. Have consulted and worked with both corporate and SME clients on leveraging digital to drive business KPIs. Speaker at industry events, have authored several industry reports on the Digital Economy and appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Insider and other leading online and offline business publications. Specialities include: Entrepreneurship Business Development, Start-ups, Business Planning, Management, Training, Leadership, Sales Management, Sales, Sales Process, Coaching, Online Advertising, Blogging, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Strategist, Digital Strategy, Social Media ROI, User Generated Content, Social Customer Care. http://tweakyourbiz.com/

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