We’ve lost count of the number of times we have seen a website designed and developed and then left to stagnate. It looks great, it gets shared a few times, the URL is printed on a few bits of stationery and then that’s it. The website is then just left as a point of reference and the website box is ticked. It’s like writing a best-selling book, printing a few copies and leaving them in a drawer. If only people understood just what a powerful tool a website is and why blogs are important for business.
There is little understanding of just what a critical part a website has to play in marketing and how effective it can be in reaching a wider audience. That’s why we advise our clients on the importance of a blogging strategy and how it can be used as a key part of their content marketing.
Understanding Why Blogs are Important for Business
Understanding how blogging impacts on your business is the first step. It has many benefits whether it be the website of a local tradesman or a multi-million pound online e-commercee service.
- Google loves fresh and relevant content – the more content that you produce that is valuable to the user, the higher your website will rank
- Positions the company as an authority in the market place
- Offers additional opportunities to make money such as affiliate marketing
- Gives you a platform to share your products and services in a different light
- Enables you to stay current and up to date
- Gives your audience the information that they are looking for
- Helps you stand out from your competitors
You can even just blog for fun. Have a passion and want to talk about it? Start a blog. There are thousands of hobby bloggers out there that take their passions and turn it into somewhere they can share their knowledge. They even monetise their blogs and earn a living from them using affiliate marketing and Ad Sense.
Optimising Blog Opportunities
You may be in roofing, plumbing or another industry that you feel there isn’t much to blog about. You would be mistaken. There are all sorts of opportunities to create content on your blog that will add value to your audience. The more interesting and useful the content, the more chance that it will be shared on social media platforms such as Facebook and Reddit. While blogs technically don’t have to be huge pieces of content, the more you can write, the better chance you have of the content ranking well for your chosen phrase.
Let’s say you operate a roofing company and are sharing advice on the rainy season and the impact this may have on an roof that hasn’t been touched for years. Not only will you want to share the potential pitfalls of not having a roof inspection or repairs, you might talk about the guttering, fascias, attic space or other related subjects. You may be thinking why would you talk about these things when you don’t offer those services but the aim is, that you become a point of reference, a source of knowledge and add value to your audience. When they want their roof fixed, you are the trusted contact.
This then brings the opportunity to recommend others that can do the things you don’t offer. Sharing recommendations is a great opportunity for them to return the favour. Building networks in your local community leads to additional opportunities and a potential line of leads.
The Different Types of Blogs
The term blog is all encompassing really and covers anything that is informative that you can share on your website. Aside from the ‘this is who we are’ and ‘this is what we do’ content that belongs on your main site, it’s somewhere to share company news, views, advice, latest products, innovations and more. There are several types of blogs to consider. In fact, if you were to start kicking some ideas around, you would soon come up with a long list. The point is to start somewhere and understand why blogs are important for business
People love to consume information on a topic that matters to them or something they are interested in. The more information you can provide the better. One way to provide useful and engaging information is with what is known as ‘Pillar content’. This is an in depth blog which is usually between 3,000 – 4,000 words. Although shorter blogs can be around 2,000 words, with longer blogs in excess of 5,000 words.
Pillar and Cluster Blogs
Obviously it can take a lot of time and effort to come up with this much content about a subject, but the good news is you don’t have to make all of your blogs this long. The point of pillar content is to give a complete outline of a subject and then to go into more detail in branch off blogs, or cluster blogs as they are called. These blogs then link back to the main pillar blog to give Google an overview of what your site is about.
Example of a Pillar and Cluster blog structure:
This example is based on Running an Ultra Marathon, the main content piece was 3,000 words, the smaller blogs that link off from that are 500-1000 words and cover elements of running an ultramarathon in more detail.
This cluster blog structure tells Google that all of this content is related. It makes your content much stronger.
Of course, you don’t have to stop with one pillar blog. If you were to sit and make a list of all of the topics you could blog about, you could probably come up with a number of ideas. This gives you a great blog marketing plan and some solid focus rather than just churning out blogs as and when you think of them.
How to Guides
How to change a washer, how to keep your taps clean, how to train for a race, how to clean your muddy shoes… we are always looking for content that helps us to find a solution to our problems. How to guides are regularly searched for. In fact, type ‘how to’ into the Google search bar and see what returns.
As you can see, the first result we got was ‘how to delete an Instagram account’ followed by ‘how to take a screenshot on a mac’. When was the last time you wanted to know how to do something and how did you find the solution? You can be that source of information to your audience. In fact, beyond the written word, you could actually produce some videos. This is a powerful source of information and another element to your website that will help with ranking.
As well as guest bloggers adding fresh content and expert advice or views on a specific subject, they also add extra kudos. It provides your site with authenticity that others are involved, there is a more diverse range of content and opinions and it gives that more trusted feel. It’s an endorsement from an industry expert that they are happy to associate with you and your business.
From an SEO perspective, if you can get links from the sites of your guest bloggers as well, it adds so much more value. One of the biggest wins for any website in the eyes of search engines is to get links from other relevant websites. Warning though, don’t trust one of these Link Farm companies that promise you 100 links. You are far better advised to get one healthy link from an associate, a supplier, or something that is relevant to your business than paying for 100 dodgy links.
These are quite simply lists that provide valuable information in a digestible format:
- 10 Reasons to Have a Blog on Your Website
- 5 Types of Blog Post
- 10 Ways to Get Traffic to Your Website
Often each item within the list is a short paragraph with headers or bullet style articles. They are much more likely to get traffic to them and to be shared.
These are great for not only adding valuable content to your website but also for getting to a wider audience. Let’s say you have an industry expert that you work closely with or you have the opportunity to interview someone. It doesn’t have to be face to face, it could be an online interview. You send them your list of questions, they then send you their answers. Before you know it, you have a substantial blog full of useful content.
The chances are once it is published on your website and shared to your social media, the interviewee will want to do the same. You are then reaching a whole new audience. Building up a network within your industry is great and it adds value to your website.
We aren’t suggesting that you set up a news feed and blogging about every potential headline but there may be something specific to your industry that is worth writing about. You may be able to use it to link to your products or service or you may just be providing informative content that increases your authority and trust not only with Google but also with your audience.
Finding a news story that works is great. Put your own spin on it, use it to get interaction on your own pages and optimise it so that people find it through your website. When you share it on your social pages, people will then share your content rather than someone elses.
Product reviews are particularly good if you are trying to sell a product. Affiliate websites use reviews to generate income. Even if you don’t sell a product or service, you can use affiliate marketing to share useful products with your customers. Product reviews are an excellent way to do this. If you have used a product and think your audience would benefit from it, review it and share a link to where they can buy it.
Sites like Amazon offer a programme called Amazon Associates where they will pay a commission for any sales made from their site. For example you may be blogging about the Amazon Echo Dot. If you were to click on the link and purchase the product, Amazon will pay a commission to the referrer. In this instance, as an affiliate, if you were to purchase the Echo Dot from my link, I will earn a commission.
However, your product reviews must be genuine, useful and help the buyer to make an informed decision. As an owner of an Amazon Echo Dot, I can recommend the product with confidence. I have two, plus the standard Echo and have had them for a while. They perform as stated and I find them useful for a whole host of reasons. If I didn’t think this and they weren’t very good, I would be doing you a disservice by providing a positive review and I would lose trust. You want to ensure that whatever you are recommending to your audience is genuine and that you furnish them with as much information as possible.
Has someone used your service or your product and had a positive experience? As well as encouraging them to leave a positive review, you can also build a case study. Let’s take a look at an example where this would work really well. Perhaps you fit bedrooms or bathrooms or kitchens. You can take before and after photos, document the process, highlight where you have provided solutions to problems and get comments from the customer. You can show where you have overcome an adverse situation, how you have provided a unique service to the client and really build a story out of the project.
Maybe you have worked as a coach with someone to achieve their goals. You can document the process from the start, how did you define the goals, where they short, medium or long term. How did get to the end result, were you successful, what would you do differently next time. With case studies you can include so much:
- Before and after photos
- Time-lapse videos of the project
- Comments from the customer
- A step by step account of the project journey
- Affiliate links to accessories in a kitchen for example – barstools, lighting appliances
There is so much rich content that you can use. The more you can include in your article, the more change of engaging your audience and also ticking the right boxes with Google. Some of the cornerstone articles that appear on the first page of Google contain as much as 5,000-6,000 words. Those that write these long content pieces have an understanding of why blogs are important for business and focus their attention on creating lots of this type of content. Of course, this is not always possible but it doesn’t mean that you can’t build a good blog.
The aim of your blog is to be found by search engines. So as well as great content, think about what your audience are searching for. If you are a kitchen fitter or designer, perhaps it is ‘(insert area) kitchen design’ or ‘ideal storage solutions for kitchens’. You can use tools to find out what your audience are searching for. A simple search in Google will highlight additional search terms and suggested alternative searches. Try and use a few of these terms in various blogs to ensure that you are returning for the relevant searches.
Remember our affiliate link to the Amazon Echo Dot? Well, more people than ever use the voice search capability on these devices. Rather than a standard two word key word search, now they ask questions and use much longer key phrases. Going back to the affiliate tips, you will see I have now used the affiliate link for the Echo Dot 3 times in this article. This gives you an idea of what your affiliate articles should look like.
- Understand why blogs are important for business
- Create regular and interesting blogs
- Write engaging useful content that adds value to your audience
- Make sure that it is relevant content to your industry and not off topic
- Think about what your audience is looking for and ensure that you are the answer to the search terms they are using
Where to Start
There are two options, you can either get in touch with an expert (coughs loudly and says ‘pick me’) or you can have a go yourself. We would strongly recommend doing some kind of map or calendar that charts the seasonal and national events that affect your business, and takes account of peaks and troughs. Next write a list of potential blogs and allocate them to you map – then start to build your content plan.
Alternatively, you can contact us on 07828 669152 or email for further information and to discuss why blogs are important for business. We are always happy to chat to businesses that want more help and advice with their content marketing strategy.