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 for business are such a worthwhile investment of time and resource.
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 the Role of Blogs 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
Useful blogs for business are how to guides. This could include ‘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
- Blogs for Business – Our Top 5 Tips
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 s