As a business owner, you have plenty of choices when creating your website. After studying UX and UI, you make purposeful selections on colors, fonts, and buttons. You’ve made sure everything clicks through properly, and that the photos you use load easily and make an impact. So what are you going to write about for your first blog post?
The importance of a Blog
If that question made your blood turn to ice, you’re not alone. You’re here to sell things and make a profit, right? Why on Earth should you write a blog? It turns out that having a blog is a great way to not only engage your existing audience, but is a great trick for search engine optimization (SEO) and a fantastic way to welcome new folks into the conversion funnel. And while the concept may seem intimidating, it’s actually not too hard- we’ll look at a few tips for making sure people read your online literary efforts!
How Blogs Can Keep You Connected
Have you ever wanted to ask your customers something? Maybe you have the option to make Product A in a shade of blue, or a shade of orange ONLY. Which color would your customers prefer? Wouldn’t it be great if you could ask them?
A blog is a way to reach out and welcome the interaction of your customers and followers. While you may currently see a blog as a sort of online report you have to write, it’s actually more of a conversation.
You, the business owner, bring up the topic of discussion. You share your sentiments on the topic: in this case, your thoughts and feelings about choosing the blue shade for Product A, and your reservations about choosing orange. Then you open up the topic for discussion in the comments. With open-form responses, those who read the post can share their own considerations on the blue vs. orange debate.
As the number of responses grow, you’ll start to see trends. Commenters will start commenting to each other, and soon, it’s a community discussion, rather than you anxiously trying not to make the wrong decision alone.
You might be asking yourself, “Sure, but can’t I just set up a poll on Facebook?” Yes, you could. But a blog gives you the space to fully express your feelings and share your concerns and considerations. And this helps you connect with your audience on a personal level.
Personal Connection and Authority
That personal connection is going to draw in your reader, and help them commit to your brand. Not only are you relating to them in a human way, which builds trust, but your request for feedback implies that you also trust them. Furthermore, by sharing your thoughts via your blog, you are able to demonstrate your authority on the topic, which builds even more trust in your brand.
Take the time to really develop your brand via your blog. If your brand is a bit quirky and off-beat, you can reinforce this with a light-hearted blog. If your brand is based on science and statistics, the blog is a place where you can share the research that goes into building your product or services.
A blog explains WHY your business exists, and HOW decisions are made. Furthermore, it engages customers to follow along and become a part of the brand through your personal insights and informative, entertaining content.
Blogs Can Make You Front Page News
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one of the many things that is constantly on our minds as small business owners. Everyone wants their place of glory on the front page of search engine results, and the higher up, the better.
It turns out that having a blog is a great way to improve SEO. The process is twofold. First, frequently updating your site with fresh content is a great way to capture the attention of search bots. It’s also going to capture the attention of live searchers, when they enter the key words you’ve strategically included in your blog post in the search bar!
The easier it is for people to find you, the more likely they’ll click on your site as a search result. The more visitors, the more perceived authority, the higher the SERP (search engine ranking position).
Furthermore, once you’ve attracted people to your site with your strong blog presence, you can engage them as customers. People who enjoy what you write will be more likely to sign up for your newsletter. Having their email address allows you more opportunity to provide them with further evidence that your product or service is exactly what they need.
You can also include your call to action (CTA) in a header or sidebar: “Click Here for Your Personal PDF version of our eBook!” Since they’re already engaged in your writing, these visitors are far more likely to continue exploring your site, and learn more about your brand and your product or service.
They, in turn, will recommend your site to others and organically increase traffic. Once again, that search engine bot will notice the sudden bloom in attention, and consider your site pretty important, ranking it higher and higher.
So What’s In a Blog, Anyway?
You’re probably expecting this, but we’ll say it anyway: Content is king, especially in a blog situation.
The first rule of blogging is to write for your audience. To get a feel for what this sentence means, first take a look at a scientific journal online: any will do. Who is it written for? Other scientists. As you read on, less and less of the writing will make sense, and you’ll finally give up (unless you’re a scientist).
Then check out a family or lifestyle blog. You’ll notice this blog sounds as if the writer is speaking directly to you: it’s casual and familiar, and reads more like a personal letter than a report. This is how your blog should feel to your reader.
Your reader should want to read your blog, because it is familiar. It’s neither a sales pitch, nor overly-jargony industry-speak. It’s a person, writing to other people. Even if your brand is fact and statistic-based, consider presenting the material to your readers as if you were discussing it with your friends or family over a meal “Did you know that in the principles of feng shui, the color orange represents fire?”.
Additionally, make sure your keywords are in there, but don’t try to make your blog one long-string keyword.
Oversaturation of keywords is a big turn off to search bots and readers alike. The goals of content are to be entertaining and informative, not confusing, long, and hard to read.
As you consider your blog, try not to stress about the task of writing, but instead, think of communicating with your audience. Focus on the purpose of your blog: to engage readers. The rest of the benefits of blogging, including SEO optimization, organic growth, increased subscribers, and a greater possible rate of conversions, is all just a wonderful side effect of having a blog that people want to read and share with others.
By creating a space for conversation instead of direct conversions, your blog will achieve that goal.