When I’m talking to businesses, one question I often get asked is, “why should I have a blog?”
It’s hard to express how important a blog can be for your business. You may feel your business is based in the ‘real’ world but today you need to have an ‘virtual’ presence. Many of your potential customers will either come from an online referral or, at least, they will make a detour via your webpage.
A blog is a great way to get your business seen online. It helps you position yourself as an industry expert. Because it is a new page on your website, it creates a new URL, which is something that Google can grab hold of and which you can promote to your clients. HubSpot claims, on average, business websites with a blog will have 148% more traffic than a website without. Of course, this won’t all translate into business, but it is certainly better than no traffic and it gives you a chance to sell your product.
As I’ve said a million times, when it comes to an online presence – content is key. A website, social media feed, etc. without new content is a dead website. There is nothing more disengaging than a website where the most recent update was months ago. Imagine a restaurant website that still has their Spring menu online. What does that tell you? That they are closed or they can’t be bothered to update. Do you then go to that restaurant? Probably not.
So, what are my top tips?
Do it or don’t do it
If you decide you are going to write a blog, you must commit to it. We suggest a minimum of one per month. Ideally, you’ll be able to create more than that, but one per month is really the minimum. This is a commitment but once the decision has been made, you must stick at it. It is more harmful to have a blog without regular updates than a website without a blog section. Having said that, having a regular blog gives potential customers a reason to visit your website and it constantly reminds them of your existence as a business.
Ideal blog length
It doesn’t have to be ‘War and Peace’ and, in fact, unless you are a real page-turning author like Tolkien or Patterson, its probably better to keep things short. That is not to say it can be one paragraph – it can’t. You need around 500 words per blog. That isn’t hard, I’ve already reached 430 and you’ve only been reading for a few minutes.
We have to consider three things:
- Interest – will it engage the reader
- Google – they like content and they will rank you higher if you have plenty of content. One paragraph is not really adding content to what Google will count as a new webpage
- User – Google really likes content that is read and most people now use mobile devices to read content. Therefore, make it user-friendly and that means not making it too long
Readability is everything. Short sentences are easier to read online, especially on a mobile device. They are not only pithier, they also help with your Google ranking because, as with the blog length, Google likes mobile-friendly webpages.
Short sentences and short paragraphs are just easier for people to digest in today’s ‘instant’ world. As with over all length, you can extend if you need to and you have a point to make, but only do this if you can bring the reader with you.
Blogs need to grab the attention of the potential reader. The title should tell them what they are going to get. This isn’t an exercise in showing how clever you are, this is an exercise in getting your objective across in a clean and clear manner.
Likewise, the first paragraph should get to the point and tell the reader what they are going to get for investing time in the blog.
This is really important. A blog is a long game. You are positioning yourself as an expert with opinions on a subject. You are also trying to show a little of your personality so that people can gauge whether they can work with you. You are not writing only about what a wonderful person you are and about all your successes. Obviously, some of that may come into it but really this isn’t the place to sell. The rest of your website should already be acting as your sales-pitch.
Having said that, make sure you put your contact details at the bottom, so you make it easy for a potential client to contact you. If they are reading your blog on a smartphone, they may not know your contact details are at the top in that funny little three-line menu.
It is therefore perfectly sensible to finish a blog with something like:
If you want to know more about blogs and how they can help your business, contact Suzi on 07590 591140 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org