Most small business owners know why they need to have a business blog on their website, after all, the reasons are well documented (if you’d like a recap, check out our previous post on the reasons why you need a blog! or What is Blogging? Why You Need It & How to Easily Get Started). The issue many small business owners have with their blog is knowing how to have an effective one on their site. They feel that their current one isn’t working, but they don’t know where to start working out why it isn’t.
If you’re struggling to get your blog working for you, ask yourself the following ten questions.
This isn’t always an easy one to judge, but it’s something you do need to get clear on. So, what are your expectations? You can’t decide on how realistic those expectations are until you know what they are! So many business owners feel their blog isn’t working – but they have no idea on what their expectations for it are!
Another problem is you may have high expectations, but haven’t put in any real work. You could be posting inconsistently or not using focused keywords, for example. You may want your blog to have the same vanity metrics as your social media accounts. That's not going to happen, without you putting in a lot of extra work and promotion.
So, as yourself - how would you quantify a blog that works for you? Is it based on a certain level of interaction? How about post visits or shares? The number of link backs you get or the number of leads you get from your blog? What are your expectations, and how do they mount up, when compared to the effort you’re putting into your blog?
There are so many different types of blog post you can write. With how-to and top tip posts, roundups, recommendations, case studies, interviews and product launches - the choice is vast. But what type of content is getting the most views on your site?
Look at your visitor statistics and see what posts appeal to your visitors. If you're not getting interaction on recommendation posts - write reviews instead. You could also look at whether you're recommending the right products for your readers, too. Either way, you won’t know until you start testing different types and formats.
This leads us onto the formula of your posts. Have you tried switching it around, to find out what your audience prefer? How about trying a few blog posts that are audio or video-based – and seeing if they get more interaction?
What about the length of your blog posts? Have you tried both short and long word counts? When it comes to keeping your blog fresh, switch around the type of blog post you create, as well as the formats.
Blogging regularly is a commitment. Whether you decide to post monthly, weekly, or daily, you need to be consistent. If you’re currently only posting when it suits you, your blog isn’t going to be working for you or your business.
Another common mistake is writing about topics that aren’t relevant to your audience. Sit and brainstorm the topics that will be beneficial to your target audience.
If you don’t know what your website visitors want to read about – ask them. If you do know what they want to read, still ask them – and make it a regular feature! You can create a poll on your social media, your website or send one out to your mailing list.
No one likes seeing a page full of text. You need to make your blog posts both easy to read and kind on the eye. This means short paragraphs, adding in an image or two (or three!) and using subheadings, bullet points, lists etc, to break up your text. Also, make it easy for your readers to find content – by using categories and tags effectively too.
If you want your blog to be relevant to your reader and more visible to search engines, know what keywords to use. Carry out keyword research to find the ones that are relevant to your business, as well as the ones you want to rank for.
So, what search terms would someone use to find your site and blog? What keywords can you add to your titles, subheadings and meta descriptions? What phrases will pique the interest of your readers? What keywords and phrases do you want associated with your business?
It’s one thing to assume visitors will read your content, but it’s another to assume they know what to do, once they’ve read it. Make it super-easy and tell them the next step, via your call to action (CTA).
If you want them to leave a comment or share the post, put that in your ending CTA. If you’d like readers to book a discovery call or read more on your latest new product or service – tell them. Give them the link and ask them to click for more info. Your CTA doesn’t always have to be sales-based, but it does need to be action based!
If you don't enjoy the topics you're writing about, or simply don't enjoy writing – it’ll show. Not only will your writing suffer, but visitors will also feel it when they read. It’ll also impact negatively on your time, as tasks we dislike always take longer than those we do enjoy.
If you’re not enjoying writing your blog posts, please look to outsource them to someone who does. That way, your website still gets fresh content, and your readers will always have something new to read. There's also the bonus that you'll have more time to focus on what you do like!
This one is the biggie! Just because you've published something new to your site, it doesn't mean readers will automatically appear. Yes, a few might be receiving alerts to new content, but if you want your blog to work for you – you need to work for it.
You need to get it out there and share it with the world. Share the link, create memes and status updates based on it, share it with your mailing list and within your other social media platforms. Use an automated scheduling platform to create evergreen promotional posts for the next year about it.
Your blog posts take valuable time and effort to write. It can be disheartening if you’re not getting views and comments on them, and your traffic is low. But, it’s important to remember your blog is a slow-burning marketing tool. It isn’t going to gain traction and views overnight. So, make a plan on how to improve on this. Get clear on your expectations. Stay consistent in your actions. And use the ten questions above to ensure you’re working on a blog that will work for you.