What is a blog? Why is blogging important for your business? Learn this and more in our Ultimate Guide to Blogging article!
Blogging is popular. At this very moment, there are more than 600 million active blogs on the internet. Even if blogging is not part of your business plan, you have likely stumbled across one before. Blogs are the most popular form of content used by marketers today, and continue to be one of the top ways to drive new traffic to a website. There is much to be gained by launching a blog for your business, even if you start small. In today’s article, we’ll tackle everything you need to know about blogging: what is a blog, why you need to hop on the blogging bandwagon, tips and tricks for building the best blog, and some fast facts about blogging.
Let’s get started.
First, What Is a Blog?
A blog, which is a shortened version of the word “weblog,” is a space on the web where one can regularly log thoughts, ideas, opinions, and information. The article you’re reading right now – yep, it’s a blog. Blogs can take many forms, and, contrary to popular belief, are not just personal journal entries. Blogs can be used to fulfill business needs, write informative opinion pieces, or as an outlet to express oneself creatively.
An entire website can be a blog, or a blog can simply exist as a subsection within a website. In the case of the PaintedRobot site, the blog page exists as a sub-page, accessible from the main menu. A blog post is an individual page within a blog that focuses on a specific topic. The post is related to the overall theme of the blog; in our case, this is digital marketing.
According to backlinko.com, the average word count of a Google first page result is 1447 words. Additionally, they point out that comprehensive content strongly correlates with higher rankings. Add to this, research has shown that blog posts that are longer than 2,000 words tend to see more traffic than those with fewer words. Despite a societal trend to prefer digesting content that is 140 characters or less, the blog has survived—and thrived—as longform content!
Different styles of blogs include:
● Lifestyle blog
● Event recap blog
● Travel blog
● Fitness blog
● DIY blog
● Business blog
● Food blog
● Sports blog
● News blog
● Personal blog
● Gaming blog
Reasons You Should Hop on the Blogging Bandwagon
There are so many benefits to starting a blog for your business. Here are our top picks for reasons to hop on the blogging bandwagon:
Blogging helps you rank in search engines. Let’s take the example of having just launched a mid-sized landscaping business. In the first year or two of doing business, you blog regularly about topics relevant to the audience – backyard landscaping ideas, 5 tips to prepare your lawn for winter, dos and don’ts of weeding a garden…etc.Over time, as more people read, share, and return to the blog, and other businesses start to link to the articles, it shows that you are a legitimate source for information, boosting your ranking in search engines like Google or Bing. Next time a potential customer searches for a product or service related to your business, you will be more likely to pop up at the top of search results.
Blogs are shareable. All it takes is the copy and paste function to change a blog from an unvisited, standalone page to a social media sensation. Professional platforms like LinkedIn are a great space to share blogs with the audience. When content is shared to those in your customers’ network, it widens your pool of contacts and leads.
Blogging positions the company as an industry expert. Positioning a company as the industry expert can give you a big leg up over competitors. Blogs are a great way to show your knowledge of the industry, and share valuable and insightful information to your network. The best part? You don’t actually need to be an industry expert to be successful at this. Consider inviting other experts and contacts in the industry to contribute to your blog. This will help build trust with the audience, as it legitimizes the information you are sharing, and shows you have genuine connections with other leaders in the industry.
Blogging increases brand awareness. Brand recognition is an essential part of marketing. Through stimulating and informative content, blogging gives the audience a clear sense of the company’s values, tone, and character. Chances are, if someone is investing the time to read your blog, it’s probably because they have a passion or interest in the product. If you do your job right, and provide accurate and insightful information, prospects are more likely to remember the brand, and return to the site to glean information in the future. A blog does more than just inform the customer; it creates the building blocks on which a community can grow around the brand.
Blogging strengthens the relationship with existing customers. Blogging is a key way to engage and develop a back-and-forth relationship with customers. Customers can comment, like, and share blogs on virtually any platform. A recurring content schedule (like a bi-weekly or monthly blog) can help build trust with the audience, and have them rely on you for the information they need.
Blogging SEO Best Practices
Blog SEO is the process of adapting one’s blog, HTML code, and site architecture for search engines like Google or Bing. SEO for blogs can contribute to massive growth of a website, and the generation of countless new leads. Here are a few best practices to ensure a blog is optimized for SEO:
Publish longform articles. If there is one thing to know about Blog SEO, it is this: search engines love longform content. Articles with more than 2,000 to 3,000 words generally get 3 times more traffic,4 times more shares, and 3.5 times more backlinks than regular short-form content.
Optimize images and graphics. Did you know that articles with visual elements get 94 percent more views than those without? Adding graphics is necessary to making a blog stand out from the rest. Images should be compressed as much as possible (without sacrificing quality), and should include appropriate and accurate alt text to make them more accessible.
Always link internally. Internal links are important because they help Google better understand the information provided on a website. A linking hierarchy can help search engines determine which pages are most important on a site, and evaluate the navigational structure it provides for visitors. When used the right way, internal links can significantly boost a site’s ranking, and improve the user experience.
Target the right topics. It’s important to write blogs about topics with “search traffic potential,” meaning topics that people are actually searching, right now, in Google. Keyword research is a key piece to this SEO best practice. Analyzing the search volume of a certain keyword using a tool like Google Keyword Planner will help with this process.
Use transition words throughout the text. Search engines tend to give blogs a better ranking when they demonstrate readability. One way in which readability is measured is by analyzing the presence of transition words in the text. Transition words, like “Firstly,” or “Next,” or “In Conclusion,” are words that tie one paragraph to another, and help readers navigate through a blog.
Tips and Tricks for Building a Blog
Anyone can start a blog. All you need is a keyboard and an empty space to spill your digital ideas. It’s that simple! To ensure the best blog possible, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind:
Write for Real People. One of the biggest mistakes beginner bloggers often commit is losing sight of who they are writing for. It’s easy to get stuck in your own bubble when writing a blog; it’s not like you’ll ever meet the people who’ll read what you are writing. Take a sticky note and on it write out the key characteristics of your target audience. Are they young? Old? Upbeat? Introverted? Dog-loving? Cat-loving? Tech geeks? Outdoor enthusiasts? With a clear idea of who you are writing for, it will help ensure content resonates with them. Keep it simple with creating high quality content as outlined in our article, Best Practices in Content Marketing.
Don’t Let that Hard Work Go to Waste – Share Your Content! The work is not over once a blog has been published to the site. The next step is promoting the content on any and all appropriate social platforms. This might include sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram. These platforms make it easy to share content, so it appears on newsfeeds in your network.
Ensure Consistent Branding. It’s important to switch up the format of blogs once in a while. Some can be short, others longform. But always remember to produce content that reflects the branding. Design, style, and tone should all align with the original brand. That’s not to say you shouldn’t get creative, it just means you should be consistent.
Post Often. Research shows that posting 2 to 4 times per week gets you the best results in terms of traffic and conversions. Content should be well-written and informative (don’t blog for the sake of blogging)! Consider reserving one slow day each week to write blogs and stockpile for the future.
5 Fast Facts About Blogging
Here are a few interesting facts you probably didn’t know about blogging:
1. 77 percent of internet users read blogs.
2. B2B marketers who make blogging part of their strategy see 67 percent more leads than those who do not blog.
3. After publishing 21 to 54 blog posts, blog traffic generation has the potential to increase by up to 30 percent.
4. Out of all the content on the internet, blogs are rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate, reliable information.
5. 68 percent of users say they enjoy reading content from a brand they are interested in.
With the knowledge provided in this blogging article, we hope you feel confident to launch your own business blog! The benefits a blog can have on a business are infinite, from increasing brand awareness to boosting rankings in search engines to converting new leads. To learn more about blogging and what it can do for your organization, touch base with the team at PaintedRobot.
This article is part of an ongoing series; The Ultimate Guide for Content Marketing. Please see our other articles in this series for more details.