Everyone starts blogs, enthusiastically putting together favourite recipes and sharing their knowledge about local history. We all know what happens next, don’t we?
Ideas run dry, time is short and the blog quickly becomes a millstone around your neck. If your blog is a personal affair then this isn’t so bad, the web is full of these ghost sites, just sailing on waiting for the captain to return. But if your blog is a business blog, then this is another matter entirely; a neglected website gives a poor impression to your customers and has the potential to negatively impact your business.
Customers are likely to check your company out online before they make contact directly, so treat your website like a well-designed shop display. Your blog posts are the ever-changing window dressing that encourage your customers to stop and look, not walk on by to the frequently refreshed site one click away; it is worth investing a little time and effort on what should be one of your key sales tools. After all, every blog post is another indexed page on your site, adding to your web presence and increasing your visibility with search engines, so it makes sense to maintain a well-managed blog.
How do you make a blog work for you, then? Well, give some thought to a blogging routine; can you manage one blog post a week? A fortnight? Once a blogging routine becomes a habit you will find a sense of focus begins to emerge and you will be creating and drafting blog posts in readiness for your regular publication day. Use the weekly blog to showcase occasional guest posts, as a platform for social media marketing and to share the answers to questions your customers didn’t realise they had. It is a great space for a call to action; tell your customer why they want your services right here!
And on the subject of customers……… do give some thought to what they may want to read. Blogs are friendly beasts with naturally warm personalities; if they sound too corporate, or have only the driest company news to impart then you aren’t treating them kindly. Shame on you! Your customers will not return for a second look and they won’t remember to check for updates. But an affable tone and engaging posts will not only keep the visitors coming, they will share your posts, building some very welcome brand awareness.
What do you write about? Well, if it interests you, it will probably interest your readers. Keep a notebook, jot down ideas as and when they occur and you’ll be well on your way. Remember, everybody loves a great story – so tell us some wonderful anecdotes. Those sweet pea seeds you sell by post? Don’t just tell me how they look beautiful and flower all season; tell me how I can arrange them in a vase to show them at their best, tell me how they got their name and what kind of trellis and willow supports I may want to buy to support them…… tell me how the scent fills the garden when you sit out with a G&T on a warm summer evening……… Okay, where do I click to buy these amazing sweet peas……?
Support your stories with some great photos, use videos and include social media widgets to give your reader a lot of interesting information to look at and opportunities to link to other areas of your site. Use Google Analytics to check out the habits of your visitors – what are the popular pages? A good, clear URL breadcrumb trail will help you to identify which pages are proving to be the most attractive, and help you to write the kind of blog posts your customers really want to read.
Still a little uncertain? Then outsource your blogging to someone who can provide you with content written especially for you and your business. Let a fresh pair of eyes look at your site and come up with some novel ideas, inspiring stories and killer content. Once you see the benefits you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.