[This article originally appeared in IoD Suffolk magazine]
Research by Hubspot found that from 2009 to 2011 the percentage of businesses with a blog grew from 48% to 65%. In reality, if your business does not have a blog that is frequently updated you are missing an opportunity to increase your online presence.
Gone are the days when the company blog was seen as a ‘nice to have’. They now form a crucial element of a business’s social media and search optimisation strategy. In order to drive traffic to your website – and to increase sales – your online presence must be more powerful than that of your competitors. When a potential customer searches for a professional or business in your industry you want your name to come near the top of the list not at the bottom of page 10. This is done through effective search engine optimisation.
Google and other search engines such as Yahoo no longer solely use keywords to determine where your company should appear on their search pages. They now use advanced algorithms to assess how frequently you post and update your website and the quality of the content you post. This may seem daunting but a blog linked to your website is an excellent way to add relevant content quickly and easily.
What to include
Your blog should include some, if not all, of the following essential elements:
- Descriptive titles – make sure your posts come up in readers’ searches by using keywords that are as descriptive and direct as possible.
- About section–gives readers the opportunity to learn more about your business.
- Contact information – email and physical addresses give readers multiple ways to contact you and will provide legitimacy to your blog.
- Links to social media pages – your blog must be a key part of your digital strategy. Use your blog as a vehicle for building fans on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn and followers on Twitter by including links to your social media pages on every page of your blog.
- Email subscription – if you use email marketing then include an email subscription form on the blog. This will enable you to compile a database of readers, who you can effortlessly notify of new blog posts and special offers.
- Search function – as you continue to post and increase the amount of your content you will want to make sure you give readers a chance to find posts quickly on specific topics by including a search function.
- Categories and subcategories–help readers identify all your posts regarding specific topics.
- Relevant links–to other blogs or websites that you think your readers will find useful.
How to manage your blog
To manage your blog you need a content management system (CMS). This allows the publishing and editing of content to your site without the need to know any coding. There are many different options when deciding on a CMS, with our personal favourite being WordPress.
Adding your blog to your website rather than having a separate site for it benefits you by reinforcing your brand and also helps build backlinks to your website throughout the web from people sharing your content. The more backlinks you have to your website the better it is for your search engine rankings. Integrating your blog into your website also keeps things simple in that you have to maintain only one website.
Your website is the heart of your online marketing and is a valuable asset. It doesn’t make good business sense to send people somewhere else to read your articles.
Rubious are a web design and marketing agency in Ipswich.