Once you’ve decided to start a blog, outline your goals and map out a plan just as you would with any other marketing initiative. One of the keys to a successful blog is engaging with your target audience and developing relevant, new content on a regular basis that provides some “value-added” benefits. Whether you are just getting started or have already been blogging for a while, the tips outlined below are best practices and should come in handy for developing a successful blog.
1. Post Frequently
Develop unique content that will connect with your audience and publish new posts on a regular basis. If you don’t update your blog with new content what reason do people have to visit. The more frequently you post new content, the more reason there is for people to visit again and again. Think of all of the different topics that may appeal to your readers such as: Tip of the Week, FAQ’s (frequently asked questions), Upcoming Events, Specials, Community News…the list goes on and on. The bottom line is that you want to provide content that your readers find interesting or valuable.
In addition, its not just your readers that like new content…the search engines like to see new content on websites and blogs. Finally, create a calendar for your blog so that you can plan out future topics and take into consideration seasonality and your marketing events/milestones for the year.
2. Keep It Brief
Blog posts are usually written in a more casual conversation tone than articles and just like you wouldn’t want to drone on and on during a verbal conversation, you don’t want to bore your readers with too many details that they’d get lost in. The key is keeping your blog articles brief, approximately 500 words or so as readers online typically prefer to digest smaller snippets of content that they can read and respond to quickly.
Blog posts that are shorten in length have a higher chance of attracting and retaining a sizable audience. From an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) perspective, it is important to write at least 250 words and even better if you can keep it closer to 500 words. You want to avoid trying to communicate too many thoughts or ideas in a single blog post. Instead, consider breaking them up into a series of blog posts.
3. Use a Catchy Headline
Just like a newspaper headline, you want your blog posts to have a catchy headline that will draw in your readers. Consider a benefit statement (what’s in it for me) or another popular method is “Top 10” or “Top 5” lists. As we mentioned above, blog posts tend to be a more casual type of communication so feel free to experiment, have fun and use some humor to capture some attention. The key is to make sure that the blog post content actually reflects or expands on the topic outlined in headline.
4. Use Interesting Images
In order to make your blog posts more appealing to readers, incorporate eye-catching images that are relevant to your content. It is a quick and easy way to make your blog posts more interesting. Consider using your own photos (if they are good quality) or there are a number of low cost or free stock photography providers where you have thousands of great images to choose from. Be creative and have fun!
5. Include Top Keywords
Anytime that you are creating content online you should always incorporate your top keywords and this is especially true when it comes to your blog posts. You want to include your top keywords within the blog post itself as well as in the meta tags, description and keywords field for each post to help with SEO.
6. Include Links
Another best practice is to include links within your blog and/or website that make it very easy for your readers to learn more For example, you can link to relevant products or services that you may have mentioned within your blog post to specific landing pages with your website. Another idea is to link to past articles on similar subjects.
7. Include Videos
If you have developed any videos for your business or organization, include them in your blog posts as a way to gain ever higher visibility. Blog posts and websites that include videos tend to have a much higher “engagement” rate with their audience. People are more likely to watch an interesting video compared to reading a lengthy article.
For example, if you’re a plumber include DIY (do-it-yourself) video tips to provide a great resource for both existing customers as well as prospective customers that visit your website.
8. Use Bullet Points, Italics and Bold Font
You want to make your blog post easy to read at a glance and some techniques for doing so include:
- use bullet points
- use italics
- use bold font
9. Guest Authors
A great way to change up the content and/or provide value- added strategic content development is to work with a strategic partner and have them provide a guest blog article. For example, a chiropractor could feature tips from a Pilates studio instructor and vice versa.
10. Use Tags
Tags provide a way to easily group related posts together and to quickly tell readers what a post is about. Your categories are more broad like a table of contents and can encompass smaller, more defined topics, such as tags. A tag is more specific and relates to particular items you discussed within a blog post. A tag is usually only one or two words and reflects the keyword within the article. Plus, using tags helps readers finding more specific topics using the search feature within blogs.