These days, it’s fairly common to see a blog on a business website. But if you aren’t blogging already, you may wonder why and how you should start.
- Blogging is a friendly way to engage with your customers, prospective customers, and industry peers.
- Blogging is generally great for SEO. Whenever you publish new content, you’re driving new search engine traffic to your site.
Recommended Guidelines to Follow
If you’re going to start a blog, you need to either make a general commitment or stick to a set schedule. While there are no rules for how often you must post, a long delay between posts (e.g. months) may give the appearance that you’re neglecting your business. Posting once a week is often a good goal to start with.
You don’t have to post every day, or even every week, but if you’re letting a month go by between posts, you may not want to make your blog as prominent on your website. You could rename the blog page to “Updates” or something that implies a lower frequency. You may also want to hide the publication date from the top of the article and from any Recent Posts or similar widgets.
There are no rules for how long or short a post needs to be, but you should make sure the content is valuable. Think about your target audience, and if they would find the post worth reading. Make sure you write in the appropriate “voice” – for example, you probably don’t want to use slang. You don’t want to inadvertently undermine your business credibility. If the post is of a trivial nature, you may want to publish it via social media instead of on your company website.
Get the Most Out of Your Blog
If you are writing a blog, you have probably taken a step into social media as well. When you publish a blog post, you usually want to announce it on your social media accounts. Typically, you might write a brief excerpt with a link to the blog post. On Twitter, you will probably need to use a URL shortener, in order to stay within the character limit and have room for a brief description. On Facebook, you may want to look at the Networked Blogs app, and on LinkedIn you may want to look at the WordPress or TypePad apps. Or you can also use an external service such as TwitterFeed to automatically publish your posts to Facebook and Twitter.
You should also use your blog posts to leverage your visitors’ social reach. If you include Facebook Like, Twitter Tweet, and LinkedIn Share buttons on your blog posts, some of your visitors may click to share your blog post. Then the people in their networks will see the link to your post, and some of them may click through, and maybe even become future customers.
To enhance your posts, you should also incorporate images and links to other websites or relevant pages/posts on your own website, where appropriate. You may want to include a list of recent or popular posts in the sidebar. In WordPress, there is a plugin called the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, which can add a list of related posts to each of your posts. It uses an algorithm to determine “relatedness,” based on the content of your posts. Enhancements like these usually lead your visitors to read more posts on your website, and can significantly increase their level of engagement.