An on-site blog can be hugely beneficial to any brand or business that is based both on and offline. As a way of supporting your website, an on-site blog can improve search engine rankings, increase visibility, increase website traffic and build a loyal and engaged customer base.
Of course, this is all part of the bigger picture – having a fully responsive website, stylish branding and expertly written copy optimized for SEO is key. An on-site blog can enhance this though, ensuring that those looking for your services or products find you, engage with your brand, and share your content with all of their friends and followers.
When you’re putting time, energy and even money into building up your on-site blog, it’s important to be sure that your efforts are going to pay off. Get your website working harder, by creating a successful on-site blog. Here’s how…
1. Create Valuable Content
One of the most important aspects of any successful on-site blog is the content. It’s important to keep both your customer and Google engaged and happy by regularly publishing quality content.
When you are writing your blog posts, it’s important to keep a few things in mind – demand, your audience, and shareability. This is why:
Demand: Unless people are looking for your content, or you’re covering a topic that people will want to read about, they won’t find it, and they won’t read it. No matter how many times you share the post on social media and no matter how well you’ve optimized your blog post for search, if people aren’t interested, they won’t click through. Discover in-demand topics by using tools such as BuzzSumo and GoogleTrends. Here you can find out the most searched, clicked and shared posts at that time, and craft your content around what people are looking for.
Audience: When it comes to blogging, you’re not blogging to get anyone and everyone through to your website. The end goal here is always to find someone who is actually interested in what you do, or at the very least someone who wants to share your content with people who are interested in what you do. When you are coming up with ideas for your next blog post, always ask yourself what your audience might want to hear. If in doubt, ask them!
Shareability: Social shares are an important indicator to Google. In addition, the more social shares your content gets, the more visible it will become. Consider the kind of content that your audience will want to share with their followers. Checkout BuzzSumo to see what kind of posts are gaining the most social shares for inspiration in your niche.
2. Optimize for Search
One of the most valuable benefits of having an on-site blog is that it helps to boost your search engine rankings. It’s important to keep up with Google algorithms and the latest updates to ensure your content is working as hard as possible.
Currently, Google favors long-form blog posts, looks at keywords as well as LSI keywords, your click-through-rate, dwell time and social indicators. This means that you should currently be aiming to publish posts of around 1,000-2,000 words, using one focus keyword, as well as linked keywords to make the blog post seem as in-depth as possible. In addition, you want to make your blog post look as attractive as possible in search engines, and also encourage people to stay on your page for as long as possible and share your content.
To outline the most effective keywords to optimize your content for try the Google Keyword Planner, and for LSI keywords try LSIGraph. Long-form content will help people stay on your page for longer, and make sure you input your meta description and title tag to make your search engine listing more attractive.
3. Focus on Design and Functionality
Just like the content you create is important, the design and functionality of your blog page are key too. A website that doesn’t work properly or is visually unappealing will only result in people clicking back off your page quickly. This will undo all of your hard work creating on-trend, in-demand, and optimized content.
When someone clicks through to your blog post and quickly clicks back, this indicates to Google that the content might be of poor quality, or not relevant to the search term. This will result in your search rankings dropping so that less and fewer people find your content. In addition, you will find that all your hard work on your blog amounts to very little. Great design and functionality will help with SEO, social shares, increasing traffic and converting readers into paying customers.
If you’re currently blogging or you are considering adding an on-site blog to your website, it’s important to address any design issues first. Beautiful branding, functional and responsive design and a website that’s easy to use are key to creating a highly successful blog.
The design of your blog page is important too. Make it easy for people to find what they are looking for by introducing blog categories and an easy to use navigation. Encourage social shares with buttons that move down the post as you scroll. Add featured posts to the home page of your website. Introduce buttons so that it’s easy to click on the next post when you reach the end of a blog post, it all counts.
– As humans we are visual creatures, meaning we are naturally drawn to images over text. Make your blog posts visually appealing by adding on-brand images throughout the text to break it up. Make sure you include an eye-catching featured image
– Share your content with your audience to increase social shares and post views. Every time you publish a new post share it via social media. Don’t be afraid to reshare older posts too. As long as they are still relevant, you can create a new image for social media to make the content look brand new
– Make it easy for people to comment on your posts with a comment box at the end of each page. Encourage comments by asking questions at the end of your posts and get conversations started.
When done well, an on-site blog can be hugely beneficial to growing businesses and brands. If you’re yet to start, consider adding blogging to your digital marketing strategy this year.
Guest post by Eilidh MacRae
Eilidh MacRae is a freelance content creator and digital marketing expert, providing her services to businesses, blogs and brands worldwide. Eilidh specialises in blog marketing and social media marketing, creating content to help you grow your business online.