For years, blogs have been a fantastic way to boost marketing for small and large businesses alike. They can drive direct sales, identify you as an expert in your field, and boost your overall marketing strategy.
But you can’t just throw together any old combination of words. You have to have some kind of a strategy to make the most of this opportunity for your business.
Here are some top tips for writing an effective blog.
1. Write Relevant & Interesting Content
This one should be fairly obvious, but it’s not always.
Some people seem to think that blogs are all about keyword stuffing so that Google will rank you for the topic of your choice. While this may have worked once upon a time, Google is now much cleverer.
While keywords are undoubtedly important for helping Google identify your subject and show your blog to relevant people, it’s not enough. When the search engine puts your content in front of those people, it also wants them to be interested enough to actually read it. So if you’re content is engaging and more-ish, then people will want to read it and Google will give you more visibility.
And it’s not all about Google rankings, either. If you can demonstrate to your website visitors that you know your subject and can give them something that they find informative and/or interesting, they’re more likely come back to buy your product or service.
Another error I regularly see is short blogs on irrelevant topics. Writing a blog just for the sake of writing a blog is a waste of time and will get you nowhere. It can take time and effort to think of good topics and write a decent blog about them, and if you’re not going to do that then you may as well write nothing at all.
2. Check for Good Grammar and Spelling
When your website is littered with bad grammar and spelling, it not only makes you look unprofessional but can make your blog difficult and confusing to read.
A simple spellcheck is the first thing to do to remedy this, but is not a perfect solution. You should also always read through your blog when you’ve finished to pick up any errors, or to identify any places where your sentences may not make sense.
If you’re not so good with spelling and grammar, I’d highly recommend getting some help. A virtual assistant will often be able to support you with this kind of work.
3. Optimise for Search Engines
A big reason for including a blog on your website is so that you rank for the right search terms on Google. And in order to do that, you should make sure your blog is fully optimised.
There’s lots you can do to optimise both your blog specifically and your website as a whole. Some things you can do to get started include:
- Use relevant keywords, especially in your title and your first paragraph. But don’t jam keywords in where they aren’t needed.
- Use a good structure with relevant headings.
- Add relevant and accurate ALT tags to all and any images you use.
- Make sure your images aren’t too huge, otherwise they’ll slow down your page load.
- Write a blog that’s at least 300 words long.
- Ensure everything is optimised for mobile.
4. Make Use of Images
Images are great! They can brighten up a long blog, help you demonstrate a point, and break up your content so it’s not all text.
As always, though, they should be used in the right kind of way.
If you have lots of images for your business, that’s fantastic. If you don’t, think about arranging a photographer to take some that are on brand. A regular refresh of your images can be very useful if you can afford it.
If that’s not possible for you, then there are stock images available (check out my Facebook post on where to find some great free stock images). These can be really useful, but try not to overuse them, especially if they are very obviously stock (you know the type I mean: fixed smiles, plain white background, perfect suits, handshaking…):
Images can also include things like graphs and infographs. It’s not all about photos.
You should also make sure you add ALT tags to each image: this tells Google what’s happening in the photos and helps people with accessibility needs get a better feel for your website. So make sure that the tags are accurate – this is not a place to try more keyword stuffing!
Finally, make sure that your images look good but aren’t too big. They should be easily viewable on screens of all size, without an obvious loss of quality. At the same time, make sure the file size isn’t too large. JPG images are generally better than PNG images because they tend to be a smaller file size.
5. Include Internal Links
What happens when a visitor is finished reading your blog? Chances are, if you don’t have something to capture their attention and direct them to other parts of your website, they’ll continue their journey of the great world wide web elsewhere.
Internal links are a great way of connecting your reader to other topics that may interest them. You can link throughout your blog to relevant topics: for example, if you’re overwhelmed by the thought of writing an excellent blog, did you know that I can do this for you? Or you’ll see at the end of each of my blogs that I include a list of my other blog posts that the reader might be interested in looking at next.
As well as keeping users on your site, making it more likely that they will take a desired action, internal links helps Google find structure, which will help it display you more effectively in its search results.
6. Add Outbound Links
Although you might worry that linking to an external site will lead customers away from your own site, outbound links can actually be incredibly useful. Just make sure you force the links to open in a new tab, so you don’t lose the user to another website.
If you’re writing a blog on a specific topic, linking to external, high-quality sources for your information demonstrates that your content is verifiable and increases your site’s trustability. And, you never know, you may get a link back, which is also great news!
Check out this post by Yoast, which goes into more detail about the uses of outbound links.
7. Remember A Call to Action
You’ve done it! You’ve created an amazing blog! You’re fully search engine optimised, you’re seeing lots of traffic, you’re ranking on Google.
No one’s taking the action that you want them to. Whether that’s buying a product, making contact, or sharing your post, it’s a bummer that you’ve put so much work in to not get the results you want.
The thing is, you have to TELL people what you want, and ASK them to do it. Like in any good relationship, communication is key.
When writing a blog, make sure you have a call to action so your reader knows what to do next. A link to another blog, a contact button, a sign-up form, a share button. There are lots of calls to action to choose from, just pick the right one for you!
So, a brief summary. To write an effective blog that will engage your audience and encourage them to take action, you should:
- Write relevant & interesting content;
- Check for good grammar and spelling;
- Optimise for search engines;
- Make use of images;
- Include internal links;
- Add outbound links; and
- Remember a call to action.
Did you find this blog post useful? Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date with all my tips and news. Or take a look at my Virtual Assistant services to see how I can help you free up more time in your day.