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How To Be A Successful Blogger
Although being a blogger is only a small part of what I do, I rather enjoy it. So, how to be a successful blogger then? Read on, Macduff.
I always say that blogging is great for getting your brand, your knowledge and your words of wisdom out there regularly, and it's a fabulous way to prove your authority and build trust with those you know.
"Want to be remembered as the go-to girl or guy in your industry? Start a blog!"
The first question I get asked when meeting new people is "what can I blog about?" Well, the answer is simple: blog about what you know and what you're good at.
You may think that's a bit generalist, but I don't know what you know:
If you're an architect, you could blog about projects you worked on in the past, create a more in-depth case study for projects you're currently working on, talk about trends in your industry, specific design techniques, or even how you see architecture develop in the future.
If you are a bookkeeper you could blog about the history of accounting, compare software packages currently available, write about how Making Tax Digital is changing things and keep your readers up to date on changes to tax as new legislation is announced. You could also review the Chancellor's annual Budget or even why it's essential to keep all of your receipts in order rather than stuffing them in a shoebox.
And finally, a wine merchant could blog about this season's harvest around the world and review different types of wine, especially if they have them on special offer or suddenly came across a large consignment they want to get rid of. In this case, remember to add links to your sales page so people can click through and buy the wines you're writing about.
There are many, many subjects that you can create a blog about!
As you're the one with the knowledge you've built up over the years, think about how you can help your readers. Blog post subjects that include the words, "How to" or "Top 10 ways to" usually get great open rates.
I recommend blog posts are around 750 words and give your reader something useful they can take away. And plan your posts around significant dates in the calendar (Christmas and Easter, for example) as well as dates that are important to you such as the anniversary you started your business.
Also, keep an eye on the news. If something happens, that is related to your industry, a hobby, or an event from your own life, then why not blog about it and give your take on what happened? If it's a disaster, do be thoughtful with your writing as you don't want to be seen cashing in on something horrible that happened, unless its a shortage of a particular type of product you have in stock at the moment.
"How do I start and structure my blog?"
Oh, there are as many ways to do this as there are grains of sand on a beach. You could use Blogger from Google, or create a Wordpress site and pick a template to use. You could also sign-up for services such as Medium or use LinkedIn Pulse to share your knowledge and wisdom.
Each way of doing it has its pros and cons, and it is worth researching this before getting down to writing. How good is the SEO of each platform? How well does it integrate with social media? How easy is it for you to create and publish a new post? All good questions and ones that you need to answer before you even type your first word.
Of course, Wordpress takes longer to set up than Medium, but Wordpress can give your more tools that Medium. Blogger has great SEO because it's integrated with Google, but try combining it with your website and you'll run into problems.
And you may not even want to produce blog posts using the written word. What if you're going to create a podcast on SoundCloud or build a video channel on YouTube? If you're in business, then talk to someone who knows about blogging, plogging and vlogging because each way of doing it gives you different results and has various benefits.
I believe the best way would be to build a hybrid blog where you create a video or audio file then put some written words around it to ensure Google gets the gist of what you're saying, improves your Googlejuice and ups your search engine ranking.
"So, Steffi, what are the do's and don't of blogging?"
Ok, well if you've read this far so, I shall give you some tips. Firstly, it doesn't matter if your blog is built into your website or not. As long as it's under the same domain name, then Google is fine with that. So, blog.yourdomain.com is equivalent to www.yourdomain.com/blog because both 'blog' and 'www' are sub-domains of yourdomain.com and Google just gets it.
I would say that whichever method you're going to use, make sure that at least 3 of your latest blog posts get featured on your website's homepage so Google can see things are regularly changing. Remember, Google loves fresh, regular new content.
Blog regularly too! Once a week is a great schedule, twice a week is better! But it's not just about throwing something together that's nothing more than a paragraph long. That's what social media is for - short, snappy posts - blogging takes a lot more thought!
Make sure each of your blog posts has a solid core of writing. Even if you're creating an audio or video hybrid post, it still needs a few keyword rich paragraphs of words as well as a title and a proper URL (web address) that makes it accessible.
Always include a great photo. Again, even audio/video hybrid blog posts will need an image although if the subject is interesting enough, you could pull a frame from a video. There are many, many stock libraries out there. I use 123RF.com (a proper stock library) and unsplash.com (more relaxed, creative imagery) to source my images.
Don't worry if your blog posts don't get high search engine rankings. Google has billions upon billions of pages, but you will find that your domain will start to get a higher ranking. It is strange that Google does this, however, blogging will have an effect. All of the clients I blog for are now on page 1 of Google, even if their blog posts don't rank individually.
And make sure that your blog posts are perfect. I'm talking about spelling and grammar as well as focus and flow. Now, spelling and grammar are obvious - who wants to read blog posts with lousy spelling and long, monotonous sentences? Focus means talking about one particular subject without flying off on tangents and flow means that it moves nicely from the introduction to the body to conclusions, again, without jumping around too much.
And remember ... your blog post is not a sales pitch! Yes, you can talk about what you do, but write from the position of solving a prospect's problem. Sales pitches get seen through straight away and if that's all you're doing week in, week out, your readership will plummet.
There are so many tips I could give you from my own experiences, but I do this for a living, so if you want to hear more insights, then come and have a coffee with me!
"How to maximise the effectiveness
of your blog"
Well, where do I start? There are lots of ways to maximise the effectiveness of your blog. Firstly, I'd have to say blog regularly! I really can't say that enough. Many people start with a lot of momentum, even publishing more than one blog post a week, but then the excitement runs out and new blog posts become few and far apart until, inevitably, it stops. There's nothing worse than observing the death of a blog, especially when early posts are so good.
Although I say that blog posts are more for people than they are for Google, you still need to think about the SEO. Find a keyphrase for your blog post and include it in a number of places:
In the main text at least 5 times
In the last paragraph
In the image caption (ALT tag)
This is what Google requires as far as anyone can figure out (they're very cagey about telling people the exact rules) so as good practice, this is what I do with my own clients' blog posts.
Pick a good image! Although you may think that Google is more interested in words rather than pictures, remember that Google Image Search is probably the 2nd biggest search engine in the world. Visual people may search for a particular image first before clicking through to a blog post, so make sure your ALT tag is set up right as well.
And share it on social media too. If you're a LinkedIn lover, copy the URL of your newly published blog post, then drop it into a group and start a conversation around it. Only do this once into each particular group, but it's ok to generally share it to your LinkedIn feed once every couple of days.
As for Facebook, post it to your personal timeline every day (as long as you're posting other stuff too) until a new blog post is published, every couple of days to your business Page and even set it as an announcement in your group.
You may also want to consider boosting your blog posts on Facebook. Organic reach is dropping dramatically as Facebook want you to pay to play, so even if you bung a tenner a week to 'everyone who likes your page and their friends' then you'll get ten times the reach.
And with Twitter, well, everyday as long as each tweet is slightly different. Twitter won't publish the same thing over and over as it deems it spammy. Saying that, Facebook won't either. You could also create an Instagram post around your blog post, but you do have to do it in the app which is a bit fiddly.
And what about email? Well, you can build a mailer using platforms such as MailChimp and Aweber and send it out to your lists. However, remember that since GDPR you can't just send them out willy-nilly. You need a mailing list that is engaged or you'll be treated as a spammer by mail servers and find your messages consigned to the junk folder.
Whatever direction you choose to go with your blog, I always say that if your website is your shop window, then your blog is the front door, helping you to build trust and authority and convincing people they really do want to buy from you ... so it's worth doing right!
Remember, whether you choose blogging, plogging or vlogging - or some sort of hybrid - it takes time, and it has to be done properly. Going solo, you can expect to spend a minimum of 4 hours a week writing, editing, sourcing an image, optimising, checking and publishing your blog post. Add in a few more hours to your online marketing if you're going to share it and send it by email.
"So, finally, my two best pieces of advice!"
And if you've read this far then thanks. My first best piece of advice is never, ever give up. Blog regularly and build your audience using social media and email. It's a marathon not a sprint, and it does take time to see tangible results ... a bare minimum of 6 months.
And lastly, think about your hourly rate and consider getting someone else to do it for you! How much would it cost you to spend 4, 5 or 6 hours a week getting your blog post out there week in, week out when it could take you just 20-minutes a week if you were to work with someone like me? It's a no-brainer really, isn't it?
"Would you like to know more?"
If you want to know more about how to be a successful blogger and increase the trust and authority of your business, do give me a call on 0333 335 0420 or click the Messenger Icon in the bottom right of your screen to chat and let's see how I can help you.
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