Having a blog can be useful for your business. It can potentially help you reach customers and prospects and make sales. But just posting blog content won’t make your blog accomplish your goals. Follow these tips to make your blog the best it can be and to get it seen.
1. Choose a topic
Choosing a great topic for your blog is really important.
Ideally, you will choose a topic that 1) you can write a lot about (either from experience or interest), and 2) is popular or growing with a group of people you understand and can connect with.
So, what kinds of topics should you choose from?
We once surveyed our audience about what they were going to start a blog about, and they delivered with 81 blog topic ideas. Do the same with your audience. Then, start with their ideas for inspiration if you’re having trouble coming up with an idea on your own.
Once you have a topic in mind, don’t worry if it doesn’t feel perfect. You can always adjust later, or even change your mind completely. You can always start somewhat broad now, then narrow things down as you discover more about your audience and yourself.
2. Name your blog
Choosing a name can be tough. Finding a domain name that goes with your chosen name can make things even harder.
We have found there are two approaches that work to naming your blog. These also apply to naming a business:
1) Choose something you can grow into. Select it quickly and move on.
2) Or, follow a process and use our name evaluator.
The important thing is that you don’t get stuck here. I’ve seen people give up on starting a blog simply because they couldn’t find the perfect name. So silly. For now, just choose a name that is good enough and move on. You can always change it later. I’ve changed blog names several times and it wasn’t a big deal.
3. Set up your website and blog
You can set up your website and blog easily using the ZenBusiness website builder. The website builder gives you a template library and customization tools that will allow you to create the best website and blog for your small business.
4. Write your first blog posts
Before you launch your blog, you should have some posts published for people to read. How many blog posts should you write before you announce your blog to the world? I would aim for 3-5. Just enough to show people what your blog will have in store for them.
So, what should you write about first?
The topics you choose for your blog posts are actually a huge part of how your blog grows. It’s what you write about as well as how you write about it that will make your blog great.
We recommend coming up with at least 10 content ideas that you could use for your first blog posts. For each idea, you should write down a sentence or phrase to describe the overall concept plus several bullet points about the main concepts of the post, so you don’t forget later.
You don’t have to stop at 10, if the juice is running and you feel like it, write down more, as many as you can!
But don’t stress too much about trying to come up with the only the best ideas. These post ideas don’t have to be your 10 viral hits, or your 10 deepest cuts. However, you would do well to spend a little time thinking about this strategy.
Think about what your audience needs right now. Are there any topics that are big enough you could break into a series of posts? Which ones do you think would be most helpful for your audience in the beginning.
5. Craft good headlines
Here’s something every blogger needs to know: headlines are insanely important.
A headline has to grab the reader’s attention enough to click on a link or to start reading your article. That’s the headline’s job. It doesn’t matter if you have the cure to cancer in the post, if your headline doesn’t do its job, your content isn’t going to even get the chance to make an impact.
We need to spend some time on our headlines. Good headlines take some work. They need to be shaped and molded and fooled around with. In fact, in advertising it’s normal to come up with 100 headline ideas for a single ad. They know it matters that much.
Now, you don’t have to write 100 versions of each headline, but it would be smart to write at least 3, if not more, versions of each headline. This gets you really thinking about this topic and how you can grab your reader’s attention.
Consider how people discover blog posts. The two most common ways someone will find one of your articles is either by searching in a search engine, or by seeing it on social media. In either case, your headline will stand completely alone, maybe with a single supporting sentence. That’s all a potential reader will have, to decide whether your link is worth clicking on. Of course, once your headline does its job of pulling someone in, your article has to live up to the promise your headline made, but that’s the next step.
6. Write the Posts
So what’s left to do is simply to sit and write out the rough drafts.
There’s this big myth about the creative process that applies to writers, artists and creatives of all kinds. We imagine creativity as something we wait for, like a surfer watching for the next big set to roll through.
But real writing doesn’t work like that. If you sit around and wait for creativity to grace you with its presence, you won’t produce consistently enough to feed your blog the vital words it needs to thrive.
So, instead, we’re simply going to focus on the practice of writing. Take off all that pressure to hit a homerun. Your goal right now is simply to have a lot of at-bats. The heartbeat of blogging is showing up and consistently producing useful stuff for your audience.
Here are a few tips to help your writing:
Don’t wait for inspiration, just sit down and start writing.
Your posts can be long or short. Make them just as long as they need to be to accomplish your goal for each post.
- Don’t wait for inspiration. Just sit down and start writing.
- Write first, edit later. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, etc. on your first pass. Just get everything out and edit when you’re finished.
- Write to be scanned. Writing for the web is best when it’s scannable. This means keeping your paragraphs short (2-3 sentences max), and using plenty of sub-headings, bolded sections, lists, quotes and other elements to keep the flow interesting.
7. SEO your content
SEO is search engine optimization. Although SEO is a complex subject, the basics of SEO revolve around creating content and headlines that is related to the queries searchers type into search engines. To SEO your content, think about the terms people use to describe what you sell or what you’re writing about, and incorporate those terms into your post title, headlines, and text. Incorporating those words will help the search engines identify match your post to search queries, and get your content found.
When you decide to use SEO content when creating your blog, you will need to take the time to figure out the correct word to use that relates to your blog. For instance, for instance, if you’re a piano teacher, you’d want to blog about “playing the piano” or “piano lessons” instead of “playing a musical instrument” or “learning to play musical instrument”.
8. Use photos
After you have finished your blog, it is a good idea to add a photo or image tthat relates to what you have just written. This is a great way to catch the reader’s eye and get an idea of what they are about to read.
9. Be Consistent
Once you start reeling in the viewers, you will find that they are always waiting for more. To keep all of your readers happy, you will need to post your blogs on a consistent basis.
10. Publicize your blog
SEO is only part of what it takes to get visitor to come to your site and read your blog. You also have to publicize the blog. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Build an email list and send an email to the list each time you publish a new blog entry.
- Post links to your blog entries on social media
- Include a link to your blog in your email signature
- Add social media share buttons to your pages
- Add a link to your blog on your business card