How to create a business blog
By Neil Hocking on July 12, 2016 - News, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Startup website
If you’re a business trying to raise your Google rank and generate new leads, there’s a good chance you’ve come across an ‘SEO how-to’ which recommends a regularly updated business blog. While this might sound like a hassle and a chore, especially if you’re not a naturally inclined writer, it doesn’t have to be as hard as its sounds and when done right will pay off.
Regularly blogging (even just once a month) useful information is good for business as it sends signals to Google that your site is being updated with fresh content and that you’re sharing content which has value. These two factors are very important as it will encourage Google’s bots to push your site up the search rankings and keep visitors coming back for more.
The most common blog types can be boiled down to a simple formula, so simple that all you have to do is fill in the blanks with expert knowledge. Follow our suggestions below to kick-start your business blog and remove the boredom from blogging.
Define your audience
Before putting fingertips to keyboard it’s worth sitting down for five minutes and just thinking about who your audience is. The answer to this may be easy if your business has a very defined audience (for example if you sell wedding dresses), or it might require some more thought if your business appeals to many different people, say if you run a garage.
So if you’re a wedding dress retailer you know you’ll be dealing mostly with women, who fit into a specific age range, and can afford fancy wedding dresses. They probably won’t be interested in a how-to explaining how to make their own wedding dress but will probably like looking at a selection of links to dresses that are currently in fashion which you’ve curated.
On the other hand, if you’re a garage owner you might find that a top ten list of your favourite spark plugs may appeal to a limited number of people, while many more people will appreciate tips on how to improve their fuel-efficiency or when they need to change their tyres.
Decide on the Format
When it comes to writing a business blog, there are three main areas that most posts fall into, these are:
If something exciting has happened at your company recently, at the time you’re deciding what to write, the news blog should be your first choice. You’ll have all the information to hand, hopefully some pictures, and then all you have to do is put everything together. It doesn’t matter if it’s only something short, and it doesn’t have to be a long essay. What matters is keeping users informed about your business through quality content.
If it’s been business as usual and there’s nothing interesting to report, consider sharing expert knowledge that might be helpful to your audience or content that has recently inspired you in the form of a how-to. You might not want to give all your secrets away but the how-to may include a guide to using or maintaining your product, or how-to do something related to what you’re selling.
Curated content can take the form of a numbered list which could point to something you’ve found which might be of interest to your audience, or it could simply highlight an inspiring piece of content you’ve found. You may be sharing content which someone else has created but you’re giving it extra value with your expert seal of approval. Curating content in the form of a numbered list is an engaging and fun way of sharing useful information with your customers. The Numbered List can also be used as a way of sharing your own knowledge. If sharing something that’s inspired you, explain why it’s been so valuable and how it has helped you to improve your business.
As a starting point, think about what’s happening in your bookmarks bar. Often articles that you’ve kept for future reference can be great sources of information and inspiration for your own blogs.
Build your Business Blog
Before you’ve written your first sentence you need to lay some solid foundations. Write the headline first then divide your idea into at least three subheadings. Don’t think too much about this at first, you can always improve the headings when you come to edit, and if nothing clever comes to mind just write down what your article is literally about in the most concise way possible and do the same for each section’s subheading.
Title: New blog on how to write blogs posted
Subheading 1: Summary of the who and what
Who (wrote it?)
What (did they write?)
Subheading 2: Summary of the where and why
Where (can I read it?)
Why (did they write it?)
Subheading 3: Summary of the when
When (can I read it)
Title: How to write a book
Subheading 1: Writing a beginning
Subheading 2: Writing a middle
Subheading 3: Writing an ending
Title: Here’s something interesting we found
Link (or links) to content with an explanation of why it’s useful/inspirational
These basic structures will give you an outline for your blog and provide spaces to fill in the blanks. Being confronted with a blank page can be the most challenging part of writing a blog, but it’s much easier when there’s a few words on the page saying “write this thing here…”
If you’re still not sure about how to start the blog don’t worry about writing in order, start with whichever section you think will be easiest and carry on from there. And if you’ve got an idea but aren’t sure where to put it just write it down anyway and work out where it goes later.
Often the hardest part of writing a blog will be deciding how to start it, but instead of spending hours stuck at this stumbling block fast-forward to the part of the article which will be the easiest. And if you’re really stuck, write the ending first.
Worry about making the blog good after it’s written. As long as all the information you want is down on the page the more technical grammatical things like sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling can all be tackled after the stress of actually writing the thing is out of the way.
One way of making sure the blog flows ok and is user-friendly, i.e. easy to read, is reading it out loud. This will force you to think about the words you’ve just written and any problems in the way it’s been structured (and quite possibly a few typos as well) will become apparent.
Double check spellings of words you’re not sure of, especially if they’re specific to your field, and try and keep your paragraphs to a reasonable length of around 4 – 5 lines (and definitely no more than 7 – 10). After you’ve finished, get someone else to read what you’ve written – if possible someone with a good eye for grammar.
It should go without saying that your finished blogs should never ever ever contain material copied and pasted from a source other than your own brain (unless of course you’re quoting someone) and any external sources you mention or reference should always be linked to, especially if you’re sharing other people’s content.
If your business blog has been structured well, there shouldn’t be any huge walls of text which can be intimidating to a reader. A great way of breaking up your blog posts is to add images, which can add extra value to your blogs if it’s original and good quality photography. Pictures can also add value in a blog post and can help to boost traffic if they rank well in Google’s image search.
It’s ok to use other people’s images as long as you have permission or the image is in the public domain or available for commercial use under a creative commons license. Sites like Wikimedia Commons are a great source of free images which clearly state the terms for using them.
Writing blogs based around your website’s keywords can be a great way to boost traffic for a particular search term. Include your chosen keyword in the blog’s title, and use it about once to twice every 250–300 words to help it rank well in Google. Don’t use it too often though as not only will it look suspicious to Google but it will become apparent to readers that you’re overusing it and the tech savvy among them will see what you’re trying to do.
If you don’t know about keywords take a look at our article on improving your keyword SEO, if you’ve already got a list of keywords in your head you can start using them as inspiration for your next blog.
Another way to optimise your posts is to make sure that the images you embed in it are a reasonable size – around 100-500kb and never more than 1mb. Images which have a large file size will load slowly and could negatively affect your website ranking.
Post it, read it, share it
If you’re happy with the blog you’ve written, linked to all your sources and optimised it, there’s nothing left to do but post it. The work doesn’t stop after you’ve clicked the submit button though. The first thing you should do after posting is read it through again as publishing something has the magical affect of making all the glaring typos appear. Don’t sweat it though, the world’s eyes won’t suddenly all be turned to your misplaced apostrophe. Go back and correct any mistakes to make your business blog look really polished and then share it through your social media channels to promote it.
If you have time set aside, at least two to three hours to write, proof-read, and edit your blog – if that’s not possible, do little bits when you can and you’ll soon be surprised how quickly the word count adds up. If you’re still not sure, don’t have the time, or would like to outsource the writing of your blog get in touch with Vu. One of our expert copywriters will be able to advise you on the best course of action and give you a quote if you want to hire them to write your blogs.