It’s estimated there are over 600 million blogs on the internet. While most of them won’t compete with yours – blogs for dog breeders; salsa dancing, or cybersecurity penetration testing, for example! – some will.
So how do you achieve blogging success? How do you not only attract readers but convert them into enquiries and clients? Here are our top tips:
Blog success tip no 1: Relevant topics
Write about things which are relevant and meaningful to your potential clients. Remember, what they care about is more important than what you care about!
So how do you find these topics? Some ideas to get you started:
- What do your client always ask about your business?
- When you meet people socially and tell them what you do, what do those people ask?
- If you have sales or customer service staff – what questions do they get the whole time?
- What’s happening in your industry? That could be events, trends, innovations, company mergers or launches. Just remember that you’re writing for customers, not competitors. What do these things mean for your end user? That’s what you need to focus on.
- Look at your social media. Which posts get the most comments and questions?
- Look at your competition. What have they posted about which you haven’t? (Even better if you have a tool like Semrush or Ahrefs and you can see which posts get most traffic!)
- Type the start of a relevant topic into Google and look at the autocomplete suggestions
- Tell stories about your customers. (Ask the customers you feature!)
- Write a ‘day in the life of’ post for one of your key people.
Blog success tip no 2: Good writing
Make sure your writing is engaging and interesting. All too often, great ideas and thoughts are badly communicated. It’s all too hard. People stop listening / watching / reading. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you!
- Keep it simple. Write for a grade 9 readability level or lower.
- Use white space, bullet points and headings.
- Tell stories and give examples to illustrate your points.
- Make those stories and examples original.
- Have an opinion. Some people will disagree, but you’ll be a lot more interesting
- Use humour.
- Start with a strong headline and first line.
Two tips for those all-important opening lines:
- Write the post, then go back and rewrite the title and opening paragraph.
- Try taking the last line you write and putting it at the start of your post. You may need to edit a little, but you’ll usually be much punchier.
Blog success tip no 3: Smart keyword selection
Choose a keyword which is right for your site as well as for the specific post.
An example to explain this – imagine two financial advisor clients wanting a blog on the same topic.
- One has an established website with individual service pages, active social media and a link from a Google MyBusiness account with 50+ glowing reviews.
- The other is a brand new company just launching their first website.
They’d both love to rank for ‘financial advisor sydney’. But so would lots of businesses – that’s why the keyword difficulty is high.
The established business can probably rank for this – but it will take some work. The new business is going to struggle to rank, even with hard work. They might do better to focus on a less difficult keyword. Less reward, but easier to achieve it.
It’s the difference between getting a spot in your local soccer team vs playing for the Matildas.
Blog success tips no 4: Don’t overdo the SEO
Google’s trying to find the most relevant sites and pages for users. Millions of website owners, marketers and SEO experts are trying to prove that their page is the most relevant for searchers wanting to know what to do when a newborn puppy won’t eat, or how to warm up before a salsa session.
All those SEO ‘experts’ try to work out what Google wants to see, then they try to give it. It’s like an endless election campaign, with lots of SEO tricks instead of ‘non-core promises’. Looking too perfect can be a cause for suspicion – it may actually harm your page’s and your site’s ranking!
SEO plugins can be a double-edged sword. They help you review and assess your blog’s SEO, but you can end up fiddling with your blog too much. All to satisfy an algorithm which isn’t Google’s algorithm and is far less sophisticated.
Blog success tips no 5: Images
Use good images.
Google likes text. Humans like pictures. Be kind to the humans who visit your page and give them some pictures they’ll enjoy looking at. Rule of thumb – one image every 250-300 words.
In a dream world each image would be individually created and chosen for your blog and your brand. We don’t live in a dream world, but if you have authentic, original images – use them!
When you use stock images, use them imaginatively. (Some ideas on using stock images here.)
Blog success tips no 6: Image optimisation
Optimise your images properly.
Your images are primarily for the people who visit your site, but it helps if Google can understand what they’re about.
Google doesn’t ‘see’ images the way we do. For example, you see this, which (somewhat) explains itself as people warming up for their salsa class.
Google sees this:
Nothing in that code tells Google what’s visible in this image. Missed opportunity! Optimising the file name and adding some alt text describing the image would help Google so much. Also, these are two opportunities to add your keyword without annoying users by repeating it all the time!
Also, make sure your images load fast! The best way to do that is to resize them (images rarely need to be over 1200px wide) and to compress them (eliminate detail which won’t show even at the maximum display size.)
Blog success tips no 7: Calls to action
Include at least one call to action in every post.
This one is so often forgotten! It’s great to get visitors to your site, but it’s not an end in itself. You still need them to do something. Sign up for a newsletter. Download a resource. Call you. Talk to your chatbot. Fill in your contact form.
There are so many options.
For every blog post you write (every page you write or publish), ask yourself what you want the visitor to do next. Then suggest – strongly! – to your visitor that they do it!
Sometimes the next step is obvious. From a blog, you may want them to contact you, or you may want them to visit a sales page. You may have a helpful resource which they can download. (Some blogs are so useful that a downloadable PDF of the main points in the blog is valuable. If you think you’ve got a post like that, offer it as a download and see what happens.)
On other occasions, you may have to think more deeply about something you want them to do, which they’ll also be willing to do. That could be as simple as exploring a more detailed blog on the same topic, or checking out a related blog. Or visiting a case study which illustrates the points you made in the blog.
Whatever you want visitors to do, include a call to action.
Preferably more than one, so that as they scroll down, there’s always one visible.
Blog success tips no 8: Consistency
Consistency and quality are more important than frequency. (Unless you’re a news organisation.)
Even one post per month will make a difference over time, if you follow all the other blogging success tips in this article.
Blog success tips no 9: Promotion
Promote your blog posts.
The sad truth is, even your most dedicated fans are unlikely to check your website every day looking for new articles. As for people who haven’t heard of you, how are they going to find your blog among the other 600 million on the web? And when they do, are they going to remember to come back?
Invite people to subscribe so you can share future posts.
Promote every post on social media when it’s published.
Send updates to your newsletter list.
Reach out to others who might be prepared to share your post or link to it.
And don’t just forget about your posts once you’ve published them. If you wrote an article about how to prevent puppies getting ticks, it’s going to be helpful every year at the start of tick season. So promote it every year. Other posts may be relevant to what’s happening in the news. Comment again and share again.
Blog success tips no 10: Clean up your old posts
Update and refresh your old content.
Sometimes, posts are still relevant but outdated. We try to update our list of Australian business directories every year. The principles behind listing in directories remain the same, but we want the data to be current.
Other posts may need to change more based on business or regulatory changes. For example, at one point consensus interpretation of the Spam Act was that you had inferred consent to email your customers. Now, ACMA explicitly says that is not always the case. So, we had to update our comments on the Spam Act.
Sometimes, popular posts seem to fade away with age. This might be because they’re not relevant any more – or it might be because other businesses have created newer, maybe better, posts on the same topic.
It’s worth keeping an eye on what’s happening so you can decide what to do with each post.
If you have a blog already, take a moment to review how many of these things you’re doing on your blog. It’s easy to do most of them and miss one or two. You may still get good results with this. But wouldn’t you like to do better?
And what if you’re only implementing one or two of these blogging success tips? Well, you may be doing a lot of hard work for little actual benefit. It might be that you need some help. (Let’s chat!)
The bottom line is, whether you write your own blog, have someone in your company do it for you, or outsource to a specialist like NoBull Marketing, you won’t be successful unless you do it properly.