More businesses are embracing the benefits of integrating blogs into their websites – some including getting additional traffic, engaging with customers and potential customers, keeping readers informed on company news and promoting a company’s expertise.
Here are some of the key things you need to remember when building and managing a blog:
1. Optimise your blog for improved visibility on search engines
- Use keywords
A carefully worded headline and sub-headline should contain keywords related to major themes in your blog posts in order to grab the reader’s attention; and throughout the text, a high density of keywords and phrases increases the relevance of the article to the reader’s search query.
- Anchor Text/Hyperlinks
Embedding hyperlinks into blog posts is a good way to increase search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website; but what factors in is also quality of the website linking in, quality of the page linking in, relevancy of linked content and location of the link on the page.
- Tags/Soft links
Allowing content to be circulated through Digg, Technorati, del.icio.us and other social bookmarking sites increase the article’s search engine rankings and drive targeted traffic to the website.
2. Update content regularly
- Fresh content
Adding fresh content to your site will also improve search engine visibility, and each post provides new opportunities to link back to other pages and blog posts on your site, thereby boosting those pages’ rankings.
- Multimedia Content
Adding images, videos or podcasts to blog posts makes them more consumable, creates a more engaging content experience; and ensures the post is indexed in image search engines which creates greater online visibility.
- Use simple, yet elegant vocabulary
Get rid of extraneous words or jargon that your audience will not understand. The point is to make your content enjoyable to read, not difficult. Make sure spelling, grammar and punctuation is correct so there is no disruption to the flow of reading.
3. Promote each blog post
- Distribute your blog posts via email and RSS
Encourage readers to sign up to receive notifications of new posts by email. This way they will return to your site if a headline tickles their fancy.
- Share your content on social media
Either manually share your content on social media platforms or automate their delivery. Social media tagging tools allow users to ‘like’, ‘+1’ or ‘retweet’ content which will help circulate your posts across the web.
4. Encourage comments and discussion
Allowing a space for comments and encouraging conversations allow readers to feel more connected to the business and shows that you value what they have to say. This also means that you should respond to queries in a timely manner.
5. Pay close attention to the technical aspects of the blog
- Keep your software up-to-date and secure
Always install the latest version of your software – such as WordPress – and take other security precautions (such as strong passwords and logging out when finished) to ensure unwanted parties do not have access to admin tools.
- Maximize your blog speed
No-one will wait more than a few seconds for your site to load when a simple click can take them elsewhere. Slow speed also negatively impacts search engine rankings. For self-hosted blogs, maximising speed would require cleaning out and optimising your blog’s database.
- Ensure links, videos and podcasts work properly
It’s disappointing for the reader when hyperlinks, videos and podcasts don’t work and it makes your blog appear unprofessional, so make sure to preview your posts before they go live and test all the links.
- Configure your blog for third-party services
Choose appropriate plug-ins for third-party services such as Google Analytics and enable social media sharing.