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You started a blog. Now what?

It’s easy to put the blog at the bottom of the priority list. Is it really attracting new clients? How is it driving business? You might start to wonder if it’s worth all the effort.

The truth is a well-executed blog is an opportunity to show prospects your value proposition and express a unique point of view. More importantly, you can show clients who you are and what your company is all about — in an industry that requires a lot of trust.

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Search engines, like Google, prioritize active sites that are updated frequently. Posting unique, authoritative content provides more data for Google to index, which helps boost search engine ranking. To put it simply, blogging makes your expertise, your website and your company more discoverable online.

Let’s breakdown the best practices checklist.

Make your firm discoverable
If you want your blog to be useful, you’ll have to get it in front of the right people. Sharing posts on social media and tagging them with keywords and meta descriptions gives Google what it needs to boost your page in search engine results — which leads to more traffic to your blog or website.

Give away insights
Write as though you’re speaking to a client, and let your individual voice and personality come through. Be succinct, write in natural and jargon-free language, and provide practical tips and information so your readers stay on the page and read your post to the end. Keeping your expertise too close to the vest will send them elsewhere.

Include a call to action
Your blog title is the first thing visitors see in their search results, so make sure your title is relevant to your post content. Write a catchy, straight to the point, and not too long title (55 characters or less is best). At the end of your post, be sure to include a call to action (also called a CTA) that includes a link to get in touch with you as well as links to relevant pages on your site.

Format for readability
Use subheads, bullets, pull quotes and images in your post to make your information easy and inviting to read. Big blocks of text are intimidating and can result in higher bounce rates. Google and readers love lists, how-to guides, case studies and Q&As.

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Johor, Malaysia - May 06, 2014: Google website on smartphone screen. Google Inc. is an American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products, May 06, 2014 in Johor, Malaysia.

Keywords
Keywords are what your clients use to find the information you are serving up on your blog (imagine them typing search words into Google Chrome or speaking to Siri, even). Weave these common terms into your blog post. Add them to the title, if possible, to the URL and to the body copy at least twice to help boost your SEO ranking. Don’t go overboard, or Google may recognize it as spammy and penalize the ranking.

Meta description matters
Meta descriptions are the short descriptions that appear in Google search results (right below the blog title), and you can set them up when you publish your post. To best serve your dual audience — potential clients and Google — do these two things:

  1. Make sure your meta description relates to and expands on the blog post title but doesn’t duplicate it.
  2. Don’t use the same phrases in multiple posts, because that will confuse Google crawlers reading your website. If your meta descriptions are too similar, your posts will compete with each other with Google.

Post content regularly
Google prioritizes sites that are updated regularly. Consistency is the most important factor, so be realistic about what you and your team can keep up with. Aim to post new content on a weekly (or biweekly) basis. Even the best content creators get busy, become tired or (temporarily) run out of ideas, so invite team members to create blogs, use evergreen content and share relevant third-party articles.

Google Analytics
Adding Google Analytics to your website is one of the most important things you can do, and there are lots of resources online to help you. Having data to analyze is a crucial component that will give you invaluable information about the most popular active posts on your website and help you tailor your upcoming content to your target audience.

Take the time to understand your Google Analytics setup—most people do it wrong! Consider hiring a professional to set up your dashboard and create custom reports geared specifically to your business goals. Once your setup is established, you will receive regular email updates.

Pay attention to data
Once you’ve set up Google Analytics, the next crucial step is to learn and understand what you’re looking at. Page views, time on page and bounce rates are important metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of your blog posts.

Page views: This term refers to the number of people who clicked on your post. By setting up a tracking funnel, you can see where visitors go from there on your site. Pay attention to the categories getting the most interest on your blog and website.

Time on page: The more time visitors spend on your post, the more likely it is that they are finding the content useful. With Google, longer page times can have a positive impact on your page ranking. Write more blog posts with content like that in the posts visitors are spending the most time on.

Bounce rate: “Bounce rate” refers to the percentage of people who “bounce off” a page once they click on it. The lower the bounce rate, the better. High bounce rates indicate that visitors did not find what they were expecting, so they left. Posts with the lowest bounce rates contain the content your visitors are looking for.

Share on social media
If you’re blogging, you probably have a social media presence on at least one of the predominant platforms — LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Share a link to your blog on your socials, and include a provocative post message that will drive viewers to click on, like and even share the post.

Amplify
Share your blog posts with your teammates and ask them to share it with their networks. Think of it this way: If you have 20 employees who have 200 LinkedIn contacts each, that’s 2,000 first-level connections that will see your post. When one of those 2,000 connections like or share the post, it opens the post up to even more exposure.

Adjust and revise
Once you’ve used your analytics to update your blog posts, check back regularly to make sure the desired change actually occurred. You won’t see an improvement overnight, so be patient. There are myriads of resources available to help you set up analytics, maximize keywords, etc. and professionals you can hire to help you establish an effective content and digital strategy.

Blogging takes time and effort, but if you’re intentional, committed and authentic, blogging can be a very effective way to reach your target clients. If you’re an industry leader and have a point of view to share with your clients and prospects, we encourage you to write and post blogs.

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