Blogging can be good for your business, if you start with a plan. A blog can boost your websiteâ€™s SEO, build relationships with prospective customers, and position your company as a trustworthy source of expertise.
Sounds good, right?
So, what are the best practices for starting your business blog? Let’s dig in.
1. Blog for Your Customers, Not You
What should you write about on your business blog? The big difference between business blogging and personal blogging is this: Business blogging is all about your audience, not all about you or your business. What that means is youâ€™ll need to stick to topics of interest to your potential customers.
Write for your customer personas, include keywords they search for, that you want to rank well for, and try to answer customer and reader questions with your posts. For example, does your business sell custom replacement windows? Use your posts to answer the questions customers ask you about energy efficiency, design, durability, energy rebates, and more.
Remember that a blog is supposed to be a casual conversation. Readers come to you because theyâ€™re looking for information. You build trust and authority with them by giving them the information they want. That means donâ€™t get too salesy on your blog. Yes, you can post about new products and sales, and share user-generated content like customer photos of their new windows.
But donâ€™t turn every post into a full-volume sales pitch. A call to action at the end of each post is enough.
Vary the format from time to time. Maybe throw in an interview with a customer or supplier, use Canva to make some infographics with facts and stats your customers can use, shoot some tutorial videos, or make a slide deck with PowerPoint that your readers can download and share.
2. Include an Image with Every Blog Post
Why? It’s simple. People love pictures.
Pictures pull your visitors into your story before they read a single word. Look at the home page for Gardenerâ€™s Supplyâ€™s blog. For gardeners, these pictures are catnip, because they show whatâ€™s possibleâ€”and they show what the companyâ€™s customers want for themselves.
Images also make social media posts more engaging. Tweets with images get 34% more RTs than tweets with only text, according to social media scheduling service Postcron.
And Instagram posts without images? Just not happening. So take the time to create original photos or graphics for each posts.
3. Decide on Your Posting Schedule
Hamster wheel or lazy river? How often should you post?
Business blogs that turn out a post or more each day, like HostGator, have teams of writers and editors dedicated to creating that content. But as a small business owner, you wear many hats, and your most important one is running your business, not cranking out blog posts. If you must choose between fewer high-quality posts and more low-quality ones, go with less frequent, better-written posts.
You can get good results from a slower posting schedule, if your content gives readers and prospective customers information they want. The key is to use the search terms your audience is looking for and the questions they are asking.
To make an infrequent posting schedule go farther is to promote the heck out of each blog post on your business’s social media channels. If youâ€™ve done your persona homework, you already know where your target audience hangs out online. Meet them there with your posts.
4. Keep Your Posts Fresh with Regular Blog Updates
Every post you create is a resource you can edit and update as your business grows and your customer base evolves. When you update an old post, save that update in WordPress or update the publication data so that Google knows itâ€™s been freshened up with new information.
Itâ€™s a good idea to build regular updates into your content schedule. Changing out quarterly or yearly updates of statistics is an easy way to freshen up old content. Adding new feedback from customers to product-focused posts, or updates on new features, can also extend the life of your posts.
For more tips, follow our step-by-step guide to running a content audit.
5. Get Organized with Blog Categories and Tags
Keep your business blog categories simple and limited. Hereâ€™s how HostGator does it.
Give your categories names that are search keywords, when possible. HostGatorâ€™s customers search for phrases like web hosting tips and marketing tips and tricks. Your business may have very different categories. Whatever they are, they should line up with what your market wants.
For example, letâ€™s say youâ€™re in the dog training business. You might have categories on dog behavior, obedience training for dogs, socialization for dogs, and exercise with your dog. This keeps your blog focused on the stuff your customers are interested in. It also makes it easier for readers to home in on the information they need.
You can tag your posts, too. This is different from assigning a post to a category. Maybe you write a series of posts on socializing and behavior training for rescue dogs, and another on senior dog behavior and exercise. The categories for these are clearâ€”socializing and behavior. But you can tag them with â€œrescue dogâ€ or â€œsenior dogâ€ so your readers can search your whole blog, not just individual categories, for content that matches their situation. Like with your category names, tag with phrases your readers search for.
Hereâ€™s what the category and tag control panels look like in WordPress.
Be sure to fill out the slug and description for each of your blogâ€™s categories and tags. That information helps search engine crawlers understand what your post is about.
Tags and categories can also help you when itâ€™s time to update your content. Is there new research about senior dog health you want to add to your old posts? Call up the â€œsenior dogâ€ tag and you can rework all the relevant posts in a snap.
Build Your Business Blog with HostGator
Ready to get started? You can set up your business blog today with a WordPress hosting plan. Add on HostGator Domain Privacy to shield your personal domain registration information from public view to protect your business from spam.
Not familiar with WordPress? You can still get started today, too. Gator Website Builder gives you drag-and-drop tools to help you snap together your business blog in minutes, with lots of mobile-friendly templates to make it look great.
Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance B2B content marketing writer. Her specialty areas include SMB marketing and growth, data security, IoT, and fraud prevention