It’s no surprise that companies who blog generate more traffic and more than half have won a customer through this activity. A blog that's updated regularly with interesting, relevant content attracts new and returning visitors.
Your main objectives are to attract website traffic, position your business as a thought leader in your industry, enhance visibility through search (by building a stock of relevant content) and in turn, help convert those visitors into clients or customers.
With blogging, you're showcasing your thought leadership so you need to make sure there’s some top-quality content on there in order to attract readers' interest and keep them coming back for more.
Blogging Best Practices
Length: Posts should aim to be a minimum of 500 words. Google rewards ‘substantial’ content, although if there’s plenty of rich media such as images, infographics or videos, this can be reduced.
Intent: Posts should be written with your target audience (i.e. prospective clients) in mind, should add value to them and have some sort of take-away (i.e. actionable advice) or interesting insight.
Intros and Outros: All posts should have an intro and an outro. The intro is the text that comes before the 'read more' tag and the outro should feature a conclusion to the piece, a call for comments and a call to action.
In essence, the intro should tell the reader what they'll get out of the post and the outro should reiterate what you've taught them in the post and move them forward on their journey.
Attracting comments is hard, but if you don't ask, you don't get. Make sure to pose a couple of questions and ask the reader for their point of view in the outro of every post.
A call to action (CTA) is a way to move the reader's journey forward. Every post without fail should have a call to action related to the topic covered - whether this be to navigate to the appropriate product or service page, get in touch or navigate to further resources on the topic.
Images: Posts should include at least one image, but ideally two or more for longer posts. Posts with images tend to perform better in general, as well as making social media promotion of posts more appealing.
If you don’t have your own images, such as ones you’ve photographed/created or from a Shutterstock account (or something similar) there’s a few handy, free sources available online to get around copyright issues. Failing to provide copyright-free images can land you in hot water and you may be fined.
CC Search is a great tool for finding copyright-free images. Using the site, navigate to Google Images and download any that take your fancy. For images sourced in this way, you simply have to attribute the writer in the body of the text - you should do this at the bottom for every image used in the post (e.g. Images used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) rather than using a caption or any other method.
Pexels is another helpful website that provides photos that are free for any personal and commercial purpose, and attribution is not required.
Embedded images should also have relevant titles/alt text (the text that shows up when you hover over it) as these can be indexed by search engines. After downloading your image, rename it to something that includes your post's title keyword or phrase. The alt text can be edited via Wordpress (or another CMS) and should also aim to include a keyword or phrase.
While there's no formal style guide, if you're wondering how to write or phrase something in particular, you can refer to the Guardian Style Guide.
Overall, blog posts should be conversational – so avoid dry, press release-style copy at all costs. Similarly, try and keep jargon to a minimum and explain things simply. Be straightforward, but not condescending.
Are you contemplating blogging for your company but not sure where to start? Or perhaps you want to share your top tips on blogging? Either way, leave us a comment below – we’d love to hear your thoughts.