Most small business owners know why they need to have a blog on their website, after all, the reasons are well documented (if you’d like a recap, check out our previous post on the reasons!). The issue many small business owners have with their blog, is knowing how to have an effective one on their site. They feel that their current one isn’t working, but they don’t know where to start working out why it isn’t.
If you’re currently struggling to work out why you feel your business blog isn’t working for you, start by asking yourself the following ten questions.
#1: Are you being realistic with your expectations?
This isn’t always an easy one to judge, but it’s something you do need to get clear on. So, what are your expectations? You can’t decide on how realistic those expectations are, until you know what they are! So many business owners feel their blog isn’t working – but they have no idea on what their expectations are! Another problem is they often have high expectations, but haven’t put in any work and only post every couple of months. Remember, your blog doesn’t have the same reach as your social media accounts – so it won’t produce the same levels of interaction as they may produce.
So, how would you quantify a blog that works for you? Is it based on a certain level of interaction? How about post visits or shares? The number of backlinks you get or the amount of leads you get from your blog? What are your expectations, and how do they mount up, when compared against how much effort you’re putting into your blog?
#2: Are you writing the right type of blog posts?
There’s so many different types of blog post you can write, from how-to and top tip posts, right through to roundups and recommendations. There’s also more marketing based posts, such as those that share case studies or talk about your latest products etc. What type of content is getting the most views on your site? If your visitors are reading your how-to blogs, but you’re not getting many hits on your recommendations – it’s worth switching to more how-to type posts. Another option to consider, is that your recommendations aren’t recommending the right products. Either way, you won’t know until you start testing different types and formats.
#3: Have you tried switching out the formula?
This leads us nicely onto the formula of your posts. Have you tried switching it around, to find out what your audience prefer? How about trying a few blog posts that are audio or video based – and seeing if they get more interaction? What about the length of blog post? Have you tried both short and long word counts? When it comes to keeping your blog fresh, you’ll want to switch around the type of blog post you create, as well as the formats.
[bctt tweet=”To keep your blog fresh, switch around the type of blog post you create, as well as the formats.” username=”sarahpjwhite”]
#4: How often are you posting?
Blogging regularly is a commitment. Whether you decide to post weekly, biweekly or daily, you need to be consistent. If you’re currently only posting when it suits you or when you have something interesting to say, your blog isn’t going to be working for you or your business.
#5: Are your topics relevant to your audience?
Another common mistake small businesses make is writing about topics that aren’t relevant to their audience. Sit and brainstorm the topics that will be beneficial to your target audience. If you don’t know what your website visitors want to read about – ask them. If you do know what they want to read, still ask them – and make it a regular feature! You can create a poll on your social media, your website or send one out to your mailing list.
#6: Is it easy to read?
No one likes to be greeted with page full of text. You need to make your blog posts both easy to read and kind on the eye. This means short paragraphs, adding in an image or two (or three!) and using subheadings, bullet points, lists etc, to break up your text. It also means making it easy for the reader to find more content on that subject – so using categories and tags effectively too.
#7: What keywords are you using?
If you want your blog to be relevant, both in terms of reader content and overall visibility, you need to know what keywords to use. Not only does the use of keywords help you in the search engine rankings, it also helps your audience find what they’re looking for. So, what search terms would someone use to find your site and blog? How can you add relevant keywords to your blog titles, subheadings and meta description? What phrases will pique the interest of your readers?
#8: Are you giving your readers a clear call to action?
It’s one thing to assume that visitors will read your content, but it’s another to assume they’ll know what to do, once they’ve read it. Make it super-easy and tell them the next step. If you want them to leave a comment or share the post, put that in your ending call to action. Maybe you’d like them to book in for a discovery call or read more on your latest new product or service – give them the link and ask them to click for more info. Call to actions don’t always have to be sales based, but they do need to be action based!
[bctt tweet=”Call to actions don’t always have to be sales based, but they do need to be action based!” username=”sarahpjwhite”]
#9: Do you enjoy writing it?
Whether you’re writing about topics you don’t enjoy, or you simply don’t enjoy writing – it’ll show through in whatever you write, and this will be felt by those who visit your site. It’ll also impact on your time, as the task you dislike or don’t enjoy will always take longer than those you do. If you’re not enjoying writing your blog posts, please look to outsource them to someone who does.
#10: What are you doing to promote it?
This one is the biggie! So many business owners think that, if they write a blog, readers will come and people who are interested, will be attracted to it. Yes, a few might, but if you want your blog to work for you – you need to work for it. You need to get it out there and share it with the world. Share the link, create memes and status updates based on it, share it with your mailing list and within your other social media platforms. Use an automated scheduling platform to create evergreen promotional posts for the next year about it.
Your blog posts take valuable time and effort to write. It can be disheartening if you’re not getting views and comments on them. However, it’s important to remember that your blog is a slow-burning marketing tool; it isn’t going to gain traction and views overnight. So, make a plan, get clear on your expectations, stay consistent and use the ten questions above to ensure you’re working on a blog that will eventually work for you.
What are your thoughts about business blogs? Do you worry that yours isn’t working for you, but now have a clearer idea as to why? Maybe you had an a-ha moment from the questions above? Why not share your thoughts and comments on today’s blog, in the comments box below!