There is plenty of evidence to show that when done well, blogging is a sure-fire way to increase traffic to your website. Easy and often free to set up, simple to publicise to a wide audience and very effective as a means of generating new customers and increasing your brand’s social community, blogging has a lot going for it as a marketing strategy.
Yet many companies still haven’t quite got to grips with the fundamentals of successful blogging. This post focuses on some of the most central aspects of the art of business blogging and how you can use it to drive traffic to your website.
Number one on the list of successful blogging strategies is writing top quality posts that your audience wants to read. Whilst this sounds obvious, one only has to browse a little to realise that a great many companies fall at this very first hurdle and are spending excess time and money on creating content that has little value or appeal to its readers.
If you can afford to, hire a professional writer or at the very least, make sure your posts are well-edited so that you are addressing the right topics, targeting your audience appropriately, staying on-brand and using language in a compelling and engaging manner. Remember that the purpose of your blog is to engage, inform, entertain, delight, captivate, inspire or compel. It’s never to sell. Leave that to your website, where your visitors (assuming you’ve done this part of the job well) are heading next.
Quality in design and use of images and videos is also essential, so make sure that the look and feel of your blog is as professional as the text. Whilst most blogging platforms offer free templates, you may need to pay for something a little more customised to suit your brand.
There are two aspects of consistency that need considering when it comes to blogging:
- Consistent voice – To remain on-brand and really speak to your audience, you will need to maintain consistency in tone of voice and writing style. This way, your readers will start to feel as though they know your company and what you stand for, and in time will come to trust you.
- Frequency of posting – Posting your blog articles on a regular basis is key to converting your followers to customers. Knowing when to expect a post from you will encourage them to look out for it – if you fail to deliver, your readers will be disappointed and start to lose interest.
Keeping a blog can be administratively challenging, so having a plan or strategy in place is important if you are to stay on-track. Your aim is to stay up-to-date, relevant, consistent in delivery and style and maintained with efficiency. Plan ahead.
If your blogging efforts are going to pay dividends in number of visitors to your website, they need to act as a funnelling system to your main site. This means that a) you need to include a link back to your main website where people can go for further information, and b) in order to get the greatest number of visitors into the funnel to begin with, you need to share your blog as widely as possible.
There are several ways in which you can make your blog more visible:
Adding share buttons
In a prominent position on your blog, include share buttons for the main social media and social bookmarking sites. As a minimum, make sure you have buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Google+, but you may want to include the following too, depending upon your company, audience and industry:
Using social media
The most obvious (and cost-effective) way to publicise your blog is to share it via social media, using Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and so on. By using a free management tool such as HootSuite, you can plan and schedule your posts easily and ahead of time so that you can ensure consistency and coverage across your chosen platforms.
Stationery, email signatures and so on
Including a link to your blog site on your business cards, office stationery and as part of your email signature is a simple but effective way to encourage more traffic into your funnelling system and once you’ve set it up, needs no further maintenance. This one’s a cinch.
Responding to comments
Because you want your blog posts to rank highly on searches, you need to encourage as much interaction as possible, through likes, shares, clicks, reblogs and especially comments. Google like this a lot and will reward your efforts with higher search rankings.
So responding to any comments from your readers promptly and politely is critical. To encourage even further interaction, try to continue the conversation through questions and by offering further useful information or advice. Remember that your aim is to provide information to your readers, not to sell to them.
A round-up of tips
To conclude, here’s a general round-up of tips from this post (and a few extra tips thrown in for good measure), which you can use as a quick checklist to make sure that your blogging strategy is working as it should:
- Make sure your posts are well written, interesting and relevant to your industry and your audience.
- Don’t sell.
- Make sure there are no spelling or grammatical mistakes in your posts.
- Use analytic tools to research relevant keywords and phrases, and include these within your articles (not overly so, but naturally where they fit).
- Be consistent in tone of voice.
- Publish regularly and consistently.
- Ask questions and invite feedback – the more engagement, the better.
- Follow and engage with other people’s blogs in your industry.
- Add share buttons to your posts.
- Tag your posts so that they are noticed more easily by search engines.
- Publicise your blog via social media.
- Don’t forget to include links to your website!
By following our advice in this article, you will start to see a spike in the number of visitors on your website. Take a look at your analytics data so that you can see where your visitors are coming from, where your posts are being shared and which topics are proving to be the most popular.
In this way, you can tailor your blogging strategy further to what your audience wants, generate even more interest and build your community further still. And with your funnelling system in place, it’s now the place of your website to convert those visitors to customers…