Anyone can create a blog, but not every blog is worth reading. With a little knowledge and planning, businesses can capitalize on the value of blogging to expand their customer base, convert leads, and position themselves as industry experts, but what is a blog exactly?
There’s an art to blog management, and understanding it can mean the difference between topping the search results list and falling off the radar. Read on to learn the benefits of blogging and how to create one for your business.
What Is a Blog?
The term blog refers to a website that lists information in the form of posts. A man named Justin Hall created the first blog, known as Links.net, in 1994.
At first glance, a blog might look like any other website, but there are some features that set it apart. The distinguishing features of blogs include:
- Posts that appear in reverse chronological order with the most recent entries at the top of the page
- A comment section where readers can engage with one another and the author
- Regularly updated content
Most websites are fairly static, whereas bloggers add new content to their pages on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.
What Is the Purpose of a Blog?
In the early days, blogs were more like personal diaries or journals than business tools. While they are still a forum for self-expression, businesses have also realized the massive value that blogs offer. Blogs can be:
In many cases, a high-quality blog falls into several of these categories simultaneously.
How Is a Blog Used for Business?
Having a strong online presence is critical for modern businesses. A survey by Visual Objects found that 76% of consumers search for a company’s website before visiting the physical location.
A successful blog can:
- Help your business rank on the search engine results page (SERP)
- Demonstrate your expertise
- Attract visitors to your site and convert them into leads
- Build an engaged online community
In combination, these benefits make a business blog an excellent vehicle for increasing brand awareness.
Blogging for Beginners: How to Plan a Blog for Your Business
There are more than 600 million blogs on the internet, with millions of new posts going up every day. In other words, it’s easy for new blogs to get lost, and it’s essential to set up your blog for success.
Choosing Your Audience
Your business is built for certain customers, and your blog should be the same way. While in a perfect world your posts would be interesting to everyone online, that’s an unrealistic goal.
One of the first steps when building your blog is to decide who your audience will be. Are you writing for industry experts or casual consumers? The answer determines the kind of content you produce and how you present it.
Focusing your content on highly relevant topics is key to your blog’s success. As much as you might enjoy talking about a recent binge-worthy series, that content isn’t necessarily suited to the blog for your business.
To increase organic traffic, you’ll need to select topics that are genuinely useful to your audience. Doing a quick online search or survey of your social media followers can help determine what those subjects are.
Following Blog Structure
Blogs should be reader-friendly. Rather than posting a giant block of text, structure your blog so that it is skimmable, visually appealing, and easy to follow. A typical blog post includes a:
- Brief introduction to capture the reader’s interest
- Body of text that is broken up by subheaders, bullet points, and images
- Conclusion and call to action that invites the reader to take the next step
Watch this video for some tips to create readable blog posts.
Using SEO for Blogs
Search engine optimization (SEO) is more than just a buzzword. It’s critical to a business’s online success. When someone conducts research online, search engines like Google use algorithms to determine which sites should rank the highest. If your site is not on the first page of results, it will significantly decrease the amount of traffic to your page.
To optimize your blog, you’ll need to do things like:
- Research keywords for each post
- Incorporate keywords into the header, subheaders, and body
- Use keywords naturally rather than forcing them into the content
- Create comprehensible, high-quality content
- Write an intriguing meta description
- Link to relevant internal and external posts
Search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated and far more strict in terms of evaluating content, which means that stuffing a post with keywords is more likely to hurt your ranking than help it.
Launching Your Blog
In addition to planning the focus and structure of your content, you’ll need to make some careful preparations to get your blog ready for the public. Some important steps to take before the official launch include:
- Choosing a blogging platform
- Selecting a theme or template so that your blog matches your brand
- Creating a content calendar to schedule upcoming blog posts
- Building a team of writers: you can even work with ghostwriters and outsource your articles.
Each of these tasks will help ensure that you stick to a regular publishing schedule, consistently produce a high level of quality, and match the tone and aesthetic of the other aspects of your business.
Wrap-Up: Creating Quality Blog Content
A blog can be incredibly beneficial for a business, but only if it’s properly built, managed, and maintained. Many organizations look to freelance writers to create content because of their expertise in SEO and blog writing. To build the best freelance team for your blog, sign up for a free 2-week trial from Writer Access and get a glimpse of how great your business blog can be.