Avoiding the Blog of Despair: A Simple Way to Start Blogging Today
Let’s say you’ve got a shiny, new website and you’re excited to share it with the world. You set your little guy free into the wilds of the internet and wait for the visitors to come flocking. You check your Google analytics every day. But the traffic just isn’t coming and your heart sinks.
What is happening? Your website is clean, responsive, and SEO optimized. Where is everybody? How do you get potential customers to your site? There are, of course, several ways to answer that question, but one of the most effective and scalable options is through blogging.
Why You Need a Blog
Blogging often feels like nothing more than screaming into the void. You craft quality content, spend time editing and revising it, then publish; but the response rarely lives up to the expectation. So, what is the purpose of pouring time and effort into having a blog?
The simple answer? Because it really can get you more traffic on your website (you just have to be patient). But of course, I have a longer answer than that. An effective blogging strategy will boost your search engine rankings, brand recognition, and your social media marketing.
Blogging is one of the most powerful SEO tools available, and all it requires knowledge about your industry. By regularly blogging, you get three big SEO boosts:
- Fresh Content – Google likes websites that are regularly updated. It proves that you are an active business and that you care about providing answers to search queries. Regular, fresh content is key to an overall SEO strategy.
- Long Tail Keywords – As the internet grows ever more crowded, long tail keywords become essential to getting found. For example, an e-commerce site that sells shoes could target keywords like ‘shoes for sale’ but that is a highly competitive market. A long tail keyword strategy would target much more specific keywords like ‘red running shoes for men.’ Blogging allows you to organically include long tail keywords in your site’s content.
- Backlinks – Earning links is the backbone of any SEO campaign. And successful blogging is one way to start earning backlinks. Link-quality blog posts probably won’t come at first, but as you become a more practiced blogger, there is a good chance your material will start getting referenced across the web – earning you valuable links for your profile.
Blog writing is the easiest way to provide content across your social media presence. It provides content you can share across several platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), that drives traffic back to your site. Beyond just linking to your blog posts, you can also repurpose your blog content into social media specific posts. Consider pulling out impactful quotes, building infographics, and making videos based on your blog posts but tailored for social sharing.
Maintaining an active social presence in today’s marketplace is no longer optional. Many potential customers are turning to social media to learn more about your brand, and nothing turns them away faster than a dead profile.
A major component of your digital marketing plan should be to boost your brand recognition among your target audience. Blogging can go a long way toward building a brand that consumers recognize. By sharing your expertise with a searching world, you can establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
And the longer you blog, the more reach your influence will have. By regular blogging, you will prove to potential customers that you are a force in your industry and that your business is here to stay.
How to Get Started Blogging
Ok, so I’ve convinced you that blogging is good for your business. You sit down in front of a blank word document and you’re ready to get started. But what do you do now? Writing can seem so easy in your head and so hard when you are sitting in front of a keyboard.
Or maybe the first few posts flowed smoothly out of your fingertips, but now you’ve hit a wall. The reality of creating weekly (or even monthly) content seems overwhelming. In some ways, that is unavailable – writing quality content for your blog is hard work and will require some hard work and dedication. But there are ways to make your blogging life easier. Today, we’ll run through our process and hope that that helps you craft your own blog content.
The first step in writing your blog should be to understand what your competitors are doing. The goal here isn’t to copy their content, it is to discover what they are missing. By understanding your competitors, you are able to find the pain points that they are not addressing and shape your blogging strategy around that.
That’s not to say there won’t be any overlap, just that you can make your brand stand out by understanding your market, your audience, and your competitors. At first, you’ll likely be keeping things pretty basic. But as you grow in experience, this information will be vital to your blogging success.
Just Start Writing
They say that perfect is the enemy of done, and that holds true in blog writing. At some point, all the research in the world isn’t going to help – you just have to sit down and start writing. But here’s the good news: at the beginning, your audience will be small and very few will notice your struggles and growing pains.
When I look back at my first few blog posts, they are totally cringe-worthy. But without them, I never would have improved in my writing. So, set aside your expectations of perfection and just start writing. Your future self will thank you.
Revise & Improve
Even if your writing isn’t perfect, you should still schedule a time to revise, edit, and improve your content. At a bare minimum, I let my writing sit for 24-hours before I take a second pass to correct and clarify my content. This step is essential to publishing professional blog posts – and there’s no spell check that can make up for skipping the self-editing process.
If you’re able, this is also the perfect time to get someone else to read and edit your writing, even if that person is just a friend/spouse/co-worker. Getting a second set of eyes on your content will ensure that it makes sense and will boost your confidence at the same time!
Publish & Track
Once you’ve written, edited, and revised your content; there’s nothing left to do but hit that publish button. It is both terrifying and exhilarating at the same time – and for many (including me) that feeling becomes a part of what motivates us to keep writing.
Once your post is released into the wild, keep an eye on your analytics (but not obsessively). Don’t expect your first few (or even your first 100) posts to blow up, but by tracking your traffic, you can see what is resonating with your target audience and continue to refine your content.
That’s It, That’s All
What are you still doing here? Get out there and start writing! But I know that a mere 1,200 words aren’t enough to make you a writer. There’s no substitute for hard work and practice, and that takes a pretty serious time commitment.
For many business owners, there isn’t enough time to do the necessary tasks in a day – much less dedicate time to honing their writing skills. So, if you read through this article and thought to yourself, ‘There’s no way I have time for all that,’ don’t despair! There is always the option of hiring an outside company to help you out with your content needs.
Many of our social media plans come with blog writing included or it can be included as part of web design package. Or maybe you’re looking for something a little more custom? Contact us today and we’d be happy to work out a blog content plan that is custom tailored to your needs.