Blogging might seem exclusive to travel or recipe sites, but it can also be relevant and serve as an asset to your industry. Blogs aren’t exclusive to world travelers or beauty gurus anymore—your business should have one too. Not only does a good blog showcase your expertise and authority in the industry, it also can help boost your website to the top of Google searches for your business.
Prioritizing your blog makes you 13 times more likely to see a positive return on investment (ROI), and it’s important to prioritize quality blogging. Below are seven easy tricks to improve your blog posts.
1. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead helps blogging seem less overwhelming. You can create a content calendar for blogging topics, then assign those blog topics to different employees. This splits up the work so each person only has to write a blog post once a month (or however you split it up), keeps your blog on task, and takes the guesswork out of writing it.
Scheduling blog posts also ensures you’re blogging regularly and often to keep content relevant and fresh. Staying on top of your blog can be overwhelming, even for us. Keeping up with your blog, along with these six other tips, will help your business be an industry leader.
2. Aim For At Least 1,000 Words
Remember writing essays in school and stretching to reach the word count? Blogging has an ideal number of words too. It’s not necessary to reach 1,000 words, but it’s the key to get your website at the top of a Google search. Google is finicky in its algorithm that determines which sites rank at the top of a search, and its algorithm prefers more content. Even though Google prefers posts with longer content, your posts must be at least 300 words to make sure it’s not considered “thin content” for your website.
When in doubt, choose quality over quantity to produce longer, less frequent blog posts rather than shorter, more frequent posts.
3. Make Your Content Easy to Skim
There’s nothing more boring to read than a giant block of text. Even if you’re going to write an in-depth piece, sectioning off your content or starting with an outline of your main headlines helps the reader mentally organize and process information more easily.
Around 43% of people reportedly skim blog posts, so it’s important to make your blog easy to skim. The most popular way to organize blog posts is to use listicles (like this blog post). BuzzFeed is known to use listicles (think: 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity), and they work. Listicles are a way for people to determine what they are most interested in and skim to find that information. Highlighting the most important parts of a post by using a numbered list or section heading helps people read it on the go.
4. Keep Up With the Trends
Two common ways people find blog posts are through social media posts or Google searches, so your blog post won’t be shared or searched for unless people are talking about the subject you write about. Further, people read blog posts because they’re either interesting or helpful, so your content has to be relevant in your industry. You’ll get more readers if you start planning your blogs around what’s trending. Keeping up with trends can be as simple as reading news or magazines within your industry, or you could take it a step further and use a tool like Google Trends to see trending topics.
Blog posts should also correlate with what’s going on in your community. If you’re a disaster recovery company and there’s flooding in your city, write a blog post about what to do when your home is flooded or how to prevent flooding in your home. Similarly, if you’re a garden business and spring is coming, write a blog post about the top nine flowers to plant in March.
5. Share your “Secrets”
You’re the expert in your industry, and people are looking for your knowledge when they Google questions about your industry. The more valuable information you share, the more likely people are going to use your solution and share it with others.
One way to share your wisdom is through a how-to, which is the third most popular headline. This isn’t surprising considering when someone has a question, the most popular answer is “Google it.” Let your blog post be the answer to that question. Some examples of this concept include a coffee shop blogging about the best way to brew its coffee at home or a pest company blogging about the best home remedies for ants.
6. Add Visuals
Not only do informative visuals make posts easier to skim, but they also make every post more interesting to look at. There are four main different types of visuals bloggers can add to enhance each post, including images, infographics, GIFs and video.
Any type of relevant image is great, whether it’s images to reference something specific in the text or just to add a visual engagement with a post. High quality, original photos are best, especially if they can showcase a part of your business or its process. Stock photos are OK, but if you want to find an image online, make sure it’s free usage and not copyrighted or owned in any way.
The best way to find royalty-free photos is by using a website such as Creative Commons or Unsplash. You can also use Google to find images as long as you filter the usage rights. You can do this by clicking Settings → Advanced Search → Usage Rights. This will allow you to filter by finding images that are free to use, share, or modify, even commercially. When in doubt, give credit to the source of the image.
An infographic is exactly how it sounds—a graphic that displays information. These can be a great tool for educational purposes, and they also help people skim and remember information.
GIFs are a great addition to your blog post if you’re looking to lighten the mood or add some personality or humor. Use them sparingly to keep your blog looking professional, and only use GIFs if they are relevant or correlate with what you’re saying.
Videos are a great addition to your blog because they are the most engaging type of content, combining both audio and visual elements. Adding video keeps visitors on your site longer, but they take more time and resources to produce.
If you do have the means to make video, keep in mind the length of your video. Average engagement drops off after two minutes, but if you have to do a longer video, try to keep it between 6-12 minutes.
Another element to keep in mind is the environment where people will watch your videos. Some people might be on-the-go or in a public space where they can’t watch with sound. Take the time to overlay text of the script on top of the video so people can still understand the content without the audio.
7. Use Clear, Concise Language
Writing in active voice rather than passive voice drives action and keeps users’ attention when they are reading on the web or on their phones. People also typically look to blogs for information or steps on how to do something, so that’s another advantage of active voice. For those who might need a refresher on the difference between passive and active voice, bear with me through a quick Grammar 101 lesson:
Using active voice is much clearer and more concise than passive voice, especially when it comes to writing for the web. Starting with an object is like “backing in” to a sentence and it can be harder for readers to know what you want them to take action on.
In general, Concise writing means taking out anything that isn’t needed, like unnecessary prepositional phrases, adverbs or modifiers. For example, most people overuse the word “that,” putting it after verbs without trying to clarify a noun.
These seven easy tricks should help your website’s ranking and increase your blog traffic. If you need help with your blog or would like to create one, contact us! Our team of experts would love to answer any questions you have or create a plan for your business.