By Lior Levin
Blogs have become integral to business websites today—at least websites that are effective at connecting with customers. In its latest research, marketing firm HubSpot shared in its 15 Blogging Mistakes and Easy Fixes E-book that companies who have a blog on their websites receive 55% more visitors, generate 97% more inbound links, and have 434% more indexed pages in search engines.
There are plenty of business websites that sit neglected because owners don’t have the time to invest in them or don’t know how to use them effectively. However, making your business easier to find online is an essential aspect of doing business, and a blog can make that happen if used properly. Here are seven ways you can turn around a struggling business blog:
1. Integrate Your Blog into Your Website
A proper subdomain will ensure that your blog is fully integrated into your company’s website and give your business a boost in the search ranking. Don’t settle for a blog that is hosted separately from your business website, as that will draw critical traffic away from your company and divide your search traffic between two sites.
Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot writes, “The ideal home for your blog is either on a sub-domain of your main website (e.g. http://blog.website.com) or in a folder of your main website (e.g. http://website.com/blog). Both of these options will allow your corporate website to benefit from the search engine optimization advantages your blog will create.”
2. Write Relevant Blog Post Titles
If you’ve been writing your blog posts based on your topic, you may be failing to entice readers. Are you promising something, providing a list of important tools, or telling readers how to do something they want to do? A blog is not the same as a press release. Press releases provide fodder for newspaper stories, while a blog needs to be convincing as a story or as information that readers need to have.
An engaging blog post that meets the needs of readers and generates traffic begins with a captivating title. Don’t overlook the importance of writing a solid blog post, but a great blog post with a weak title is a waste.
3. Integrate Keywords Into Your Blog Posts
Build a keyword list using Google’s Keyword Tool so that you can see both the top keywords in your field as well as the long tail words that may still generate traffic. With your keyword list on hand, use those search terms in your headers, your tags, your image descriptions, and the body of your post itself. Typepad’s list of blogging tips suggests that it’s especially important to include the keywords at the top of your blog post.
4. Improve the Quality of Your Backlinks
If your blog isn’t pulling in enough traffic, you may need to look into building up a better collection of backlinks from more reputable sites such as education and government sites that are favored by search engines. Write blog posts that will prove valuable for a government or education website in your field and send their website manager the links. They may even want to include your post on their own blogs.
5. Plan for Social Media Sharing
By adding social media sharing buttons to your blog posts, inserting high quality images in each post, and using meta descriptions for each post rather than a page number, your posts will be better optimized for social media sites. Meta descriptions are especially important and easy to overlook. Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot writes , “When you share a post on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, they automatically pull in a description of the post. Most sites generate this description from the URL’s meta description.”
6. Tell Better Stories at Your Blog
Some of the most successful business blogs tell effective stories. In the case of Etsy, merchants write guest posts about their work and help customers connect with vendors and business owners. Carson Ward writes in Search Engine Journal, “An e-commerce blog allows customers to peek behind the scenes of an operation, and Etsy’s blogging about featured sellers help customers discover the story behind the brands.”
7. Find Readers for Your Blog
SEO MOZ has a great list of 21 ways to increase your blog traffic , and many of them include strategies for actively seeking out new readers. Rand Fishkin writes, “Guest blogging is a fantastic way to spread your brand to new folks who’ve never seen your work before, and it can be useful in earning early links and references back to your site, which will drive direct traffic and help your search rankings.” Whether you host other bloggers or they host you, either way is a win/win for both parties.
Your company’s blog doesn’t have to become a press release graveyard, wallowing in insignificance. By actively pursuing readers, giving them what they want, and making your website easier for search engines to find, you can begin the long process of building a following of readers who will be far more inclined to one day become customers.