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Blogs might seem old school, but there are clear benefits to having your content posted and hosted directly on your own site. As an example, it’s easy to share a blog post on social media, and by sharing a blog post rather than creating a new post, it can help ensure that your website link stays with the text and images if it gets passed on. It’s also helpful to have a library of information on your site, ready for your customers to find – no one should have to go off and search Twitter to find a how-to video for one of your products.
Of course, we’re not suggesting that you post every single thing on your blog – those days are long gone and social media has great benefits too – but blogs can be very valuable so don’t neglect yours. Below you’ll find quick and easy suggestions for how to make yours better in terms of marketing, SEO and usability.
OK, this one might not feel quick or easy, but if you know what your blog is for, it’ll be a lot easier to choose what content to post and what to avoid. If the sentence you come up with is long and complex, it’s a good time to think about whether other channels might be more effective ways to communicate that information. For example, if your blog is for “industry news, our own and shared product demonstrations, offers, pictures of staff charity fundraising, and a Friday funny cat video” then you might want to add a ‘news’ tab to your site or start posting funny videos on social media.
Both bots and humans look for sign posts in online content. Tags and metadata improve SEO by giving algorithms and spiders the information they’re looking for. This can be important for your ranking on both organic search and paid search pages. Some tagging information can also help human visitors in the same way as they either tell the reader what it’s about (#plumbing #newbathroom #leakingshower) or giving readers a way to find more, similar content quickly and easily.
This one is quick for you but may not be so quick for them! As the algorithms guiding organic and paid search are upgraded, simple under-the-bonnet changes can have a big impact. Make sure your web team is keeping an eye on the SEO of your site and blog.
A well-curated collection is also easier to use, so it’s much more likely that your customers will visit the blog, and that people who land on your blog will visit your site. It’s sort of like walking into a clean and tidy shop rather than a messy junk room.
Ideally, your blog name should tell people what sort of content they’ll get if they click in, and make it sound appealing. For both SEO and marketing reasons, it’s best to go for something like “Plumbing supply and industry news” or “Beauty tips, hair trends and great offers” rather than “Joe Blogg’s Blog” or “Hair today, curl tomorrow” or the ubiquitous “Blog”. We’re talking about business blogs here, particularly ones which are hosted on your own website, so there’s no need to think up a quirky or cute name for the blog part of your site – you’ve already got branding in place – and simply going with ‘blog’ misses an opportunity.
Like your blog itself, posts do better with clear names. This is particularly important for content you’re sharing on social media. All too often people share a link without any accompanying information, so if a site has been badly designed or an inappropriate title has been chosen readers may just see “click here” or “sign my petition”, and, as they don’t have any reason to, they won’t. Equally, a quirky or punny title is likely to struggle online while it would be great in print. Keep it short and specific.
If you’ve written more about a topic, link to it. And if you write a series of posts, go back and put a link to the rest of the series in each post. Make it as easy as possible for your readers – both bots and human – to find other great content on your site.
Some content is very nearly evergreen – for example, if you sell cards, you’ll probably sell Christmas cards every year but you might wind up with a different URL for your Christmas card landing page after a few years. Take a couple minutes to check on some of your most visited posts, and make sure they are up to date. At the very least, eliminate broken links and check the images still work. This is particularly important if you run regular paid search campaigns as there’s no point paying to send people to a broken or less than effective part of your site.
We’re not recommending hiding things, but if you’ve got a post which is out of date then either delete it, redirect the URL to a more current post, or turn it into a historic piece by putting an updated warning at the top. As an example, the legislation and safety recommendations on children’s car seats changes regularly, so if you have a post from 2014 that’s getting a lot of traffic, your visitors will be getting out-of-date and possibly dangerous information. Redirect the URL to your latest post or put a link at the top of the page and you can keep the traffic while eliminating misinformation.