While many online marketing opportunities are available to small business owners these days, nothing is more tried and true than the blog post. Good posts drive traffic to your website, keep people on your site longer, and connect with future customers. But why else should you blog? Which topics will get you the best return, and how should you structure them?
A blog is a collection of posts on your website that people can scroll through and read. These posts can include content about specific water quality issues, solutions to water quality problems, changes in the industry, news about your company, and spotlights on employees. But really, you should blog for two main reasons:
- Blog posts drive traffic to your website, and people will stay longer on your website as they read it.
- Water quality has become top-of-mind for many homeowners and business owners since news of the Flint, Mich., lead crisis broke. Now is the time to get the message out to your target audience about the benefits of cleaner, safer water.
Remember that people go to your website because they are intrigued. They stick around because of the information and value.
Ground Rules for Blogging
Good blog posts always provide content that is relevant to your customers. In other words, water treatment specialists should not write about ballet dancing—unless, of course, interpretive dancing is one of your services.
Readers associate your company with the value you provide. When you are in a store and an associate directs you to what you seek or answers your questions with knowledge and experience, you think positively of that brand. This is the basis of good customer service.
Your subjects should range from simple to complex. Some of it should be high level, giving people overviews of issues and problems, and some of it should be deep dives. People will decide which content they want to access.
Blog posts can be the foundation for all the content you create. You can build marketing campaigns, Facebook posts and advertisements on informative, value-added blog posts. They also will position your company as an expert. Remember, if you say it first, you are considered the most informed.
The Importance of Blog Post Structure
Blog post structure can impact your business as much as the content. Make blog posts easy to read for humans and non-humans, as it improves your search engine rankings and makes your business more visible.
In addition to human readers like you and I, little bits of code called bots scour the internet performing specific tasks. For the point of our conversation, we are going to focus on web crawlers—bots built by Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines to read, catalog, index and rank websites. The goal of a bot is to find websites that most appropriately match the keyword searched by the human. What they find within a website calculates where your website pages rank in search results (not counting paid advertising, which is always at the top of the page). This is called search engine optimization.
Understanding how your target audience searches for your company—which keywords and keyword combinations are most commonly used, for instance—will help you determine which products and services to focus on when writing your website’s pages and blog posts.
A Good First Impression
The title and first paragraph are where you should connect with readers, include relevant keywords, and give readers an idea of what they are reading. Much like a first date, this is where you make or break the blog post.
Keep in mind that bots look for keywords in your title and first paragraph to decide what the post is about. This will influence how the post will show up in relevant searches.
Use Headings Wisely
Even the most daring of readers are daunted by a wall of text. Breaking up your post into smaller pieces makes it easier for users to read the post and signals a change in focus with each new section. Starting the sections with a heading (think: section title) tells people what they are about to read. It is also another great place for those keywords. By making your section titles a “Heading 2” style, you are telling the bots just how important those keywords are.
Wrap It Up
At the end of the post, summarize the topic, reiterating the main points you were trying to convey, and publish it for the world to see. Do not worry if your first post is not that great. Blogging, much like writing in general, gets better with each post. Pay attention to how people share and comment on posts. This will encourage future blog subjects or deep dives into this topic area.
When done right, blogging is a powerful tool that can drive traffic to your website and keep it there. Use your social media platforms to promote and share that content, including a link to the post on your website to read more. You need to tell people why they should keep going back to your website.
Bots consider a website more important and prioritize websites over a social media profiles. Social media should be used to promote your company’s website and build relationships, not be the main source of information.
So, now that you have read about the importance of good blogging, what are you waiting for? Find a topic and start writing. You may find that you enjoy it, and you will be adding value as a proven expert to your customer base.