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Everyone is a blogger these days. Where two decades ago it was inconceivable that your local hardware store would post regularly, now it’s impossible to think it wouldn’t. Otherwise, how would you know how to rearrange those loose cabinets?
Creating a blog is easy. There are many free and paid templates. Setup is done in minutes. This, however, is only the beginning. Everything about your blog, from layout and fonts to colors, image choices and topic decisions, should be deliberately selected to best support your brand and drive readership and conversions. So where to start ?
Related: Here’s the Trick to Writing Blog Posts People Really Want to Read
Why does your business need a blog?
First, clearly delineate a set of goals for your blog. Creating a blog just because you want to is not enough. Blogging can benefit businesses in many ways, and your goals may include:
Attract customers to your website
Cultivate interest and authority
Test new ideas
Loyalty over the long term
Create multi-purpose content
Many of these goals may apply to you, or you may name others that are specific to your business. Refine your goals to a realistic set, then choose topics that deliberately support those goals.
For example, a business in the legal services industry is less likely to aim for a direct conversion from a blog than a business selling a specific tangible product. Therefore, a law firm’s blogging strategy may be aimed at generating traffic, increasing authority, providing useful information to those seeking attorneys, and promoting long-term growth rather than profit. direct customer acquisition.
What information should you provide?
Again, the answer to this question highly depends on your industry and your goals. Generally speaking, though, your posts should either solve a common problem your customers are having, or provide original information about your field, or both.
REI Co-op’s blog, Uncommon Path, is a great example of how topic selection can support a brand’s personality and mission while providing useful information to a wide range of potential customers. Topics like national park accessibility and the best places to see stars mingle with product reviews and recommendations, giving visitors a way to find the adventure and, of course, the gear to use to do it. .
While your company may not have the resources of a giant like REI, your team can come together to create inspirational lists of topics like:
Common issues your customers face
Common questions your customers ask
Information not directly related to a product that would interest target audience segments
Products you can review
People in your industry you can interview
Remember that with the exception of the latest business news, your blog is about your customers, not you. Plan a realistic topic schedule in advance and stick to it. If you can only post a few times a month, make those posts count. Quantity is not always the winning strategy.
If you have relevant lead generation tools, such as e-books or resource downloads, include calls to action in your posts to maximize effectiveness.
Related: 6 Blog Basics That Will Keep Viewers Coming Back For More
Do you advertise your blog?
Posting regularly will help you build your stock of indexed pages and contribute to internal link building, two things that boost SEO. However, to get the most out of the time invested in your blog, you need to get your posts out there as well.
Using social media can help you maximize every piece of content while getting a promotional boost. Blog content can be repurposed into videos or cut into short infographics to post on social accounts. For B2B companies, LinkedIn offers a good platform to share links to recent articles. A set or series of blog entries can also be bundled into an email newsletter or used to create an ebook download, both of which are lead generation engines.
Always follow best practices when posting. Comment spamming and hijacking is annoying and potentially damaging to your reputation.
Does design affect conversion and readership?
You’ve formulated your goals, developed lists of high-value topics, and agreed on the frequency of posting. How should you present all this information to the world?
Blog design can affect readership and lead generation. Navigation on the blog should be simple and visitors should be able to read the articles easily. Confusing, cluttered layouts or hard-to-read copy won’t provide repeat readers or loyal customers. Pay attention to the following layout elements:
1. Fonts: Research on the most readable fonts is mixed, and there’s no hard and fast rule on the best fonts to use for headings or body text. In April, the Nielsen Norman Group released the results of a 2022 font readability study that confirms this. Beyond his main conclusion that there is no single right answer about the best fonts online, he found:
People read their fastest font on average 35% faster than their slowest.
The best performing fonts for older readers, those over 35 in this study, differed from the best performing fonts for younger readers. If your designers are under 35 and your target audience is over 35, what’s good for one is not good for another and vice versa.
People aren’t good at picking their easiest-to-read fonts. Subjects read on average 14% faster in their fastest font compared to their favorite font.
Don’t panic, though, readability best practices still exist, including:
Set a minimum font size of 18 points.
Pay attention to the amount of space between lines of text.
Establish a text hierarchy between headings, subheadings, and body text.
Use consistent link colors and hover effects.
2. Segmentation: Here I am referring to content segmentation rather than audience segmentation. On average, a visitor will read about a quarter of the copy on any given page. Visitors are digitizing and your job is to facilitate the digitization. You can do this by:
Limit paragraphs to one to three sentences
Break up text with headings
Using bulleted lists and pictures to support main points
3. Selection of images: Image selection is important for several reasons. Consistent, quality imagery supports your brand personality and culture and can even attract potential customers to your aesthetic. Companies that use imagery consistently will cultivate a recognizable style in any setting.
Creating a mood board is a good way to ensure that charts are used consistently. A mood board is a collection of items, including but not limited to photos, that are representative of your brand’s style. You might also consider creating a list of things that are explicitly prohibited in blog photo choices. Once you’ve selected images for your posts, don’t forget to optimize them for web use so they don’t slow down your page load times.
Related: 5 Ways to Grow Your Business Through Blogging
If you’ve decided it’s time for your business to start blogging, make the effort to cultivate a blog that enhances and supports your brand. A small investment of time can produce disproportionate results.