Here are some general tips for small businesses when writing blog posts. These tips will help you get quality traffic to your website, and build an audience for the longer-term:
Be realistic & consistent
The biggest problem facing small businesses when it comes to blogging is lack of time. Many businesses start with an optimistic vision of weekly postings but fail to create a system or allocate people & resources to get the job done.
The common resolution is to create poorly written blog posts with little engaging content, with no thought of how it might benefit the target audience. Or businesses simply go months without posting new content.
To avoid these problems, be realistic with the resources you have at your disposal. Address the specifics of your blog posting system. Who will write your blog posts? How much time can they devote to the process? Who will publish them on your website and share them via social media?
It’s better to write one good blog post a month than one poorly written blog post a week. Commit yourself to a light workload in the beginning, focusing on quality content. Then build up once your system is in place.
Consider enlisting contributors and guest experts to lighten the load and maintain a regular posting schedule.
Research your audience
Who is the audience you want to target for your blog post? Most likely, if you’re a small business, you want to target the people who can benefit from the products and services you offer. Take time to consider the behaviors of your demographic. What age group are you targeting, what are their interests? Find out what websites they visit and what social media they use. Find out when they tend to go online and what they’re looking for.
When you have a good picture of your audience, you can tailor your blog posts just for them.
Write original, compelling content:
Don’t copy and paste from another website, you’re wasting time instead of saving time. Search engines rank original content higher than a copy-paste job.
Write compelling content that speaks to the audience you are trying to attract. If your content doesn’t make sense or doesn’t provide useful information, it won’t serve your audience, and in turn, won’t serve you.
This style of writing takes time. Be patient and follow through.
Write for audience first, search engines second
It’s tempting to write an article stuffed haphazardly with keywords to help your search engine ranking, but it will hurt you in the long run. Focus on structure and flow; make your content readable. Keep your keywords in mind, but make sure to service the reader first.
The longer, the better (in general)
According to Quicksprout, the longer a blog post, the higher your search engine ranking, the more link-backs you’ll receive, and the more your content will be shared. Longer articles tend to be more informative and have a higher combination of keywords for search engines to pick up. Articles 1500+ experience a significant gain in social sharing.
That said, you won’t win any points for drawing out an article for the sake of word count. Were you the kid in school who double spaced your lines and wrote superfluously wordy sentences to meet the required page count of your essay? Your teacher didn’t like it, and neither will your audience.
Ideal day/time to post? During off-business hours (in general)
While most blog posts are written during the 9-5 workday, most blog posts are read and shared during off-business hours and the weekend. According to marketing firm TrackMaven, Weekends, early mornings, and evenings are a great time to post on your blog and share on social media.
Another study by KISSmetrics concludes that Monday blog posts receive the most views and inbound links.
If you look hard enough, you’ll find data that supports a Tuesday or Wednesday blog post. Ultimately, you have to look at your analytics reports to determine what’s best for your business. Your particular audience has its own patterns.
Include hyperlinks to sources referenced in your post. Include links to related content and pages on your website. These links will help your audience and improve your search engine ranking.
Become a voice of authority in your industry
A good blog helps you establish a presence and authority in your industry. Your target audience should look to you for advice, information, and inspiration. Stay focused on your niche every time you post. Think of how you can reach out to your market.
Encourage dialogue and stay on top of comments. Create content based on the demands of your audience.
Work from your blog first, then from social media
Social media services like Facebook want you to pay to reach your audience. That means, unless you pay to boost your post, few, or no one will see your content. It’s time to take back control of your content, post to your blog first, then to social media. This can be made simpler with tools like Hootsuite, that allow you to post simultaneously to multiple social networks.
Consider a monthly newsletter for the most important content. You are more likely to reach your customers.
Monitor your contributors
If you enlist the help of guest experts and contributors, monitor their content for quality and accuracy. Be sure to follow links used in a post. Determine if the links are broken, or if they are not cited accurately. Look for glaring typos and false information. Avoid the temptation of low wage bloggers who post content that lacks substance.
Have adequate hosting
This might seem a little odd, but you want to make sure that your hosting provider hasn’t stuffed you on an overloaded server. If you’re in a shared hosting environment that offers you limited resources, then your site speed may be affected. If your website is running super slow, people will give up on you before your page is loading.
However, all shared hosting isn’t bad. For example, this site is hosted on Siteground and has performed admirably for years.