A blog is a key to engagement with your business’ target demographic. By generating fresh, in-depth samples of your ideas, not only can you maintain a healthy relationship with your audience, but also you can engage new members and lead them down the path to purchasing your product or service.
Five factors will ensure that your blog enables you to communicate with your audience:
- Content planning
- Platform choice and design
- Traffic analysis
You may already have started blogging, but these tips will help you review and stabilize your expertise.
What’s going to be the best way to showcase your ideas? Pictures, text, or a mixture of both? Is your audience mostly comprised of people who travel frequently, or is it made up of people who are at a desk or home most of the time? How do you want to engage with your audience? Do you want to include polls or voting opportunities on your page? Knowing all of this in advance will enable you to choose a platform and tailor your posts to engage your audience.
For example, if your audience is made up of busy professionals who travel frequently, a platform which looks good on mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets) may be best. If your audience mainly views your content via a desktop computer, this choice may be less important.
If you plan to post images primarily, an image-focused blogging platform like Tumblr might be your best bet. WordPress system on the other hand, works well for text as well as images and comes with many ready to be used WordPress themes that you can download literally in seconds.
Know what you want to provide to your audience before choosing a platform to deliver it.
Platform Choice and Design
You can add a blog page to your main website or set it up on an independent site. Blogger and WordPress are free and easy to use, and offer articles and forums for technical support. Take some time and read through the platform’s support articles, browse their templates (if they offer them) and read about their features, before settling on one.
Again, it’s good to know how your blog will look on different types of screens. Looking at blogs on different platforms, using a desktop computer and various devices, will enable you to choose the platform that’s right for your ideas.
The design is key to your blog’s accessibility. Select colors which match or are close to colors you’ve used for your brand. Consistency lets your audience knows they’ve come to the right place.
Title your blog using something which reflects your company’s mission statement, so that your audience knows this isn’t your product itself, but an extension of the business. Include a brief and intriguing biography, so that your audience links you with the blog and the product in their minds. A professional and attractive photo of yourself attached to the biography will make your audience want to get to know you and your ideas better.
A blog can include embedded, or links to, various types of content. You can link to your other assets (such as podcasts or vlogs), embed portions of them in the posts, or link to the content of material which helps illustrate and supports your ideas.
Make sure there’s a link for your audience to subscribe, by which you can notify them by email of new blog posts. Think of this as a recurring invitation, except you only have to set it up once.
Your blog page should include links to your social media presence. Doing so allows audience members to find your posts easily on Twitter, Facebook, or whatever social media you prefer. Contributing to social media (via likes, comments, and shares) enhances your credibility, shows a new aspect of your personality, and inspires your audience to share, like, and comment on your posts.
Allowing comments on your posts not only allows your audience to feel closer to you but also makes it easy for you to validate their loyalty while gaining information about their interests.
However, comments can be impersonal and lack the body language or nuance that comes with face to face contact. For example, if someone writes, “Good post. I liked it,” It’s difficult to tell if the intention behind the statement is sincere or sarcastic. Always use your best communication skills to be clear about your intentions.
It’s wise never to do anything on the internet that you wouldn’t do in real life. There may be people who write mean or hurtful comments on your posts. Responding to them with negativity (if at all) is counterproductive to the use of your time and energy. Comments sections on blogs and news sites can be chock-full of fights and ad hominem attacks. If a thread of comments on your blog turns sour, it’s better not to get involved. You can delete comments.
Another unusual aspect of comment sections on blogs is spam. People will occasionally use comments on blogs to add links promoting products or services, which can distract from your posts and ideas.
Blogging platforms, such as WordPress, have systems to prevent comments of this sort from being visible until you approve or delete them. You can also set up your blog to only display the comments you accept (if you have the time). The best thing to do is allow comments, but if something turns malicious, or if it derails the intent of your original post, shut it down.
Your blog should create a community of support. Even if your blog posts are uploaded in advance and scheduled for publication, you should check your site often to make sure it’s a healthy system.
Optimizing your blog posts makes them easy to find via a search engine, keeps your page tidy and organized, and ensures it’s visually pleasing to your audience. Imagine that someone in your audience remembered something interesting that you wrote in a blog post a while ago, and wanted to share it with a friend. How would they find it? They could go to your page and scroll through your blog posts, or use a search engine. You want to make it as easy as possible for your audience to find and share your ideas.
Content categories divide your posts by topic. Usually, you can create the categories and tick boxes by each category title to put that post in that category. For example, if you wrote a post about what kind of shoes to wear on a walking tour of Southeast Asia, you could categorize this under “shoes” and “travel clothing.”
To indicate the topics you want to apply to your blog post, in the tag section, you can type in the word you want to tag the post with, or select frequently used words. For example, in the blog post above, you could type in, “shoes,” “walking,” “Southeast Asia,” and “fitness.”
Don’t forget about search engine optimization, which is when you write in a way that includes repetition of keywords. For example, your post mentioned earlier could use the phrase “walking shoes” frequently. When someone does a search for “walking shoes,” your content is more likely to come up.
When you title a blog post, make it short and straightforward to enable sharing, and make it easier to find in search results. In WordPress, if your blog post title is a sentence, that entire sentence will be included in the blog post’s web address. Short blog post titles, of less than five words, are easiest to share.
Google Analytics shows you a lot about your audience and how they visit your blog site. WordPress also provides analysis of website traffic. It can show you how many visits your site received on a given day, what keyword searches they used to find your site (if they used a search engine), or what website they came from to find your post (such as a social media post, or another site). WordPress’ traffic analysis isn’t better or worse than Google Analytics, but you can use them together.
Once you know what you want to present and how you want to do so, find the platform that fits you best. Design it, so it shows off the best of your brand, and maintain your community. Then, you can watch your blog traffic gro