Now let’s talk a little bit about blogging, which has long been the webmaster’s best friend for driving in new visitors and keeping them engaged.
If you’re like most people, then you probably hate to blog because if feels like there’s nothing to really talk about. After all, your website contains all the core information needed to drive sales and keep customers educated (at least, it is if you followed the last lesson plan). So what’s a blog really for in the first place?
Let me answer that question with another question. Do you remember when we were talking about the hundreds of keywords your site needs to be optimized for in section five?
Blogs are the perfect way to focus on those phrases in a natural way. In fact, you can make your blog title the exact long-tail key phrase that you’re targeting and give in-depth guides on every aspect of that topic for your customers. That gives each blog an excellent chance to rank while helping your entire website’s rankings as well.
But for a moment, let’s forget about the pure SEO aspect of blogging. Better rankings are one of the main side benefits of blogging, but that’s not why you should be doing it.
Blogging is about giving potential customers a way to experience your brand in a completely different way. It’s a place to show people your company culture, what you’re really all about and give them an inside preview of what you’re like as a business.
In fact, some of the best blogs on large corporate sites often have nothing at all to do with their actual business. Instead, they talk about things that are important to their ideal customers. Since we’ve used the pet shop example for two chapters now, we might as well stick with it to give you a better illustration here.
What would a pet shop blog about?
- Activities to do with our pets
- Fun training and grooming tips
- Ways to keep our pets healthy
- Area dog parks and other events
- Best hotels for travelling with pets
- Product reviews on pet brands
- Blogs on celebrity animals
- Information on adoption/shelters
- News topics relating to pets
That’s just off the top of my head- there are likely hundreds of great pet topics to blog about. And believe it or not, every industry has just as many things that are important to readers.
So hear me loud and clear here- blogging is not about SEO. It’s about making connections.
Here’s a great example.
I have a friend who owns a local watch repair business in a small town. And when he started his website a few years ago, I told him to blog about absolutely anything that would connect with others.
He first started writing about rare watches that would come through his shop, plus tips on changing batteries and keeping your watches clean. The blog did okay at first; he was getting an additional few hundred hits per month and a customer would mention every now and then that they found his business through the blog. So he was pretty happy.
But one day, he decided to write about a local festival that he attended with his family. He gave a nice summary of the day along with about a dozen pictures he took with his smartphone, and he posted the blog almost feeling ashamed of not being able to think of something better to write about.
A few days later, however, one of the local papers linked to his blog and asked permission to use one of his photographs in a feature article. By the end of that week, his website had taken an additional 17,800 visits. The traffic in eight days was more than his entire previous year.
And the visitors just kept coming…both to his website and through his front door. He currently ranks #1 overall for that festival name as well, which means that every year around that time, he gets a huge spike in new visitors.
If you take a closer look at some of your favorite websites, chances are that their best blog posts are similar to the one above. They’ll be about something non-business related that people really care about.
should be enjoyable content that people connect to
should be guides focused on your main keywords
should be promotional (sales, new products, etc.)
Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t blog about your industry. I’m simply saying that it should not be your only focus if you’re goal is building a loyal following. So when you choose your topics for blogging, try to follow this little guide-
So if you’re planning a blog calendar for next month and you want to post a new topic every weekday, you’ll have approximately 20 topics to work with. Ten of those topics should be solely about entertaining your customers, six would be educating them about your industry, and the last four would be focused on sales and products.
Of course, the formula for every business would be slightly different. For example, if you’re running an extreme sports/outdoors company, then every article could cover all three categories at once. But product placements should never feel forced within the story…that’s a huge turn-off to consumers (that’s what your banners are for).