When executed well blogging can be a great asset to small online businesses. But what is it that makes a blog successful? We take a look at how to create an effective blog post for your e-commerce site with some indispensable best practice advice and helpful tips on how to generate content (great for when you are a bit short on ideas).
“Small businesses that embrace blogging see 126% more growth in terms of leads than those that don’t blog.”
Setting up a blog for your online business can initially be a bit daunting and you will need to invest time and resources in its ongoing management. However the many benefits blogging can bring makes it well worth the effort.
- Companies that blog are more likely to be found on page one of Google.
- Companies that blog generate 55% more traffic
- 70% of people learn about a company from articles instead of advertisements
- B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that don’t
- 77% of internet users read blogs
So what turns an ‘all-right’ post to an excellent blog post? Take a look at our tips below to find out how you can improve your blog offerings.
1. Create engaging content
Just blogging away isn’t enough. You need to think about how to create engaging content – content that your target market will be interested in reading. Whatever you do don’t just churn out reams of posts about your products. Your blog is not the environment to aggressively promote your businesses products or services. It should be about creating sharable content that is relevant to your industry and of value to your target audience. Take a look at notonthehighstreet.com’s blog. They provide interesting and lively posts relevant to their customers.
Variety is important so try an assortment of themes such as;
- How to guides
- Best practice tips
- Top ten lists
- Industry news, facts and statistics
- Forthcoming trends
- Reader / client case studies
A blog is a great way to build your brand personality so a good tip is to write as you would talk. Remember you are trying to build a relationship with your readers so be natural and personable.
2. How to generate fresh content and new ideas
Engaging content is all well and good but what happens when you feel you’ve run out of ideas or have writers block? There are lots of ways you can keep generating great content. For example;
- Competitors: Check out the topics your competitors are writing about. See how you can improve on it or approach the topic from a different angle.
- Scribble down ideas: Often your best ideas come to you when you least expect. I try to jot ideas down as and when they come to me so I have some topic ideas up my sleeve when needed.
- Turn one post into a series: Rather than writing a long blog on one topic see if it lends itself to be turned into a series. Breakdown a large area into several bite-sized posts.
- Guest blogs: Accepting guest blogs can be a good way to get some additional content on your site. But do just make sure that any guest blogs you accept are from legitimate sources delivering high quality content and value to your audience. It’s a good idea to have content guidelines in place such as not allowing any unrelated links (for example sales links) in the body of the text.
- Hubspot’s blog topic generator: If you’re really stuck then try using a tool like Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator. It takes just seconds, simply fill in a couple of broad terms and it will come up with a list of relevant topic titles.
- Ask your customers. Find out from your customers the kind of topics they would be interested in reading.
3. Use research to create credible blog posts
It is really important that you take the time to research your topic. A well researched blog post will stand out and give you and your business more credibility. Use evidence such as facts, quotes and statistics to support your content. Do credit your references and include links back to the source – just make sure you open them in a new window. I recently came across a great article that gives you some excellent tips on how to approach researching your blog – How to Research Blog Topics: A Step-by-Step process. Definitely worth a look if you’re writing regular blog articles.
Spend some time thinking about the keywords and phrases you want to target in your article. Consider what search terms your target audience might use to find information about your topic area and include them in the post. I don’t mean overstuffing your article with keywords or phrases as this will just reflect badly on your article but adding a couple of well-chosen key phrases in the body of your text will help keep you focused and your article honed-in on the topic in hand.
4. Include visuals – they make a big difference
The majority of us are visual learners. Indeed visual content makes up 93% of all human communication. Including images in your blog article makes a significant difference to the effectiveness of your post. A good visual will capture your audience’s attention and make your article far more visually appealing.
Of course not just any old image will do. Your image should be relevant to the topic being discussed or used to support a point you are making. Try to be creative and don’t just churn out the same old stock photo everyone has seen before. There are lot a great sites you can source interesting images such as: Shutterstock, Dreamtimes, istockphoto.
There are also free image sites such as freedigitalphotos. You don’t need to pay for these images but you will need to include an attribution to the author and website when you use the image. Alternatively sites like Pixabay offer interesting images that are in the public domain and fine to use for commercial purposes with no attribution required.
5. Presentation is essential
How your post looks is important . No matter how great the content, if the presentation looks poor then people simply won’t take the time to stop and read your article. Long reams of text are uninviting. So break your post up into scannable, bite-sized chunks. Don’t be afraid of segmenting text with:
- Sub headings
- bullet points
- Bolded text
Headline. Your headline is important so take the time to craft it. It needs to be attention grabbing so incorporate keywords and compelling adjectives. Keep it to the point and ensure your headline accurately reflects the content of the post. If you’re a bit stuck, I came across a great post suggesting the ultimate headline formula as:
Numbers + Adjective + Target Keyword + Rational + Promise
Finally, before you publish take the time to check your post for spelling and grammatical errors.
Hopefully we’ve give you a few tips on how to optimise your posts to engage your audience and stand out from the crowd. Of course there are plenty more things you can do to make the most out of your blogging so if you’ve got some more tips then we’d love you to share them below. Happy blogging!
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this post, so do please leave a comment.