You know the feeling.
Every day you visit Google Analytics, hoping for that elusive spike in traffic.
That spike showing that you or your business has finally made it.
But as usual your traffic chart disturbingly resembles a flat line. You thought that building a website was enough.
You put serious money behind the design, you’ve got an online store that works like a charm, at least you assume it does, you haven’t really seen it in action that much have you?
Build it and they will come. You thought.
You’ve got an active social media strategy but it isn’t enough, it’s a ghost town.
What exactly is missing?
And what can you do about it today?
What Your Online Marketing Strategy Is Missing
We are all looking for that secret ingredient, the one thing that is missing that will shoot us and our business into orbit.
The truth, my friend, is that nothing guarantees success.
There is not one social media network, one ad network, or one website CMS system which puts you on the correct road to success.
There is no correct road.
However there are ways to give your business a better chance. But I warn you, most things that can give you the best chance also require the most work.
Nothing worth doing is easy.
If you have a business that can benefit from success and traffic online then there is one thing that I would recommend above all others, even above a robust corporate website.
Your business needs an ACTIVE blog.
Don’t Ignore the Power of Blogging
That previous statement really shouldn’t be a surprise to you anymore.
In fact you may have just rolled your eyes reading that, disregarding it as “old news”.
But the fact is too many business owners, executives and even marketing directors still choose to ignore something that nearly every influencer in the business world agrees on.
The facts are that businesses that blog are just more successful. Not just more successful online, more successful period.
- 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs. (Source: BlogHer)
- Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links (note that inbound links are one of the most important factors when it comes to Google’s search algorithm). (Source: Hubspot)
- B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads than those that do not. (Source: InsideView)
- 37% of marketers say blogs are THE most valuable type of content marketing. (Source: Content Plus)
- By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human. (Source: Hupspot)
I want you to read over that list again, and let it sink in. Pay special attention to the last point.
Blogging, social media, and other online marketing activities are only going to become more important as more and more business is done online.
Any effort put into your business’s online content marketing today will continue to reap benefits far into the future.
Don’t Step Into the Ring Unprepared
If you think blogging is easy, think again.
Sure anyone can put some content up on the web. But I assume you want your content to be read and to have a positive impact on your business?
It’s hard freaking work.
In fact there are entire businesses devoted to helping you grow your online presence.
It takes serious time, and you won’t see serious results instantly.
There is good news though. A blogging content strategy can make the rest of your life marketing online much easier.
No longer will you need to scramble for content to share via your social media channels. You have self-published content that you can post and re-purpose, driving people back to your website rather than the website of a competitor or an industry expert.
Also it is free, there is little to no capital expenditure needed to blog, all we are talking about is time, and it will take a considerable amount, especially as you get started.
For a well-researched and edited post it should take you at least a few hours at the beginning. And if you can’t see the value in it for your business’s long-term future, or if your business does not have the ability to be committing resources to its’ future health then I would agree that blogging is not for you.
But like anything in business, success only comes with risk and so if you see the worth in committing to blogging then read on and I’ll get you started!
How to Stand Out From the Crowd
For me there are five key pieces that you should have in place before you begin blogging. For the purposes of this exercise we will assume you are launching a blog for an established business (although most of this is applicable for personal blogs as well).
Also for me there is little to know debate one which Content Management System (CMS) to go with for your blog. WordPress is what I have always used, it can be very simple but also gives you tons of customizable options if you want to get more advance.
1. Blog Objectives
Before you do anything you have to decide what you want your blog to achieve, this decision will inform every subsequent choice you make.
As a business you will likely have one of two goals. Either you want to increase traffic to your website, building incoming links and impacting SEO or you want to make money from the blog itself, driving leads to your online store or other landing page.
Decide on your #1 priority and then make sure every decision you make while creating your blog is having a positive impact on said priority.
2. Domain Name
Make sure that your blog’s domain name can be easily linked to your business. Creating a whole other brand for your blog can be successful but will create more work for you on the marketing side and potential confuse your customers.
Using blog.yourdomainname.com or yourdomainname.com/blog are the two URL extensions I would recommend for your business blog.
Don’t get caught thinking that your design will be the determining factor in the success of your blog. You might be surprised to know that that beautiful theme you have your eyes on could actually hurt your traffic.
I recommend that you spend a little money (no more than $20-80) to purchase a premium theme. I use and would highly recommend www.elegantthemes.com.
The more important factors to consider (and why design is on this list at all), when deciding on a theme for your new blog.
– Does your theme support a Feature Box (and other promotional tools)
– Does your theme come with tech support
– Is your theme Mobile Responsive?
You may want to use your large header and navigation area at the top of your blog for branding, putting a cool graphic or your logo where everyone can see it.
The problem is that the space “above the fold” is the prime real estate of any blog. It is the space that a visitor sees upon arrival and if you make your visitors scroll down, chances are you have lost a big chunk of traffic instantly.
You are also missing an opportunity to use that real estate for a call to action, feature box or another important message that might keep the visitor there a little while longer.
For the link area of the navigation bar, keep it simple. Only offer the most important links and avoid using drop-down menus, the more choices you give visitors the more confused they can become.
Make sure you include an About Us/Me page in the Navigation bar. Your goal is to capture leads which means you need to build relationships with the visitors to your blog so make sure you add a personal touch.
Make sure it is easy for visitors to share your content on social media and find your social media profiles.
You should place social sharing buttons in at least three places on you blog:
– Top of each post
– Bottom of each post
– Floating beside each post
Make sure the links to your social profiles can be found in the header and footer of your blog (if the design allows for it.
Check out the Blogging Wizard himself, Adam Connell’s guide to the 10 best Social Sharing Plugins For WordPress in 2016.
Build Your Kick Ass Business Blog
It might sound like a lot of hard work, and it is, building a blog for your business means working hard before you see any real results.
But the stats don’t lie, your customers are online waiting for quality products and interesting information. You need to differentiate from your competitors and give them something different.
If you are committed to helping your readers and customers I guarantee you they will notice. They will stick around, sign up for your e-mail list, share your content on social media and buy your products.
All that’s left is for you to get started.
So decide what your goal is and then begin the process of getting your business in the Blogosphere.
With a professional looking blog you are a big step closer to building that all important relationship with your customer online.