How to write an effective blog post for a small business website

How to write better blog posts for your potential customers

Writing an effective blog post might seem like a bit of a mystery. There are many layers and everyone seems to have a different opinion on what works and what doesn’t. Below we’ve put together a checklist of items which are essential to producing a great blog post.

You’ll find a lot of information on the internet about the specifics of writing good content, but there are a few key fundamentals which you need to get right in order to ensure that your article is a success.

1. Planning

There is an old saying that if you fail to plan you plan to fail. Nothing is more of time waster than writing a blog post that no-one is going to read. This is why you need to find out what information your target customer is searching for and produce it. You’ll also want to check what your competitors have written, so you don’t overlap – but solve a different problem.

So before you even start considering your blog title you need to ask: What valuable content can I produce for them that will help my target audience accomplish a specific task? For instance, if you run a coffeeshop, why not write an article about all the different blends of coffee and profile the tastes for each blend. Why not even a tasting competition? You get the picture, be creative, don’t just write a sales piece about your products.

Freebie: check buzzsumo for blog ideas as you can see what is trending right now

2. Competition

The next step is crucial. While you’re generating these great ideas, you need to find out whether they’ve been done before. You should check whether someone has already written an article about coffee blends for instance. There might be pages and pages of Google search results dedicated to this already. And if there is, there is little point in moving forward with it. Your article might be buried on page 17 and up against Nescafe. If so, no problem, move on to the next idea and run your checks again.

3. Relevant Keywords

Once you’ve settled on an idea and a topic, the next step is deciding what keywords to use in your article. It is essential to include keywords that are easy to rank for, relevant to your article, and relevant to your brand. Taking the coffeeshop example you could target “coffee blends” “ground coffee” “coffee bean” “whole bean” “coffee flavours” “roasted coffee” for example.

You should also use “long tail” keywords or key phrases, which people would naturally enter into a google search, for instance: “how to make the perfect coffee.” Make sure to use these key phrases you select throughout your post including the title and main copy. If your’e using WordPress, you should use Yoast SEO to help you write blog posts, it will make things a lot easier.

A great tool to help you find out how difficult it is to rank for a particular keyword or phrase is to use is Google’s Keyword planner. You can also use Kwfinder which is a paid tool but offers a few free tests. To help you get the most out of Google keyword planner (yes it might be tricky if you have not used it before) check out this backlinko article.

Next you need to expand this include key phrases surrounding those keywords. You could use the Answer the public tool which will help you come up with search terms that people have used on Google to find a particular keyword. This should be enough to help you being to generate some copy ideas to move forward.

4. Blog Title

Everyone loves a catchy title and everyone seems to have an opinion on what titles work best to entice people to read your article. There is a whole science behind it which you can read about at hubspot or you can’t, you can cheat and use a blog title generator if you’re really stuck. But good old fashioned creativity generally wins the day for us (and good measure of google research.) The short and sweet of it is to use a short catchy heading that explains what the user can expect from the article.

5. Write the copy

The next step is to get to it and write the copy. We use a content creation framework which provides a structure around which to wrap our content around. The general flow runs like this: Promise, Problem, Process, Do’s and don’ts, Next steps.

Once the framework is in place, write your article with the keywords and phrases next to you and use them naturally. Don’t go overboard. Natural is the key. Check out this Moz article for more advice on keyword density.

The most important piece of advice we can give when writing content is to think carefully about your target audience – what would they want to read? It this information useful? Am I solving a problem here? If you keep asking these questions, then you’ll likely come up with a good article.

6. Images

Next, it’s time to go and find some compelling images. Before we start: DO NOT USE IMAGES FROM GOOGLE SEARCH. Firstly that’s illegal and secondly your website will be branded as unprofessional so there is definitely no reason to do this. Now that we have that out of the way…on to where you can find images.

You should try and use your own images for your website a they will be unique and will be the face of your brand. You will need to take pictures of your products or services, yourself, and your place of business. Iphone images are not great. You should try and get a professional to take pictures for you as they will have all the right equipment and produce better images. Again, if budget is a concern, why not approach your local university or college and find a photography student. They will be keen to get their work out, do a good job, and be budget friendly.

If you can’t take your own images, you can use a paid stock photography site like Shutterstock, or a free service like Pexels which has high quality, commercial use images. Just be careful not to overuse stock images!

Make sure your images are no more than 100KB in file size and check what image dimensions you should use according to purpose for your blog article.

TIP: Make sure you name your images with descriptive titles – if you have a picture of a brown dog in the park, then title the image: “brown dog in the park.” Easy.

7. SEO

Prepare your article for SEO. There are number of technical tasks which you ‘ll need to run through. There is great hubspot article detailing all the points you need to check off. In short you’ll need to:

a. Write your title to include relevant keyword(s).

b. Ensure the keyword(s) is used in the meta description.

c. You should link to other blog posts

d. Use a search engine friendly URL structure (we would recommend using the keyword in the URL if you can)

Check out our other article about  how to use heading tags in WordPress, it’s a helpful resource.

If you’re using WordPress then we recommend using Yoast SEO. There is a free version, so there is no excuse. If you need help with your technical SEO, feel free to get in touch.

8. Call to Action

Ensure that you have a clear call to action. Ask the reader to do something. Direct them to an offer, another post, or ask them a question. Don’t leave your readers hanging at the end. In fact, you could think about each of your blog posts as a landing page. Use the end of the post to direct them through your site and drive traffic. You’ll be glad you did.

9. WordPress

Finally, use WordPress – if you’re not, then you’re spending a lot of extra time working on creating content. There are just so many tools available for WordPress to help make you more efficient it’s the standard communication platform for businesses both large and small.

We hope you found all this information useful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave us a message or if you’d like to know more about what goes into a successful small business website, check out our article: The 5 most important ingredients of a successful small business website. (see what I did there…)

 

 

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