Using a blog to endear yourself to readers is great.  But you probably haven’t come to this decision because you’re looking for a new way to flex your writing skills.  If you’re like most decision makers who have invested time and money into your website, you’re more interested in getting search engines to send additional traffic your way.  And that’s okay.  Some of the best methods for appealing to humans happen to be good for appealing to Google as well.

Good Blogs Appeal to Humans and Search Engines

Therein lays the trick: balancing your efforts to please readers and your efforts to please search engines.  A smart blogger can pique the interest of both, but if you’re going to err in either direction, make sure you land on the side of trying to appeal to humans.  Believe it or not, they’re less forgiving and more important to your organization’s goals.

Your Blogging for Business Checklist

Use this list of recommendations to make sure your overall blogging approach is focused and strategic.

  1. Know who you’re writing for.  Two months into your blogging efforts is an unfortunate time to begin asking yourself who your audience really is.  Having an idea of your reader in mind from the outset will make your job significantly easier.  What does your reader care about? What kinds of decisions does this person make on a daily basis? What fears keep your reader up late at night?  Have these answers up front, and constantly remind yourself of them.
  2. Be controversial…in the right measure.  Don’t be afraid to write something that stands out and stirs the passions of your readers (in a way that’s directly relevant to your site).  As long as you can support your case and be confident that your argument won’t alienate half your audience, giving them something to react to, or choose a side on, is a good way to win reader buy-in.  As the old saying goes, however, choose your battles wisely.
  3. Be unique.  Learn from other successful blogs, but don’t emulate them.  The world only needs one really fantastic blog about the virtues of industrial-grade ceiling fans.  If you’re competing with that blog, make sure your angle is different enough that your readers—who by the way, probably already know about your competitor’s blog—aren’t put in a position to choose between the two.  Make yours different in tone, point-of-view, aesthetics, or some other aspect that’s significant enough to be considered truly unique.
  4. Be disciplined.  Set a schedule for yourself, and stick to it.  Don’t blog with such predictability that it’s the same day and time each week, which may prompt search engines to question your content's natural sponteniety.  But do decide to blog at least once every “x” number of days, and then make it happen.  Remember, proving that your site is still publishing new content to visitors on a regular basis is one of the ways you’ll convince Google to trust your site. Without proof of growth, search engines may look at your site’s stagnancy and determine that its usefulness and relevancy have dropped off.
  5. Be realistic.  Don’t expect your site’s traffic to double just because you’re blogging great content.  Be patient—like any legitimate SEO, it will take some time to see the impact.  In the mean time, make it easy for people to come back, and make it easy for them to share your content with others.
  6. Be focused.  Choose a topic, a tone, and an angle, and then commit to it. If your site is all about giving dogs a better quality of life through organic dog food, don’t start suddenly writing to an audience of bird owners because there might be a market there.  The goal here is, or should be, to become the trusted authority on whatever you’ve chosen as your topic.  By spreading yourself too thin, or losing your focus, readers might question what your specialty really is.

Blogging for business works. That's why you're reading our web design blog right now--and we appreciate your time. If you'd like to explore the idea of sharing information more usefully and strategically with your online audience, we want to help you. Tell us about your site and what you want to acheive.

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