Do you have a business blog?
If not, you’re missing out on an affordable, effective means of inbound marketing.
Just check out these stats:
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Of course, not all business blogs are created equally. Companies have different styles, and posting schedules— so as they say, results may vary.
But no matter what kind of business blog you have, here are five features that you should include with all of your posts to maximize your blogging efforts:
#1 Worthwhile Content
Ok—this one’s the biggie. No one is going to stick around and read your content if it doesn’t grab them. Infuse your blog with educational and interesting information, so people have a reason to bother reading it.
You want to write about your industry, not yourself. Remember there’s no hard-selling here. Your blog is where you build trust with potential customers and set yourself apart as an expert.
And don’t get sloppy with your writing. These days a casual writing style works for business blogs, but you still need to pay attention to spelling and grammar.
Just focus on well-written, valuable content, and your readers will be coming back for more.
Links also play an essential role in successful blog posts. This doesn’t mean you should stuff your posts with irrelevant or spammy links. You want to sprinkle them (sparingly) into your post, so they fit seamlessly and add something to your content.
You should use both internal and outbound links.
Internal links send your reader to other parts of your blog, which keeps your potential customer lingering on your site.
Outbound links go to another blog or online site. You can link to original sources, which adds credibility and is helpful to your reader. Outbound links can even improve your page rank.
If you want to make sure your reader stays on your blog after clicking on an outbound link, you can set the browser to open a new window when they click on the outbound link.
#3 A Pleasing Design
Would you stick around to read a giant uninterrupted block of text on your computer screen? Probably not.
Even if your written content is great, you still need to make it visually appealing.
An attractive design is also a great way to add some personality to your blog. But don’t go all crazy with too many fonts and colors. With blog design—you want to keep it simple and not get too fancy.
It’s hard to read on a computer screen, so include plenty of white space. By using bulleted and numbered lists, you’ll make it easier for your visitor to read or scan. You can also break up large amounts of text by adding images and infographics.
#4 Share Icons
It would be a shame to invest all of your time writing a killer blog post that’s beautifully designed, only to have no one read it.
One study found that, nearly 42% of people measure the social influence of a blog by the number of social media shares it gets, so social promotion is essential.
You might get lucky, but if your blog is new, it’s unlikely someone’s just going to stumble upon it. You need to promote your content on social media, so it reaches your desired audience.
Some marketers suggest the 80/20 rule for sharing your content. That means, spending 20% of your time writing your blog post and 80% of your time promoting it.
Aside from actively promoting your content in your social media channels, you can add share icons to all of your posts.
These little icons are often free (or if you’re looking for more bells and whistles you can pay for a premium service) and easy to add to your blog. Some popular places to get your share icons are ShareThis, Simple Share Buttons, and AddThis.
It’s fine to get creative, but don’t add too many buttons, or else it’ll look cluttered.
Be sure to place share icons near the content being shared and “above the fold.” Some argue the best location is at the top, but many large blog sites, including Social Media Examiner, put them to the left.
#5 A Call to Action
Don’t forget that all important call to action. With a business blog, you don’t want your visitor to leave without taking some action—whether it’s signing up for your newsletter or downloading a free eBook.
Make sure people see your call to action button. Effective spots for your button are on the blog sidebar or at the end of each post.
Wrapping it Up
Today, blogs are an essential part of any successful business plan. By tweaking your blog slightly and implementing the features mentioned above, your business blog is sure to thrive and be more effective.