Tag Archives: blogging

Why is Blogging Important for Business…Because Search Engines Play Favorites?

Small business blogging http://barnimages.com/As a small business owner, it can be important to blog. Why is blogging important for a small business? Because search engines favor sites with robust content, and blog posts are a part of that game. There are a couple of reasons though. First, small business blog posts attract traffic to your website. Second, they can help a customer decide to choose your business, service or product over a competitor’s. Third, a solid headline on a topic that your customers are interested in can bring new customers to your website, and can bring existing customers back for more. Websites with active blogs bring about 55% more traffic and see more conversions – people clicking links, signing up for your blog or newsletter or actually buying a product or service.

Blog Posts Help your Website Show up Higher in online Searches

In many cases, search engines reward websites that publish new content, and show them higher in searches than sites that put up their website then never make changes or add anything. Google plays favorites. Active blogs do better – twice a month should be enough, one a week even better, but at least put out one new blog post each month. Google sees so many sites go up with what they call ‘thin’ content. Just a slap-dash veneer of paint on a topic, which usually is not reflective of a quality site. But a site with rich, deep content both pages and posts around related topics is rewarded. Sites that have also generated some incoming links from a few other quality websites -search engines feel that those sites are more worthy of showing in search results than a 5 page only website about the same topic. Make your blog posts between 400 and 800 words, 600 seems to be the sweet spot (this is a tad long ant about 820 words). Occasional posts that are longer or shorter, will appeal to a wider variety of readers, and won’t hurt you. But those 500-800 word posts are not that hard to write and are seen by Google, MS Edge and Firefox as probably having enough information on a topic to be worth showing in search results.Small business blogging http://barnimages.com/

A Business Blog can Help New Customers Choose to Work with or Buy from You

I have had several client prospects say I called you, over a competitor, because , “I liked the easy-going tone of your blog.” And “I like that you said you speak “English” – not all that geeky social media jargon…and I ‘got’ that from reading your blog posts.” They chose me, because the other guy didn’t connect with them as well. Well-written blog posts can help your clients take one step closer to hiring you, if they like the information you provide, or the way you present it, or find you more helpful than your competitor. A good blog post can also remind existing customers why they liked working with you or buying from you in the first place. You can link to them in your monthly newsletter, or many people sign up to get your blog posts via email.

Writing a Strong Blog Post Headline with a Twist can get your Post Seen by Potential Customers

Search engines respond to individuals typing in searches, those simple or complex requests for information typed into that little box, by scouring the internet for the right website, page or post that will make that searcher happy. A blog post with good information that answers a question and has a good title, can bring that new customer right to your online doorstep and get them to walk inside your site – giving you an opportunity to connect with them that you would not otherwise have had.

But dry, keyworded blog post titles don’t always do a swell on social websites. To get a blog post shared via social media, another way to get individuals to your site, you often need a twist. The title of this post is in two parts. The First half is the keyworded half – written to attract search engines. The second part is mean to catch your eye and make you say – “what does she mean Search Engines Play Favorites?” and hopefully click to read more. Writing a blog post title that catches the interest of both search engine algorithms and the curiosity of your potential clients is the golden ticket. Not always easy to do, and you’d better deliver on what you promise in the title – or people will bounce right off of your site and go somewhere else to find the answer. The longer they stay on your site – the better search engines like you. What are called “click-bait” titles often leave your readers disappointed, and they leave fast? And you wouldn’t want to do that. A good title followed by a good post will leave them coming back for more. What are your tricks for writing blog posts that bring traffic?

 

Next week… a post about What the Bleep Should I Write about on my Business Blog?

Simple Affordable Website Design for Small Businesses

Small Business owner choosing from several website optionsI’m adding simple affordable website design for small businesses to my services.  Keep It Simple Web Design is a new segment of my business, click the link to go to the site and see my web design portfolio. Too many small businesses in the Philadelphia area, and other  business owners I meet via social media, haven’t taken the step to hang their website shingle up. Or have run into problems when they have tried to put up a website. It’s much easier to do than you think, and can cost much less than you think too. I’m putting my 20 years of PR and marketing experience behind you…helping you create your own business website. Continue reading Simple Affordable Website Design for Small Businesses

Better Blog Project 2: Goals and Support

benefits of setting goals on blackboardThis is post number  in the Better Blog November Challenge, or #BtrBlogNov that I declared a few weeks ago. Twenty plus p eople have signed on to this free project because we all want to improve the quality/quantity/range of our blogs and blog posts. This is the first set of  info & exercises.

Link 2 #BtrBlogNov intro post: http://bit.ly/jmSOM

Link to Twitter list of people who re giving it a try:  http://bit.ly/4iLz2Z

Reminder of main monthly goals:
To over one month, create a better blog – Focusing on ways to:

  1. Create better quality blog posts
  2. Increase the quantity of blog posts
  3. Either increase the
    1. Diversity of blog posts or
    2. The focus of our blog posts depending on which our site needs most

Here is Monday’s Nov. 2, Better Blog Project (TM)- A little bit of strategy can inform and strengthen your blog writing. By the way, I am doing the exercises too:

  • Identify our blogging goals
  • Create basic structure to capture our ideas when/where we find them – that works for you
  • Resources for finding blog ideas
  • Blogging Goals – Write down why you are writing your blog, try for 3 to 5 reasons.
    • Try and jot your own ideas down first. Then look at the list below afterwards. Then of your 3-5 goals – rank them in order – think about which of these goals will help you create a Better Blog then keep that in mind when writing your posts. Maybe put it on a sticky note on your computer screen:
      • Some goals: To reinforce your brand, increase your/your company’s name recognition online; to get more readers; to share information about a certain field, niche, or trend; to sell products, get clients, customers, or find business partners; to promote a cause; to monetize your blog and make money directly; to explore a topic; to find connections with others; to get speaking gigs; to learn bout the process of blogging; to get asked to blog for other larger sites; to get freelance writing gigs; or to get a fulltime job etc.
      • Most probably it will be a mix of several of these goals, but as above – ranks the top three and find a mix or balance that will help you create a better blog.
    • Explore your old blog posts, at least the titles to see where you have been, where there are holes you can fill, duplicates to trim, ruts you got in, gaps you left (in the topic, or in time). See what patterns (both good and bad) you can find.
    • Extra Credit: If you are very motivated, and have a blog statistics package set up for your blog (WordPress blog stats or Google Analytics), check them out – find out which posts have been more popular – see what keywords people used to find your site or a post. Don’t get overwhelmed; we might come back to this one later with more detail.
  • Exercise: Create two documents to support your play/work with your blog, in whatever way works for you
    • A document for blog ideasA computer file in which you jot down blog ideas, possible titles, a few sentences, and where you can copy & paste links into the file for reference. Create a shortcut and save it to your computer desktop, so you can open it quickly when you have an idea. I can tell you how, if you don’t know how to do that, or what that is. (also carry a paper notebook around with you to catch those ideas too). Why on the computer for most of us, for me, if I write the whole post on paper, then try and rewrite it on the computer, I can get lazy, it seems boring, I find excuses to avoid it. Your choice. I’ll have another trick in Monday’s version of this email.
    • A Document for the strategy part of crafting a better blog. This can either be on paper, or on the computer, but you want a place for your musings, brainstorming, where you can see the arc of you blogging as it unfolds during our explorations. Suggestion: One file & one notebook, not 3 notebooks – then it’s hard to find what you are looking for. (Tip, if you jot an idea down on a scrap of paper, instead of rewriting it (which I sometimes avoid doing, or end up losing it) instead: just tape or staple it into your main notebook). This is a clarification – thanks to @ NJDreaming – one of our BBP bloggers.
    • Start using these files/notepad today -when you get the seed of an idea, train yourself to jot it down, now (as long as it is safe, like you’re not driving or operating a train or something. ;~)

Resources & Tools:

    • Tools that may help you remember blog post ideasEvernote: http://www.evernote.com/, http://www.rememberthemilk.com/, http://www.delicious.com/. Or your cell phone – use the reminders function, or send yourself a text, or an email: indicate “blog idea” in the subject line (create a folder/label to store these).
    • I’m creating a Delicious.com account to save interesting articles on blogging as inspiration to all of us. You don’t have to sign up for Delicious in order to read my Better Blog Project Delicious files. I have saved the above noted links to my new Delicious account: www.Delicious.com/BetterBlogProject.
    • Extra Credit: I suggest you also start your own free Delicious account, as a way to bookmark cool articles to reference/link to in posts, comment on, or just learn from. Be sure to keep your tags/keywords simple to help you find items later. If it is by a popular blogger I make their name (or twitter name) one keyword, and month/yr as another.
      • Note: Delicious is now working with yahoo, if you don’t already have a yahoo account, you will have to set one up to create a Delicious account. Sorry, it’s new. Tips, create it, when it confirms your account details, at bottom hit: Edit Marketing Preferences- a uncheck all of them (your choice); also check the notifications and decide if you want to hide your profile (i.e. – only use it for Delicious.com, or create another social networking out post) and what notifications you want sent to your new yahoo email account. To keep active you have to login and do something once every 4 months or they can delete the account. Also go to my profile and check hide my age (which it automatically displays). That sounds complicated, but will save you from getting a bunch of junk.
      • Then continue and create your Delicious page, which is much easier. Say yes to the toolbar, then when you find a post you want to save, just hit Tag, login (I rarely log out) and it saves it for you, you add keywords so you can find it later. Cool!

Happy Blogging – No pressure just take what you find useful and move it forward!

I have to add two more inspirations behind this project – @problogger Darren Rowse‘s 31 Days to a better Blog in 2007 (link is on Delicious page and will be in Wednesday’s info, he also has an updated ebook version for $19.95 Click here to view more details ) and http://www.nanowrimo.org/ National Novel Writing Month (also in November) – I thought if people can write a novel in a month, we can improve our blogs in a month!

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Better Blog Month – November Intro 1

Compass ConceptSo some of you know, I had an inspiration, thanks to @journalistics during an online Twitter event called @journchat, to create something called The Better Blog Month Project AKA #BtrBlogNov.

Twenty one hardy souls signed up to participate in this free project, which I’m eager to do myself. There are many other ingredients that go into making a better blog, but this month we are concentrating on content, on the actual blog posts (along with some strategy around and behind the posts).

Basic Goals:
To over one month, create a better blog – Focusing on ways to:

  1. Create better quality blog posts
  2. Increase the quantity of blog posts
  3. Depending on which our site needs most, either increase the
    1. Diversity of blog posts or
    2. The focus of our blog posts

Basic Structure:
Those who signed up will receive and email Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the month of November 2009. Each email will have:

  • The topic of the day, and Some points to think about
  • An exercise
  • And some resources/links to help people brainstorm, or to provide more information (most of these are not planned as must reads, as I know our time is limited, but they are there to provide more information for those who want/need it).
  • For those who haven’t signed up, I’ll post a brief version of the day’s tasks, and to help get the community involved, I’ll ad some comments based on my experience doing the exercises, and ask for tips from all of us bloggers out there.

The Weeks are loosely themed:
Week 1: Getting Started on a Better Blog – Behind the Scenes Strategy
Week 2: Honing our Message
Week 3: Building our Inventory
Week 4: What comes Next
(Thanks to John Reddish @GetResults for helping me brainstorm the weekly titles)

Each day’s info are simply ideas, jumping off points as it were, gathered from several years of blog reading, time spent reading and absorbing information about blogging from other great bloggers, many years of writing in my work, a year of blogging, and are also informed by my 20 years of Public Relations experience. If I suggest one way/idea, feel free to make it work for you, but if you meet resistance, be sure to ask it to step aside and let you get on with playing and working; don’t let resistance move in front of you and block you from our goals.

I hope this inspires others to create better blogs this month too!

Cathy Larkin, www.WebSavvyPR.com , 484-802-7576, Find me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CathyWebSavvyPR (@CathyWebSavvyPR), Find me on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathylarkin

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