9 Tips for a Successful Business Blog

Blogging can be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. Today’s online battleground is fierce, and the key to success is content, content and more content. The more active you are on your website and on social media, the more exposure you will gain.

We’ve compiled 9 tips to help your blog be as successful as possible:

1. Post Often

Many business owners make the mistake of starting a blog and not following through with it. They may start off with the best intentions and post a few times early on, but then the posts get more and more spread out. Eventually, they stop altogether. One reason blogging is helpful for boosting SEO and website traffic is that it is fresh content on your site. If you are not adding more posts regularly, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Also, if you have any dedicated followers of your blog, they will lose interest if there aren’t posts happening consistently.

2. Write Quality Content

Another common misconception about blogging is that you can post anything and it will produce good results. Sure, it will be fresh content and you can argue something is better than nothing. However, if the articles are poorly written or lacking substance, it can turn away readers and actually work against you.

3. Mix Up Your Topics

If you are blogging regularly, it’s important to discuss a variety of topics in your articles. Otherwise, it gets repetitive and uninteresting. The good news is there are so many different things you can write about. Customer testimonials/case studies, new hires, current employee profiles, news about your business, training events attended, new equipment/resources, industry trends, services offered, product information—these are just a few of the things you can post about. Ultimately, customer testimonials and case studies will be what you should post most often. They are great way to highlight specific services you offered while also sharing positive feedback about your business.

4. Use Keywords and Phrases

Your blog posts should included plenty of keywords and key phrases that your customers will be searching for. Make sure they are pertinent to the story. You don’t have to cram in everything. Use the terms that are fitting with the topic of the post. The more specific, the better. Always pepper in keywords, but also don’t overdo it. Again, it goes back to quality writing. If it’s too loaded up, it will not present well and readers will lose interest.

5. Use Tags

In addition to the keywords in your articles, you can add meta tags and keywords to any post. These will work “behind the scenes” to help boost the SEO appeal of any post you make.

6. Include Links

Within your articles, create hyperlinks to other pages. You can link to other pages on your website or other blog articles that may be related. You can also link to outside vendors if you don’t want your article to come across as too self-serving. Just remember to set any outbound links to open up a new page/tab so that it doesn’t take them completely away from the blog post they are reading. Also, don’t overdo it with links. Usually one link every 100 words is the max we recommend.

7. Include Photos

Make sure your blog posts include at least one photo. Visuals help break up the text and people always enjoy looking at nice imagery. Stock photos are okay, but try to personalize posts as much as possible. Take pictures relating to your business, your customers and your employees. This will help add personality to your blog.

8. Pay Attention to Word Count

You don’t want your posts to be too long or too short. Find a happy medium. At NextGear Marketing, we usually like to keep our customer’s blog articles in the 300-500 word range.

9. Share on Social Media

Any time you post a blog, make sure the link to that article is shared on your social media pages, as well. This helps ensure more of your followers see the post, while also creating more inbound links to your site. That’s good for SEO. Include a photo with the link, so the visual will help grab readers eyes within their social media feeds.

These are some of the basic strategies to use when writing and sharing blog posts. If you follow these simple rules, you will see a boost in organic website traffic. If you have questions about blogging for your business, contact NextGear Marketing for a free consultation.

6 Ways to Maximize Your Organic Website Traffic

The purpose of having a website is to get people to visit it. The more ways people have of finding your site, the more people will visit your site. And the more people who visit your site, the more business it will lead to. It’s a simple marketing equation.

There are all sorts of services out there where you can supposedly buy your way up the SEO ladder, and obviously there are plenty of pay-per-click advertising options like Google AdWords. There are other online marketing solutions such as ads/sponsored posts on social media, as well. Yes, these can be effective, and the more you do the better your search results will probably be. However, they can also be expensive. Before paying too much on online advertising, you have to set your budget and stick with it.

Then, monitor the results regularly. Is your site getting more traffic? Are those click-throughs turning into actual leads? Is your business improving? In other words, if spending $100 a month on online advertising is resulting in $200 more in business, then it’s well worth the investment. If it’s not measurably getting you back more than you paid, then it’s time to rethink your online marketing strategy.

Whether you are using paid online marketing techniques or not, there are still many other ways to boost your site traffic through organic means. In a basic sense, “organic” means through free resources. Free is a relative term because you are likely already paying someone to host your website. You may have an employee or outside company managing content on your site, writing blogs or posting on social media. Or, you can choose to do these tasks yourself.

No matter who is handling these tasks, the strategies below are affordable and effective ways to maximize your organic site traffic.

  1. Utilize Tags

You don’t want tags on your shirt, but you do want them on any web page or blog post that you create. Meta tags, page titles, meta descriptions, keywords—these are all vital back-end elements that can greatly impact search results. Be specific, unique and detailed for each page/post, think about what your consumers might be searching for, and take the time to think through what tags you are including.

  1. Think About Your Customers

To piggy-back on the last point, it’s important to think about your customers (or rather, try and think like your customers) when writing any content for your website/blog and preparing any tags/keywords. If you try too hard to load up your site with keywords you think search engines will value, you’ll end up with repetitive and non-reader-friendly content. Provide information your customers will want to have. Talk to them and not at them.

  1. Write Blogs

Writing regular blog posts is a very effective way to improve site traffic. It takes time to write quality content, but it’s worth it in the end. Blogging gives you an opportunity to write about an endless amount of different subjects relating to your business and your customers. The more specific you get, the better your search results will be.

For instance, say you are a transmission shop. Write a different blog for each specific service you provide—let’s say repairing and replacing differentials. Describe to the average consumer (write in layman’s terms, but don’t dumb it down too much) what a differential does. This is an example of an informative style blog post. Provide information about differentials, how they work and then subtly work in your own services and expertise in repairing differentials. If you had a customer recently get a differential repaired, tell their story and use quotes from them if they provided a review afterward. Do this for every type of service you offer and you’ll be amazed at how these specific blog posts will draw in people searching for specific things relating to your business.

  1. Create Inbound and Internal Links

Links are a fantastic way to increase click-throughs and ultimately boost site traffic. Your blog posts and web pages should include links to other posts and pages within your site. Don’t overdo it (typically, the recommendation is one link every 100 words) or it will turn off the reader. Likewise, work to get more inbound links to your site. Create a partner page on your site that includes links to other businesses and vendors in your area. Ask them to do the same, so that a link to your site shows up on theirs. This is beneficial for everyone involved!

  1. Ask for Customer Reviews

Another way to generate fresh content for your site with minimal effort is to ask each customer to provide feedback. Have them fill out a survey or send an email. Always leave space for them to write something open-ended. Take these positive quotes and put them on a testimonials page. This puts the power of review sites like Yelp! right on your own site.

  1. Increase Social Media Activity

Last but certainly not least, social media are amazing resources to organically increase your site traffic. Share a link to every blog post you write on every social media page you have (most blog portals will have a setting to do this automatically). This again will create more inbound links to your site and the click-through rate will be higher because these people are already fans of your business. Be active and look for ways to get more likes and followers on your pages. In other words, use social media as much as you can and you will definitely see better site traffic and search engine results.

We hope you find this article helpful. At NextGear Marketing, we’re all about using dynamic web content and blogging to boost site traffic for our customers. To learn more about our services or to schedule a no-obligation marketing consultation, contact us today.

Is Web Design Dead?

In the world of web design, things have definitely changed in the past few years. This is primarily because smartphones and tablets have evolved so much. Most consumers (and especially the younger ones) are getting all their information, news, entertainment and social networking on these smaller devices.

Websites used to have more elaborate designs based on strong branding and imagery. Today, those elements take a backseat to mobile responsiveness. A site must work on all different platforms (desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone) equally or it will not be as effective. The smaller the device is, the more simplified the design needs to be so that all the necessary information is easy to find on your site.

That’s why you see so many designs based on themes. Really, “theme” is a fancy word for “template.” However, in the marketing world, template is a bad word because it cheapens the perception. Today’s web themes are very well-designed and there are many to choose from no matter who your hosting provider is. They are automatically integrated to be mobile responsive. In fact, if you are building your own website using a do-it-yourself hosting service like GoDaddy, Wix, Weebly or WordPress, there are preview tabs that will show you how each page of your site looks on different devices.

So, is web design dead? Not necessarily. It’s still important to highlight your brand and have a cohesive marketing look that flows with the rest of your campaign. At the same time, function now outweighs form. If your site doesn’t present well on all devices and navigation is overly complicated, it will not be as effective. The best branding in the world will fall flat on a poorly presented site.

In addition to mobile responsiveness, today’s sites need content—from SEO tags on the back end to dynamic ongoing content in the form of blogs, calendars, news, social media posts and customer reviews. In other words, adding fresh content to your site on a regular basis will make a huge difference in people being able to find your site through organic searches.

Web design is not dead. It has just evolved along with technology. Branding is still important, but mobile responsiveness and dynamic content are now more important.

To learn more about dynamic web content for your website, contact NextGear Marketing for a free consultation today.