Is it Time for a Website Audit?

It’s crazy to think that 2020 is already here. Yet another year (and decade) has gone by so quickly!

Website Audit Time!

From a business perspective, there are a lot of New Year tasks that you have to complete. One thing you might want to add to your list is an audit of your website. Most people hear the word “audit” and shudder with fear of the IRS. If you prefer calling it a review or update to make it sound less painful, that’s fine with me.

The point is you (or someone important) should be taking the time to go through your entire website at least once or twice a year. Being that this is the beginning of the year, it’s a good reminder to accomplish this particular task.

Some websites are more in-depth and complex than others, so how long it will take will depend partially on the site itself. It should take as long as it needs to take to do it properly.

Why You Should Periodically Review Your Site

The goal of a website audit is to review everything to make sure it works, while necessary updates, revisions and corrections based on anything that has changed since the last time you went through it.

Go page by page and read all the content. Is it all still valid? Does the verbiage need changing or updating? Does content need to be added? Look it over carefully. Sometimes it’s just a good idea to make some edits while you are in there. It can help your content from becoming too stagnant. Even a few minor wording tweaks here and there can ultimately help with SEO.

At the same time, look at the design elements and functional aspects on every page of the site. Do all the links work? Do the pictures look right (clear images that are proportioned properly)? Are the colors, fonts and branding elements consistent? Make sure everything looks good and works appropriately. Think about the consumer experience when they visit the site. It should be easy to navigate and all the features should function as intended.

Other Tips

Don’t forget to look at the site on all platforms, including desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices. Try different web browsers, as well.If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you are already missing out on a ton of opportunities. Just because it looks good one place doesn’t mean it looks good everywhere.

If you have a blog with a lot of regular activity, you probably don’t need to go back and review every single post. That can be extremely time consuming. At least look at the main blog feed page to confirm that things are displaying properly with feature images, titles and intro blurbs. Also, you may notice some articles that are no longer valid or are way outdated. It may be time to delete them or update as needed.

If things are way out-of-date with your website as a whole, it may be time to consider a complete overhaul of the site or building a new one altogether. No website is designed to last forever, especially as technology keeps changing and altering the way the Internet is consumed. Updating the content regularly is a start, but eventually comes a time when you want to do something new.

If you would like an objective audit of your small business website, NextGear Marketing is here to help. Contact me today for more information about the process.

Why You Should Use Recurring Article Themes in Your Blog

This week, I want to talk about recurring blog article themes and ongoing article series. These can be great to utilize over the lifespan of your blog content campaign.

I’ve been working with more clients lately to establish recurring themes. This is a different concept than what I call “recycling” article topics, which is about doing a different take on a topic you’ve already written about in the past.

It’s More of a Publication Approach

Recurring themes are more like sections in a newspaper or magazine. Think about how your favorite magazine has an opinion article from the same author every month. Or, there is a sidebar section that follows a similar structure and headline, but speaks about a slightly different topic each month. A monthly newsletter is another good example of this concept.

Monthly Themes vs. Recurring Article Series

This same kind of approach can be used in a blog very effectively. Earlier this year, I started working with a new client and we decided to try and establish a different theme each month. Each article posted that month speaks to a specific topic, but all tie back into an overarching theme.

I have another client who I started working recently. We’re only 5-6 articles into the blog campaign, but we’ve already established several recurring article ideas that we can keep coming back to periodically. Some are monthly. Some are quarterly. Some are less structured. Still, it will help fill out an ongoing content calendar because we have these recurring article themes to come back to when appropriate. Rather than trying to cram everything about a large topic into one article, we can break down into bite-size chunks and talk about very specific topics in an ongoing fashion.

Keeping Your Content Calendar Stocked

If you run a new blog article every week for a year, you will quickly find that it gets harder and harder to come up with new topic ideas. Having recurring themes is one method that will help keep you from running out of ideas as time goes on. You always have some themes to revisit and add to. Some of the content may overlap a bit and you may find yourself recycling some old messages, but that’s just fine.

In fact, another good aspect of recurring themes is that it will give you a lot of internal link opportunities. As you continue the theme with each new article, you can refer (and, of course, link) back to the previous articles in the series. Internal and external links are good for SEO and can also help keep visitors on your site longer as they jump between multiple articles. Just always set the linked article to open up in a new window/tab, so they aren’t taken away completely from the original article!

When you are planning out your blog and content calendars, consider recurring article themes and ongoing series. You will find your content calendars easier to fill out and you will also create some very engaging content that gives readers a reason to keep coming back.

For help with your business blog campaign, contact NextGear Marketing today.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of a Blog Campaign

This is something I get challenged with all the time as a professional blogger. Clients want to know that their blog is effective.

How to measure the effectiveness of a blog can be tricky. First, its impact—especially from an SEO perspective—is long-term. It will have a cumulative effect on the overall search engine optimization of your website and individual blog post views should increase over time, as well.

SEO Impact

The biggest appeal of having a weekly blog (or however often you post) is adding fresh, unique content to your site every single week. It keeps your website from becoming stagnant and it should help slowly but surely improve your Google rankings organically.

You can look at the analytics for the site as a whole once the blog has been running for awhile, and you can also review the individual page analytics for each blog post. Unless you strike gold with the most interesting and engaging viral post ever, don’t expect huge numbers for each post’s views.

Viewership Ebbs and Flows

If you share links to each blog post on your social media pages and send out in client emails/newsletters, you can expect a brief spike in views once the post goes up and your followers click through to read the full article. Then, it will likely lull for awhile. A good article will continue to get regular views. Studying the analytics is a good way to know which types of articles get the best response.

Other things you can look at is contact click-throughs and link click-throughs from each individual blog page. Secondary to the overall SEO appeal of blogging, you want to see some engagement. If people are opting in, contacting you, clicking through to other pages on your website or actually buying your products/services directly from a blog page, then you know you have exceptional content.

Think Long-Term

Like any long-term marketing campaign, it’s important not to panic or overthink during the early stages of a blog campaign. You should really run it for at least six months before even looking too hard at the numbers. Even then, you have to remember it’s going to have a more cumulative effect on the SEO for your website, in general. Some posts may not get as many views as others, and that’s okay. If your site is getting ranked higher and/or getting more visitors over time, then the blog is doing its job whether you realize it or not.

It’s the same with other general marketing campaigns like a direct mail campaign, outdoor advertising or print advertising. Unless it’s specifically a direct response campaign, it can be hard to measure the effectiveness of an ad campaign—at least in terms of hard numbers. Usually, you just know that business is doing better and people know your brand name. Again, it’s a cumulative impact that takes time to really make a difference in your market.

Business Blogging with NextGear Marketing

To learn more about blogging for your business and how to get the most out of your blog campaign, contact NextGear Marketing today. Blogging for small businesses is what we do, so let us show you how to do it right!

I’m Living Proof Why You Should Outsource Your Blogging

I’m pretty transparent about the fact that I’m not as active on the NextGear Marketing Blog as I’d like to be. My first priority every week is making sure all of my clients’ needs are taken care of. In addition, I am always working to find new business. Then, if I have time I will put together a blog article like I’m doing right now.

My own situation is comparable to that of many small business owners. You have a lot of things to worry about and blogging often becomes an afterthought. Having someone in-house to manage the blog is nice if it’s a clear part of their job description. However, they may not have the proper writing skills or SEO knowledge that a professional blogger can provide.

In most cases, business blogs are started with the best intentions and then things fizzle out. It becomes less of a priority as you stay busy with other important business activities. That’s why it makes sense to outsource your blog content management to someone who knows what they are doing and can keep your posts consistent. Believe me, if I had the resources to have someone else manage my blog, I would. Until then, my clients always come first and this blog is a secondary priority.

If you have the means (and I should mention a weekly custom blog package from NextGear Marketing is incredibly affordable), then outsourcing your blog management makes perfect sense. You can have an expert doing the research and writing the articles for you. The articles will be optimized for SEO and ready to share on social media for additional engagement. All the heavy lifting is done for you and it won’t cost you much. It really is a win-win situation.

To learn more about professional blogging packages from NextGear Marketing and for examples of the weekly blogs I manage for all my happy clients, contact me today.

5 Tips for Recycling Old Blog Content

Inevitably, there comes a time in your business blog when it feels like you’ve run out of topic ideas. You’ve covered all the key things that relate to your business and that your customers might be interested in, and you don’t really have any new things to write about.

That’s okay. It happens to every blogger.

There is a real art to recycling old blog content and effectively repurposing it into new blog content. Here are some tips you can use:

1. It’s Okay to Recycle

You may do a new blog every week over the course of years. You are going to have to revisit certain topics, especially those that are highly searchable and of interest to your potential customers. It’s perfectly fine to write multiple articles about similar topics as time goes on. In fact, it’s recommended.

2. Understand How it Really Works

No one who visits your blog will sit there and read every single article. They might read the one they came for, and if you are lucky, they might click through a few more or come back later. Even your avid followers don’t have a long memory. So if you write a new article about a topic that you already wrote about six months ago, nobody will notice and nobody will care. They will just be interested in that new article.

3. Put a Fresh Spin On It

Another trick to recycling article topics is to put a different spin on the topic. Turn an informational article into a “tips” article. Inject a different opinion or point of view. Look for ways to approach the new article from a different angle than previous iterations.

4. Use Different Verbiage

This is especially important. Don’t just copy and paste content from the old article and consider it new. That doesn’t do you any good. Take the time to write it fresh and use different verbiage. This will help it count as new and unique content from an SEO standpoint.

5. Space the Articles Out

Last but not least, don’t do a bunch of similar articles back-to-back-to-back (unless it is an actual themed article series). If you are recycling topics, spread out the articles as much as you can so it doesn’t feel like you are writing the same thing over and over again.

These are just a few tips for how you can effectively recycle and reuse old blog article topics and repurpose them into new blog articles. It will be very helpful the longer you run your business blog.

For more tips and information about business blogging and web content strategies, be sure and follow the NextGear Marketing Blog and contact us today with any questions or requests you have.

How Long Should a Blog Article Be?

This is a question I get from a lot of new clients when they sign on with one of NextGear Marketing’s custom blog packages. People are curious what the ideal length for a typical blog article should be.

The simple answer I would say is usually somewhere in the 300-600 word range is where I like to be. However, it’s not always that black and white. It often depends on the complexity of the topic you are writing about and the amount of source material you have to pull from.

Minimum Word Count Target

I usually aim to get at least 300 words out of the blog articles I write for my clients. Sometimes, it’s not so easy to get to that length, but it’s a good minimum to aim for. Other times, I am fully invested in a topic and before long I am looking at over 1,000 words in the word count!

If an article does get too long, I like to go back and trim it down the best I can. I have no qualms about posting an article that’s up to 700-800 words long if all the information in there is vital.

Split it Up if Necessary

If it does get longer than that, then I may suggest splitting the article over two parts. Multi-part articles or a connected series of themed posts over time are never bad ideas. They give you a great opportunity to link back and forth between the posts, which ideally keeps the reader engaged on your site for a longer period of time. One of my newest clients has done several monthly “themes” with the individual topics centered around bigger, broader concepts. Coming up with new themes every month has proven to be a challenge, but I do think the articles have benefitted in terms of continuity, SEO, internal links and reader engagement.

Depending on your products, services and brand messages, you may have less copy and more images/videos in your blog posts. That is fine. I would still recommend targeting at least a minimum word count of 200-300 words from a basic SEO standpoint.

Professional Blog Services

So, how long should the average blog article be? 300-600 words is a good range to aim for, but find your comfort zone and do what you can keep up with. If you can’t keep up with the blog, then hire someone like NextGear Marketing to do it for you.

To learn more about our blogging and other custom web content services, contact NextGear Marketing today.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I can’t believe we’re already almost a third of the way through 2019! I have been focusing on taking care of my clients and trying to grow my business. Sadly, that has left me neglecting one thing that can really help build my business: the NextGear Marketing Blog. That is why I want to make sure and remind any of my followers to sometimes do as I say and not as I do.

A Cautionary Tale

My own story is the perfect example of what a lot of small business owners do when it comes to their own blogs. They are good about it at first, but then it slowly becomes less easy to keep up with. Before long, it’s not a priority at all. I am so focused on taking care of my clients and doing other business activities that I tend to ignore my own advice and neglect my own blog.

Following My Own Advice

I may want to consider outsourcing my own blog content because that is honestly the best way to keep a blog effective and to stick with a desired publishing schedule. My clients turn to me to handle the blogs for them. This means helping find topics, coordinating content calendars, writing the articles, posting the articles on their blog portals and doing all the back-end SEO work that is also required to make each article as searchable as possible. Some clients will also have me post links to each article on their social media pages for more integration.

That’s the advantage of outsourcing the blog to an expert. Let someone like me do all the dirty work and keep your blog content humming along with professional writing, SEO knowledge and organization.

Put NextGear Marketing to Work for You

I may not remember to do my own blog every week, but that’s because I am focused on the needs of my clients. Let me do the same for you. You can rest assured that NextGear Marketing is here to get the job done right, and the prices for monthly blog packages are much more affordable than you might think.

Contact NextGear Marketing today for more information.