Did you know 70% of buyers say that blogs affect their purchasing decisions? For small business owners on tight marketing budgets, this is great news, because it means just a little extra time tweaking your website can have a big impact on turning looky-loos into leads.
The 7 tips I bring you today are inspired by episode 2 of the “Get More Bang for Your Business Blogging Buck” HubSpot webinar series, where the conversation centered on optimizing blog content to give prospects the information they need to make confident decisions.
Publish More Content
To get more out of your website, you should be blogging at least once a month, but the biggest lead generators are the ones that publish new content once or twice a week.
I completely empathize with business owners who say they don’t have time for blogging, but I also know first hand how effective it is. If you don’t have a blog yet, do yourself a favor and try it for a few months.
You’re actually in an enviable position when you first start blogging, because there’s so much to write about your business (especially if you already have a FAQ page). See the “strategy” section of last week’s post for some ideas.
Map Content to Your Buyer’s Journey
If you have an established business blog, it’s a good practice to conduct a content audit a few times a year. Look for holes, missed opportunities to educate visitors, and how your content aligns with the current state of your industry.
If you have a high concentration of blog posts on a specific topic, consider curating it into a free ebook you can offer in exchange for visitor contact information. Here’s a handy table by HubSpot to help you visualize how content fits into your buyer persona’s decision making process (click to open a larger version):
Focus on Non-Branded Educational Topics
Research suggests consumers are educating themselves through at least 50% of the buying cycle before ever speaking to a sales person, making the educational value of your website vital to their experience.
This is where “non-branded” topics come in: rather than focusing on specific products or services, you’re answering the long-tail questions prospects are typing into search engines.
If you were a parent preparing your child for their first summer sleep-away camp, you might be compiling a list of necessities:
- “What does my child need for summer camp?”
- “How to make my child comfortable at sleep-away camp”
- “Customized labels for summer camp”
- “What are the safest bug sprays for kids?”
As a business owner who sells these items, you want to make sure you’ve got the right keyword phrases sprinkled throughout your blog. This doesn’t mean repeating the same phrases over and over — it won’t work, and Google might ding you for being spammy. Try a few variations of your target search phrases, and always write for the reader instead of search engines.
Be Mobile Compatible
Having a “mobile responsive” website — one that adjusts its layout according to the device viewing it — is crucial, especially for B2C companies. For example, check out the five months of mobile data I pulled on a few of the websites I manage:
A traditional B2B company might have more time to get up to speed, since most of their traffic is coming from desktop browsers during a typical 9-5 workday. But for B2C the situation is much more urgent.
Don’t Overdo Topic Tags
The purpose of category and topic tags (e.g. “blogging” and “hubspot” for this particular post) is to organize your content so users can find information relevant to their needs. I liken it to how cookbooks are organized: appetizers, breakfasts, casseroles, soups, desserts, etc.
Not too long ago it was common practice to assign every category possible to a blog article, because it adds more pages to one’s website and therefore you’d have a better chance being noticed by search engines. This is no longer the case, so as a best practice limit to 20 or fewer categories for your whole site.
Use Compelling Imagery
The images in your blog posts are there to enhance the reader’s experience. You don’t need to have a big stock photography budget or be a graphic artist to use great images — check out Canva (where I created the lead image in this post), Photo Pin, and even Google’s advanced image search for free resources.
If images are hard to fit into your topic, try using video, slideshares or infographics. Whatever you use, make sure they’re placed close to the ideas they relate to in the body of your blog post.
One of my favorite tips from the webinar this week was to add blog titles to the images used in your posts. This is meant to improve click-through rates on social media. I’ll try it out myself for a while, and present the data at a later time!
Provide Conversion Pathways
The point of all this content you’re creating is to get people to stick around and give up their contact information at some point.
Make sure each of your posts includes links to other useful information on your site, at least one call to action (relevant to the blog topic and where it fits in the buyer’s journey), social sharing buttons, and a blog subscriber form.
Did you find these tips helpful? If you have any questions or would like more details on anything mentioned here, send me an email … happy blogging!