Online business basics: How to be a better blogger

(This is the fourth article in my Online business basics series. You can find links to the other posts in the series on this page: Online business basics)

A blog is now crucial for most online businesses. A steady stream of fresh content keeps your human visitors coming back for more and keeps your website high up in the search engine rankings. That’s if you do it right!

Being a great blogger is a skill that has to be learned (and it definitely improves with practice, too!) If you want to attract more people to your blog, have more people return regularly and to make more money from your blog, here are five tips to help you:

Let your personality shine through

People don’t just come for your content; they come because they like you.

The more you can let your personality out, the more the people who really enjoy your personality will stick around. Yes, it also means some people will get turned off – But that’s far better than being boring and forgettable.

Don’t feel like you need to use ‘corporate speak’. Aim to have a friendly and conversational tone, but always try to keep it professional. Your readers will want to feel that they are getting to know the real you, but they won’t want to hear the intimate details of the argument you had with your husband that morning. Except perhaps if it’s a relationship blog!

Where to find great post ideas

Once you get into the swing of blogging, you’ll see material for posts everywhere.  Whenever anything significant happens to you, ask yourself ‘could my readers learn something from this?’ or  ‘How can I make this relate to my blog?’

Read through related websites, forums and through your readers’ comments. What are common problems, experiences, concerns that they have in common? How can you build that into future blog posts?

Outline a post with bullets, then fill it out

Instead of trying to write a great post from top to bottom, try writing out the big bullet point ideas instead.

This allows you to see the whole article from a bird’s eye view before you start writing. It allows you to order your ideas and make sure they all fit together right from the beginning. Then, once you have the main ideas of the blog post, write an introductory paragraph then fill out your bullet points. Finally, end you post with your finishing comments.

Many bloggers try to write in the top-to-bottom way and have a very hard time coming up with ideas that flow. By mapping out your blog post before you even start, you make your content better, easier and faster to write.

Pay equal attention to marketing

Having great content and great marketing are both crucial.

If you don’t have great content, people who come to your site won’t want to stay and won’t come back. However, if you don’t promote your blog effectively, if you aren’t getting the word out about your site, then people aren’t even going to know you exist in the first place.

As a blogger, it’s crucial that you get great at both providing high quality, valuable content AND at getting lots of visitors to your website.

Use your keywords

Many bloggers are so confused by search engine optimization that they don’t use their keywords in their blog posts. But they are missing a big opportunity and it’s easy to do.

If people are searching for your content on Google, why not make it easy for Google to bring them to you? All you need to do is place one of your keywords early in your post’s title, then once in your first paragraph, then again in your post’s last paragraph. Write the rest of your post with your human audience in mind and don’t be tempted to stuff your post with keywords  (this no longer works with search engines and it’s a big turn-off for humans too).

Don’t forget your ‘call to action’

If you’re blogging for business, you’re blogging with a purpose. Think about what you want your readers to do at the end of each post and ask them to do it. A great way to finish a blog post is to invite your reader to sign up to your mailing list. If you don’t have a mailing list or you have one that isn’t working too well, I recommend List Building for Bloggers.

If you follow these steps you’ll find that your blogging and your visitor stats will noticeably improve.

(Here’s MY call to action… 🙂 )

If you’d like to know more about business blogging, you might like to take a look at my e-book Business Blogging for Beginners

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