I’m a huge advocate for having a blog on your site, and since you’re here, you already know how important it is to have a blog on your website!
However, creating and maintaining a blog can be overwhelming, especially when your business is small and you are juggling a lot of responsibilities. I get it. But I also firmly believe that the benefits vastly outweigh the effort that it takes to have a blog.
Whether you are starting a blog on your site for the first time, revamping your existing blog, or just looking for reassurance that your blog is on the right track, here are some FAQs about basic tips that I have accumulated over the past few years.
Q: How often should I blog?
A: At least once a month.
Obviously, it’s hard to give a blanket answer for this—there are a lot of variables, and every business is different. But this is generally the minimum that I tell my clients. Twice a month, or even weekly, is great, but as long as you are posting consistently, a little less often is okay.
Q: What if I’m worried about posting consistently?
A: Stock up on content and work ahead.
Writing multiple posts at once and in advance can be an efficient way to budget your time for blogging. For instance, if your plan is to blog once a month, you can set aside one or two days every three months to write three blog posts. In between, keep an idea list so you’re ready to develop those ideas on your days dedicated to blogging. And if you’re just starting a blog and you’re worried about consistency, have several months of posts ready to go and scheduled before you launch your blog.
Q: What else should I do before I start my blog?
A: Have two or three posts on your site before you announce your blog.
One of the many benefits of having a blog is that it gives your audience a reason to spend more time on your site. If they read a post and find it valuable, they will look for more valuable content on your site. Having a few posts on your site before you start promoting your blog will give your audience extra opportunities to click through your site and spend more time on it.
Note: What makes a post valuable? The value of your posts is judged by your audience—the most valuable content gains and keeps their attention, helps them understand your business, and increases their trust in you. In this everything-is-at-my-fingertips digital world, the most effective blog posts will usually solve problems that your audience has. Other ways that posts can be valuable to your audience are by providing information, appealing emotionally, or being visually pleasing. This topic is covered in depth in my marketing workshops.
Q: How long should a post be?
A: At least 300 words.
Once again, this can vary, but that’s the minimum that I recommend in most cases. Which isn’t too hard to do! What’s the ideal amount? 1,000—2,000 words. Is there such thing as a post that’s too long? Well, no – long-form blog posts certainly have value – but blog posts that are over 3,000 words or so have a slightly different set of “best practices” guidelines. (Email me if you want to know more.)
Q: How do I organize the content my post?
A: By using headings.
Headings improve your posts in two ways. First, headings make blog posts more cohesive and understandable for your readers. Second, headings improve SEO for your post—Google uses headings to determine what your post is about and match it with the corresponding search terms.
Q: How do I organize all of my posts?
A: By using categories.
Select a handful of categories that will encompass the topics in your blog posts so that, while browsing your site, your audience can easily find posts that are relevant to them. For instance, on the Nighthawk blog, I use six categories: Business, Digital, Social Media, Print, Events, and Birding. Almost all of my posts fall under two or more categories.
Q. What else can I do to improve SEO?
A: Use this free WordPress plugin…
Yoast offers a free basic SEO plugin for WordPress sites. It clearly tells you what you are doing well in your post (from a SEO standpoint), and what can help improve your post’s search engine rankings. For instance, it may say “Great reference of keywords!” and “Your sentences are a little long—try making them shorter.” It will even highlight the parts of your blog that could use improvements. It’s not all-encompassing, but it’s a fantastic tool for SEO guidance, which is why I use it on all of the websites that I develop.
…And add links to relevant pages on your site and others.
Linking to relevant website pages throughout your blog post not only improves search rankings, but also encourages your audience to spend more time on your site. Woohoo! Occasionally linking to other sites helps with SEO, too—just be strategic about choosing sites that add valuable secondary information for your readers, such as the Yoast SEO plugin I linked to above.
Promoting Your Blog
Q: How can I share my blog posts?
A: Share them in a variety of your content channels.
Social media is likely the first marketing channel that comes to mind for sharing blog posts, and for good reason. But I challenge you to market your blog posts in more ways than that—use them in emails, handouts, advertisements, and more! Take inventory of your marketing channels with this handy checklist, and brainstorm ideas of how to promote your blog posts in new ways. (Or have a consultation with Nighthawk for help!)
Q: Is posting on social media enough?
A: No! See above.
But I have another tip for social media—it was my February quick tip, actually. Check it out here.
Getting a blog started is the hardest step, but your business will reap the rewards. Once you get comfortable with the process, it can become second-nature, and even rewarding for you.
Ready to get started? Great—go get ‘em! Not so ready? That’s okay, too. But either way, next month’s quick tip will help: it’s a clever way to find topics for blog content. Check it out in your inbox on March 10!
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