Having a blog is an increasingly popular way for businesses to connect with their audience and find new markets.
Blogging can help with search engine optimisation, it establishes your reputation in your sector, and, if you get the content right, it gives visitors a reason to visit your site.
Setting one up is relatively easy (see how to set your blog up in just five steps here or register for a ‘Blogging for Business‘ workshop) but you will need to do more than just publish a post or two to see measurable results for your business.
So if you’ve started a blog and aren’t seeing the number of visitors or new customers that you’d hoped for, here are a few things you could do to increase the number of visitors:
Every time you read a blog post on Perfect Balance Marketing you’ll be asked for your ideas or feedback at the end. I don’t just talk at you – I ask you to add your input to the post.
On many websites, the comments section of a blog can be the most interesting part, as readers share their own stories and post links to articles elsewhere on the web that add to the discussion.
But readers can feel uncertain about adding comments – will they get read, will they look stupid, will they be self-promotional, will they add anything to the article…..??
So invite them to join in – ask them a question in the closing paragraph.
And then answer anyone who takes the time to comment – you wouldn’t leave the room after asking someone where they’d been on holiday this year – you’d stay to hear the answer (otherwise it’s just rude).
The first blog I started (some time ago) took three months to reach 1,000 visits. I was starting to lose hope – where were the readers? What was I doing wrong?
My basic error was seeing my blog in isolation to the rest of my marketing. I started including mentions of my blog in all customer communications, and soon I started seeing the traffic I’d been hoping for.
Here are some ways to get the message out to your potential readers:
- Do you send out a newsletter? Include links to your latest post/s.
- Do you print receipts and invoices? Add your blog address to the bottom.
- Do you have a website? Add a link to your blog in the main navigation menu.
- Do you send packages? Add your blog address to the outside of the box
- Can you update your website’s homepage? Include a link to your latest post.
- Do you keep a database of customers? Bundle your blog posts together and create an ebook to send to them, pointing them back to your original blog.
The time and effort it takes to write a blog means you want results – increase your chances of getting them by sharing the content in as many places as possible.
If your content is good, relevant to your audience, and well written, then they’ll be glad of the opportunity to read it.
(They may even feel a bit narked if you don’t tell them about it.)
Knowing which words your target audience types into the search engines, when looking for what you sell, is one of the cornerstones of search engine optimisation.
For instance, the latest data from Google shows that the number of people Googling the search term ‘toys‘ in the UK is 49,500 every month.
The number of people Googling ‘toyshops‘ in the same period is 246,000 – almost five times as many potential customers for a toy retailer.
If your business sells toys online, this piece of information can help you get found by potential customers looking for what you sell.
Simply add the word ‘toyshops‘ to your page titles, your headings, your picture captions and the link text on your pages, and you’re telling the search engines what your website is all about, so you can get found.
Apply this thinking to your blog and you make your site easier for people to find.
Just like in the offline world, if you’re generous with your recommendations, kind words and praise, karma will reward you.
If you see a blog post that your readers might find interesting, share it with them. Link to it in one of your posts so they get more value for their time on your site.
Owners of websites and blogs often set-up an automated email that tells them that their content has been linked to from elsewhere on the web; if they see your site is relevant to their audience, they may return the favour and link to one of your articles.
So, the basic rules of marketing also apply to blogging – communication is key.
Know what your market is interested in and give them a good reason to read your blog by providing content that they’ll enjoy.
- Update it regularly
- Tell your customers about it
- Ask for their feedback and comments
- Promote it everywhere – online and offline
- Include the right keywords
- Go the extra mile by linking to other useful content elsewhere on the web
And if you’re still not getting the readers you expected, then maybe you need to go back to basics and look at who is your customer. Know this, and it will become a lot easier to give them what they want.