A web site blog is a great way to differentiate your company from your competitors. Additionally, more content on your site as well as making regular updates to your site are both important components to achieving better search engine results. It’s a lot of work, but I believe it will ultimately reward you with increased business. Here are some pointers I’ve put together to help you create the best blog possible.

  1. Map out your topics: One of the first steps in beginning a blog is to map out a timeline of topics you want to cover. If you are planning a new blog entry every month, for example, I would suggest listing out 12 ideas ahead of time, keeping you focused over the course of a year. Maybe write them out on a white board so others in your organization can add or modify the list over time. Many times, thinking up those ideas is the most difficult part of the process, so the next tip helps you make those decisions.
  2. Answer your customer’s questions: Every business has customers, and every business has customers who ask questions. When deciding on a topic to cover, think about questions that your clients have asked you over the years. For example, an accountant may want to write about little known tax reduction strategies, a new strategy every month. A construction business may want to write about termite protection one month, and hurricane preparation the next and on and on.
  3. Make it entertaining: Once you decide on your topic, research it and then write your article in an entertaining manner. Listing facts does not help, nor is it going to make someone want to read your article. Tell a story, then tell the facts, try to solve a problem. Think about situations your clients have been in and tell the world how you helped to solve their problem.
  4. A call to action: You are not just writing for the sake of writing. End each problem solving article with a call to action.
  5. It must be original: Your articles should, first and foremost, consist of original content. You absolutely cannot cut and paste from other sources. If you do, you need express written approval from the source. This is not like creating content a printed marketing piece that will be handed out to a few of your clients. The Internet is searchable by anyone and content authors can easily search for sentences that they wrote and match them to your blog post. Additionally, Google and Bing search engines will index your article within hours of posting to your web site. They will know instantly if you have copied text from another web site. You don’t want to risk being labeled as SPAM and blacklisted.
  6. Put some detail into it: Tell your story in the least amount of words possible, but in online blog posts, length matters, and longer is better. Between 1,000 to 2,000 words is best.
  7. Use imaginative formatting: Endless paragraphs are not as interesting as bullet points, lists, charts, sub-headings, and callouts. Figure out how to break your concepts up and bring attention to the most important ideas.
  8. Graphics are encouraged: Create custom charts or other graphics to describe your ideas. If you are portraying a series of numbers, try to do it as a line or pie chart for example. If you are going to grab an image from the Internet, you need to get permission to use it. Many images are watermarked which means the owner can track it’s use on other sites.
  9. Use a header image: In addition to graphics, your article should also include an impactful header image (see the top of this post). This is not just done for aesthetic purposes; if you post the article on Facebook, Google+ or other social media outlets, the header image will often follow. Studies prove that social media users are more likely to click on an article with an impactful image, rather than just text.
  10. Use an impactful title: The title should be descriptive but imaginative. This is critical, and is affected by what you end up with in your content. For example, if you are a financial advisor, the title “Life Insurance Facts” is not very impactful. A better title might be “Top 10 Things You Should Know About Life Insurance.”