We have come to the final installment in our five part series on web design tips for small businesses, and today we are going to talk about having a weekly WordPress blog. Life happened, and I am a few weeks late getting this last tip written up and published. The ironic thing is that my final tip actually deals directly with regular blogging so let’s jump into it.
Tip #5: Your website needs a weekly WordPress blog
If you have a limited website budget and ask me what functionality is most important a blog is going to be in my top three. Many of you may be surprised by this, but there are two very important reasons. These reasons are search engine optimization (SEO) and Social Media. I’m going to go through each of these one at a time for you in more detail.
SEO – WordPress Blog Posts
Unfortunately many business owners have bought into a web design misnomer characterized by a famous line from the 1989 movie Field of Dreams: “If you build it they will come.” This is just not true of websites. Building an effective website is certainly the first step, and a critically important one at that. But after that you have to market your website, the same as you advertising the business itself. Search engine optimization is an important component of that. The problem is that quality SEO which gets results typically starts at $5,000 per month and goes up from there putting it out of the reach of most small businesses. This is where blogging comes in as a way to get some basic SEO at an affordable price.
Blog Weekly to get SEO results
Did you know that Google ranks your site based largely on content freshness? This means that one of the factors that goes into Google deciding where to put your website in the page rankings is how recently your website has been updated. They don’t want to link to websites that are possibly old and abandoned. They believe that websites which are actively adding new content are more relevant and important. Most SEO experts recommend a new blog post at least once per week. You should display these new blog posts on your homepage so Google can clearly see the fresh content when they crawl your website. You can see how our home page web design accommodates our weekly WordPress blog articles for an example.
Keyword Optimized WordPress Blog Articles
If you want Google to like your website you need some keyword optimized content. How this is done has changed over the years, but it is still important. In the old days people used to “stuff” their content pages full of the keywords they wanted their website to be identified with. This made their content very difficult to read. Unethical marketers also used this tactic to cheat the system, optimizing a site and getting rankings for phrases that had nothing to do with the actual website. Google’s algorithm has gotten exponentially more sophisticated since then, so keyword stuffing no longer works and doing that kind of thing will actually get you penalized. The algorithm does want to see and will reward with good rankings is keyword optimized pages. WordPress blog articles are a great way to do this. Each time you write an article you have the opportunity to optimize it for one keyword phrase. Your keyword phrase should be found several times throughout the text of the article as well as in headings and page title tags whenever possible. By writing weekly you have the opportunity to optimize your site for many keywords and “long tail” keyword phrases. You can also craft pages which very specifically hone in on certain phrases.
Blogging for Inbound Links
Another very important role of WordPress blogs is acquiring inbound links. Google still ranks sites in a large degree based on how many other sites link to them. To Google links show that what your website has to say is important. They see each link as a personal recommendation of your website. So how do you get these links? You need to write great blog articles that other websites want to share. When you write great content other bloggers will start to follow you and refer to your articles on their blog. Getting to the point of acquiring these links takes time and patience, but it is worth it. You can see an example in this great article by ManageWP where they referenced a blog article we wrote.
Blog Posts + Social Media = Results
The second reason a blog is such an important piece of your website is social media. Blogging and social media go hand in hand. Many small business owners are realizing the benefits of incorporating social media as a component of their advertising. Nearly every consumer is using some form of social media theses days. According to Pew Research Center, 65% of American adults use social networking sites, a near tenfold increase since they first started tracking social media usage in 2005.
Before making a purchase these customers are evaluating the business they are considering based on their social media posts. What they want to see is that the company they are looking at is professional and an expert in their field. Sharing your blog articles on all of your social media channels is a great way to do this. Blog articles are a way to demonstrate that you really know your stuff. They prove your knowledge to your clients.
Every blog article we write is posted across all of our social media channels. There are tools that can automate this or you can do it manually, but make sure you are sharing every article you write. If you don’t have a Google+ account I highly recommend setting one up and regularly sharing your blog articles on it. Even though they won’t tell you this, our experience has been that they seem to rank articles posted to Google+ more highly in the search engines.
I Don’t Have Time to Blog
The main reason many small and even medium business don’t maintain a blog is that they are time consuming. Since this article is two weeks late I can say, “I get it.” It easily takes me an hour or more to write just one blog article, and even longer than that if I have to do research related to the topic. I tend to get so busy building other people’s websites that I don’t take time to work on mine. Last year I was blogging regularly and we got so busy serving new clients that I stopped for a few months. Our website rankings dropped drastically and the only thing that changed was my blogging habits. While I feel like I don’t have time to blog, I have realized I have to make time to invest in my business.
Schedule your Blog Posts
One way to make sure your blogging gets done is to write a bunch in advance. Sit down one day and brainstorm a list of blog topics. Then start writing. You may write a bunch at once or just a few. If you are using WordPress you can easily schedule them to be posted once a week. Some people have found it effective to schedule one day each month to write all of that month’s blog articles. Writing them in advance does take some of the stress off, especially when you have a busy week and just can’t get to it.
Outsource your Website Blog
If writing just isn’t your thing or you can’t seem to keep up with the blog you might consider hiring a copywriter to do it for you. You can search places like Craigslist for someone local to do it for you. You can also find freelancers on sites like Upwork. There are also many large companies that specialize just in ghost blog writing. Just make sure that whoever you hire understands your company and understands optimizing your content for keywords.
WordPress Blog Setup
If you need a blog added to your website we would love to help. Blogs are a great and inexpensive way to boost your website ranking and increase your client conversion rate. Give us a call at (208) 939-0493 for a free consultation or request a blog quote.