Since I started How You Really Write A Blog, several friends with small businesses have started blogging in order to boost their Google search rankings – at the recommendation of their web designer or IT support. But I am shocked to find out that they have often been told very little else. They have started writing posts on their blog, they have pressed publish – but that’s just a small part of blogging. If you want your blog to achieve your aims, there are several things that your web designer needs to do for you first.
1) Add a ‘subscribe to this blog’ or similar box. Readers can put their email address in and they will receive your next post in their email in box. You are unlikely to get very many email subscribers – people don’t want too much mail in their inbox, but those that do subscribe will be able to read your new posts, as opposed to having to look for them by calling up your website address from scratch each time.
2) Same for RSS feed. It is a little orange box with sideways stripes on it, and stands for Really Simple Syndication. People who use it will get your latest blogposts delivered to their RSS feed, so they can read them when they like. Bloggers say that RSS is growing less popular, but it is still huge, and if you can put a small orange button on your site and get a few extra readers then why not?
3) Make sure that each post has ‘share this’ buttons at the end for Pinterest, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and anything else your customers might be on. You may not be on all the social media, but they will be, and if they like your post enough to share it with their followers, you’ll benefit. Once again, don’t expect a flurry of shares – none of these tactics will bring you thousands of followers overnight. But if you’re going to spend time blogging, then it makes sense to do the easy things that will help both your customers and the search engines find you.
4) Automatic syndication to any social media you do, such as Facebook. It saves time. You press ‘publish’ and it goes out to your Twitter or Facebook feed. Looking at my stats for http://themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk, I can see that Twitter and Facebook are the two top ‘referrers’ or ways in which people find it. One of the advantages of doing a blog is that it gives you something to put out on social media, which other people may share or pass on, so any level of automation saves effort on your part.
These points are all very basic, but many web designers seem to wait for their customers to ask for them. It’s easy for experts to forget that if you haven’t blogged before, you probably don’t know what you need on a blog. But – if I’m being unfair – and you are a web designer who does tell your customers what they need on their blogs, let me know!
My next ‘how to write a great blog’ workshop is in Chiswick on 28th April http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-write-a-great-blog-tickets-8472031073. The schedule for blogging classes in Kent will be up on the site soon. I can also create a blogging workshop tailor-made for you, in your home or office.Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for details.