Thinking about how to start a blog may seem daunting, which probably makes you want to do it even less. However, the reality is that starting a blog for your business will be a powerful SEO strategy for driving organic search traffic to your site.
Having a blog gives you the opportunity to create informative and relevant content for your customers and clients – and by doing so – it establishes you and your business as industry experts. Not to mention, it’s a great way to drive to traffic back to your website by sharing your blog content on social media.
So how do you start a blog? It’s easier than you might think – and probably more fun than you think too! Here are the necessary steps on how to start a blog and why your business needs it.
How to Start a Blog
1.Pick a Blogging Platform
First things first, you need a platform, and we recommend WordPress. WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS), and while it’s widely considered to be the most popular blog platform – you can also build your company’s entire web presence on it. We recommend this as it allows for your site and your blog to work seamlessly with one another – and it makes all aspects of managing their online presence, much, much easier.
Another perk to using WordPress, there are literally thousands of plugins that are available for you to use – making it fully customize for you and your business! (If it sounds like we geek out over WordPress – it’s because we 100% do!)
If you’re not sold on WordPress, there are other blogging options available. There’s Blogger, Tumbler, Squarespace, Joomla, Drupal, and even custom-built solutions… but we’ll be honest with you. WordPress is the way to go.
2. Choose Your Domain Name and Hosting
Once you’ve decided on your platform – now it’s time to get your domain name and your hosting account. Your domain name can be registered through GoDaddy for roughly $15. We recommend doing a search for “GoDaddy Coupons” on Google prior to purchasing your domain – as we’ve been able to get domains registered for as low as $3 for our clients before, but keep in mind these discounts only work when you first register a domain – after that you’re looking at a yearly renewal rate of $15.
Deciding on your domain name may be one of the most aggravating parts of this whole process for you. Why? Because it’s 2019, and pretty much any .com you can think of has been taken. Your company name may not be available – but there are always alternatives, and GoDaddy will provide you many options that are available if your desired name isn’t. However, if none of those options fit for you, reach out to us, we love a challenge, and we’d love to brainstorm with you even more!
So what about hosting? WordPress may be free, but you need to pay to have your blog hosted. And while we love registering domains with GoDaddy – we do not recommend hosting with them. Our experience has been that their servers are rather slow – and getting through to their customer support and then talking to someone that has no previous experience or history with the account we’re calling on – well that can just be super frustrating. Our recommendation? We may be biased, but we recommend you host with us. Our hosting packages provide backups, software and plugin upgrades, and a contact person – meaning a person that knows the full history of your account – and can be reached via phone, text or email – without any of those 20 minute hold times. Not to mention, our servers are high-speed. Don’t believe us? Google Page Speed Insights ranks us at 100%.
We know. We’re overachievers. But we geek out over development and design – and if there’s a way to optimize an experience further – we’re going to do.
3. Select Your Theme and Design
Once you’ve decided on your platform – now it’s time to customize it to you and/or your business. Our biggest piece of advice here is that you make sure your blog’s theme is fully responsive (meaning that it responses to different viewing devices (desktop, tablet, mobile) and resizes itself accordingly) – this is huge for SEO. Also, make sure it’s easy to navigate. Unless you’re making some weird interactive art exhibit where your goal is to confuse your users – you want to be sure that your site visitors can find exactly what they’re looking for in 3 clicks or less.
Unsure if your site is user-friendly? Ask a family member or friend to pull up the site – and give them a question you want them to find the answer to. Watch how they interact with the site – this process will be incredibly helpful in making sure your site has a good user experience.
4.Plan and Establish a Content Strategy
You’ve got everything set up now, and you’re ready to go. So… now what? It’s time for you to define your content strategy.
Our biggest piece of advice here is to create a realistic editorial calendar for yourself. Don’t be aggressive with this, instead, commit to a cadence that is realistic and not stressful for you. Maybe that’s posting once a week, or once every two weeks. You can always ramp this up as you get comfortable, but start small – and build from there. Quality is vastly more important than quantity.
Here are a few tips for before you start writing.
- Plan out your blog post. Create an outline for yourself before you start writing, so you’re sure you cover everything that needs to be covered.
- Make sure you have a clear tone. Your blog should have a personality, and that personality has a tone – one that should be clear to your readers, so they understand what you’re writing about – and then maybe there’s a little something extra to make them smile. Your blog’s tone is a great way to establish a more personable connection with your customers/clients. Our tone for example? We’re conversational, and we’re geeks. We’re passionate about what we create – and we want that passion for coming through in everything we do – including this blog.
- Make sure your content is useful. Your content should either answer a question or provide a solution to a problem, or it should be fun. Sometimes you may have content that is just fun and cool – and that’s fine as well. That type of content is useful for putting a smile on the faces of your visitors!
- Use keywords. We’re all about optimizing – and as we said earlier – your blog will be a powerful part of your SEO strategy – make sure you pick keywords and key phrases that represent your content. Ask yourself, if you were searching for this information on Google, what would you search for? This is your keyword/keyphrase.
- Update. Again create a realistic content cadence for yourself – and then stay 1 to 2 posts ahead of what you’re publishing. This is the best piece of advice we can offer for avoiding stress. If you create realistic content goals for yourself – and you stay ahead of schedule – you’ll find that blogging is rather fun. (At least we think it is!)
Now that you know how to start a blog, let’s talk about why starting a blog is great for your business.
Why Your Business Needs It
Blogs create a closer relationship between your company and customers/clients, and they also give your company another way to communicate – one that establishes you and your business as an industry expert. It’s a great way to distinguish yourself from the competition, generate leads, improve your SEO, engage with and educate your clients/customers, and get social exposure.
Also, we think it’s worth noting that businesses that blog get 55% more web traffic than those that don’t.
So if the question is whether or not to start a blog for your business, just say yes! If you’re still not sure how to start a blog, and you need help with getting everything set up – or you want an agency to do it for you – Reach out to us for a free consultation!