If you have a website that offers a product or service, it’s likely at some point since your website launch a developer or marketing consultant encouraged you to write blog posts.
We have met many clients that either have a blog on their website they neglect, don’t write on often or don’t even realise they have! And why should you write a blog? Perhaps you sell exercise equipment – who needs to blog about that?
The answer – if you have a website, of any kind, is you. You need to blog.
Throughout this article we will make it clear:
1. What a blog is
2. How to write a blog
3. Best practice for blog structure
4. How to understand the stats behind a blog
5. How to write blog content that converts
Why your business needs a blog
A blog is not for you. It’s not for you to update your current customers on what you had for lunch and how much you’re secretly enjoying the latest season of Selling Sunset – we know you are, it’s only natural.
What is a blog?
A blog post is an article on your website dedicated to one topic. Sometimes it answers a question you’re often asked, perhaps it’s talking about a product launch in your latest collection – there are endless topics available that are unique to you and your customers.
A blog has three purposes:
- They help you rank in search engines for relevant keywords and phrases
- They offer new and interesting content for your existing customers to engage with
- They help reinforce your authority on a particular topic
Companies that blog see an average of 67% more leads than those that don’t (source)
If you’re not utilising a blog and writing blog posts regularly then you are missing out on organic traffic, new customers and conversions.
Different types of blog posts
There are so many variations and combinations of varieties of different types of blog posts you can write. Below are some of the most popular blog post structures. We won’t go into the specifics of each, as you’d be reading this article all day, but it’s great to have a handy list available when it comes to blog post topic inspiration and planning your blog structure.
- Lists – For example, “Top 10 examples of ways to save energy at home”
- Tutorials – For example, “How to fix your iPhone when it’s stuck on preparing update”
- Articles and news – like what you’re reading right now!
- Infographics – Large amounts of data in graphic images. These are also great for sharing
- Product reviews
- Vlogs (video blogs)
- Guest posts – where you invite a new author to supply some new and engaging content
You could even write a blog post for each and see which blog post structure your visitors find most engaging and generates the most conversions.
What to write about in a blog post?
Great, you’ve agreed to start a blog, we’ve passed one hurdle, what’s next? It’s time to write a blog post, but how – where do you start?
First you need a topic – something to write about and the best way to generate a topic for a blog post is to consider what potential customers would be searching in Google.
And the best place to start is with customer pain points.
Pain points from customers
Pain points are questions that will arise from customers or potential customers at any point along the customer journey. They may be questions customers ask before they even find your brand.
Let’s give an example:
Customer ‘Jane’ wants to know if buying a refurbished iPad will mean the quality of the product isn’t as high as a brand new one. ‘Jane’ Googles “Is a refurbished iPad worse than a new one?”
What ‘Jane’ finds in the search results are websites that have answered that question for her. Those websites get her ‘click’. If one of those websites is an e-commerce website selling refurbished iPads then they have themselves a potential new customer that’s now aware they sell refurbished iPads.
This is how pain points and SEO work in conjunction with a blog post to increase your site’s visibility and convert users to customers.
How to write a blog post that addresses what your pain points are
The best way to work out what your pain points are is to listen to your customers and engage with your customer service team, if you have one.
Simply ask your customer service team or your social media team what your customers are asking about. With tech-savvy users now across all generations it’s very common for potential customers to ask a brand a question via their social media.
Where possible customers like their knowledge immediately available:
Customers prefer knowledge bases over all other self-service channels. (Forrester)
These commonly asked questions are the perfect opportunity to start a blog post that answers each question.
Another option for collecting pain points is to use the analytics for your website. See how users found you through Google or see what they’re searching on your website’s search function.
If you don’t have a customer service team or perhaps, you’re a brand-new website and you’re not sure what your pain points are yet, Answer the Public offers a great topic generator. It will show you what users are asking about in relation to a product or service. And it’s a great alternative for pain point information.
A screenshot from answerthepublic about writing a blog post.
Another fantastic tool that can help you generate blog topic titles is Blogabout.
Many copywriters will spend the bulk of their time working on keywords and headlines. If a headline doesn’t grab a reader, they simply won’t read it.
Here are the top tips for writing compelling headlines in blog posts:
- Utilise your researched keywords
- Keep the headlines short and to the point
- Ask a question
- Numbers can be a great addition
- Reflect the content you’re going to write about
So, you have your first pain point, and you want to start a blog post to address it. Your first step should be to research target keywords.
There are lots of online tools offering keyword recommendations and a good place to start is Google’s Keyword Tool, as it’s free. If we use the example of ‘refurbished iPads’ that the above example retailer was selling, you can enter that keyword into the tool, and it will provide a list of synonyms it believes are relevant.
Researching keywords and choosing your priority keywords to start a blog post could be an article of its own, which we will write soon, but for now we’ll assume in this example the author has chosen 2 primary keywords and 3 secondary keywords. They’re selected from a range of high competition with large search volume to lower searches with low competition. This gives the post a chance to rank for variations of the keywords and means it’s not trying to compete for the highest volume keywords that already have high levels of competition.
In this example we’ll say the copywriter chose:
– Primary keywords: refurbished ipad, restored ipads
– Secondary keywords: rebuilt ipads for sale, recycled ipads, apple restored ipads
Now the copywriter has their target keywords they can begin to plan the blog structure and start a blog post.
How to write a blog structure
Your blog post should not be ‘word vomit’. You do not want to bombard your users with a wall of text that is clunky, tough to read and tempting to bounce off. The aim is to keep readers on site because when users take time on a page Google uses these stats to confirm it’s relevant and engaging information – the user did not bounce – therefore it will rank well in SERPs.
Here’s how to format a blog structure so that it’s readable for users:
- Clear sections with applicable headings and subheadings
- Numbered and bullet lists
- Clear Calls to Action
- Images and relevant media
- Keep it light and conversational
- Reduce walls of text
How long should a blog post be
There is some contention over the ideal length for a blog post and as always, it depends on your customers and what generates conversions on your website.
Hubspot advises that the ideal length, based on their research, is 2,100-2,400 words, however, shorter blog posts in their study still gained traction, so there is no definitive word count to hit with blog posts.
You should bear in mind that the main priority of a blog post is search engine optimization and the more compelling content you have, the more likely Google will be to rank your page for relevant terms. It’s unlikely you can fit all SEO best practices into a post with less than 200 words and more likely you can with 2,400.
If you can include all the SEO best practices below in the amount of content you have written, you are along the right lines and putting yourself in good stead for ranking.
Here are the top SEO best practices when writing a blog post:
- Research and optimise for your 1-2 priority keywords and 3-4 secondary keywords
- Include the above keywords in compelling headers and throughout the content
- Add alt text on images
- Include images/infographics/relevant media to make your content engaging
- Include internal and external links
- Create a relevant and optimised page title and meta description
Understanding the stats on your blog
Once you’ve started a blog, have a few posts under your belt and they’ve had some time to acclimate and be indexed by Google, you should have some stats in your analytics that you can work with.
If you have your blog on your existing domain you should be able to track the performance within your existing Google Analytics account.
We have written before about why bounce rate is important but here’s how it effects a blog. If your blog posts have a significantly higher bounce rate than the rest of your website, it could mean a number of things:
- Your page has ranked highly in Google and you’re getting a lot of traffic, not all of which might be relevant to the business.
- The blog post contains content that isn’t relevant to your brand, so users are reading the post and leaving
- It’s not clear from the blog post landing page what the user should do after reading. Do you want them to subscribe? Do you want them to submit their details or buy something? You must usher the user along the path you want them to take.
Above is a screenshot from a website that has created engaging content that has ranked well in Google. In the bounce rate column, you can see some pages that have 90%+ bounce, despite users spending a significant time on the site. This could mean that users are reading the content, they find it engaging, but aren’t sure what they’re supposed to do afterwards and bounce off the site.
If you compare this to one of the posts that has almost 70% bounce and over 6 minutes on the page, the stats can enable this business to create more content like this, that generates better engagement stats.
You can also use goals and ecommerce information to see which blog posts generate sales and leads.
From the example below you can see that one blog post has generated a large number of leads for this website. Again, they can use this information to build similar content and create even more leads.
It can feel really rewarding to check your website stats and see sales, traffic and conversions coming through from the content you created.
Use your analytics to assess which content creates conversions and generate more content like it.
More engaging content = more conversions
Check the backlinks for your blog post – see who found the content compelling
Another quantifiable way you can measure the success of your content is by keeping an eye on your backlinks. When you create engaging and compelling content, as a by-product, you’re likely to receive external backlinks directed at your post.
External backlinks from credible sources with strong domain authority boost your domain authority and help your domain’s SEO. Backlinks like these can be expensive and/or time consuming to gain, so if a blog post can result in a growth in your backlinks without the work, then you wrote an incredible and engaging piece and you deserve to pat yourself on the back.
A blog post is essential to any business that wants to see growth online. If you haven’t started a blog your competitors have or will. Make sure you’re writing blog posts with better structure and more engaging content than they are to ensure you don’t lose leads to them.
If don’t feel secure in how to write a blog we have a content writing team who can help you with your content strategy, optimise existing blog posts and/or manage content writing on your behalf.