If you have a website and run a small business, you have a lot on your plate. If all you can do is put pages on your website and leave it alone, you’re at least ahead of the game in many respects. You’ve already recognized the importance of having a website where people can find basic information about your business. Updating this information shouldn’t necessarily be dramatic, as long as it was written well the first time. You’ve invested time and money, and you probably want to be getting more from your website.
The Web Pages You Need
Your website should consist of a home page that contains some general information that makes the user want to find out more, an about page that focuses on the benefits you offer to your clients, an online store if appropriate, a blog and your contact information should be in the footer. These pages should have at least 100 words each and focus on keywords necessary to finding your website. Many small businesses are often best served by focusing on geo-related keywords, so that local people can find them. It’s okay for your web pages to be static, but your blog is another story.
Getting More from Your Website
Your blog needs to be updated regularly. Once a month is too few for your customers, and once a day is probably too much for you. Once every two weeks is okay, once a week is good and twice a week is better. A blog serves five purposes:
- It keeps your website current in the eyes of search engine algorithms and those new to your site.
- It provides value to your regular clients.
- It establishes you as an expert in your field.
- It gives you something of value to share on your social media.
- It allows you to improve your search engine rankings for keywords related to your site and business.
Finding the Right Keywords
Don’t be fooled. You are going to need high quality content on your blog to rank with the biggest search engines. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also incorporate the keywords that people are searching for on the Internet related to your business. If you write a great blog about “snow peas on the vine” but everyone searches for “vine snow peas,” you’re blog post will be harder to find than someone else’s who made use of the correct keywords.
You can find the right keywords using Google Ads keyword tool, or just by going to the search engine bar and typing in a query. It’ll give you suggestions and some more ideas about keywords. Once you know about which keywords people are searching for, you can start to make your blogging schedule around those keywords.
A Blogging Schedule
The second thing you need to do before you establish a blog is to come up with a schedule or calendar to plan your blog posts around. This plan should include important dates to you and important dates in general. If you happen to know which hashtags trend on which days, like the general #TravelTuesday, which happens almost every Tuesday, or the more specific #TalkLikeaPirateDay, which happens on Sep. 19, you can take advantage of the natural marketing that can come with these, especially if your business is somehow related to them. If you’re in the business of selling stuffed penguins, then knowing the date of #WorldPenguinDay could be a boon to your business. (It’s April 25.)
The Umbrella Content Theory
If you want your website to stand out with search engines and clients alike, you could use the umbrella content theory to build your blog. Basically, you find a large topic to build an “ultimate guide” on, and you find smaller topics based on that ultimate guide to go more into depth. When everything is written, it is all interconnected and linked to the larger subject at hand. The nice thing about building content this way is that you already have eight to 10 post built into the idea. The “ultimate guide” may take longer to compile than the smaller posts, but you can blog those smaller items and connect them to the larger one later.
Ultimate guides make you look like a leader in your field to both consumers and search engines. They provide an amazing value to the people you’re trying to attract, and you can use them as incentives to get people to sign up for your email list. Done correctly, this umbrella content can drive traffic to your website through organic search engine optimization, and it can keep your potential clients on your website to turn into paying clients.
Set It and Retread It
A blog is not something that you can do once or for a month and then forget about it. A blog is a long-term commitment to creating content that people want that will also help your website get seen by search engines. If your blog has been around long enough, you may be able to take some of your older posts and update them. As long as you’re able to change the date to the “updated” rather than the “posted” date, you’ll be fine. People won’t click away because the post looks old, and that will benefit your SEO. It will also save you some time when you need to get something “new” posted but don’t have time to complete a post.
The Write Stuff
If all of this seems like a lot of work for your website and your business, especially in context of what you’re already doing, it is. If writing isn’t your thing or your grammar skills are unintentionally lacking, hiring a writer to get the words down on the page might be one of the best things you can do. When looking for a writer, you should find one that has experience in search engine optimization. You should also find one whose writing style you like.
A good writer will be able to present you with new, exclusive copy for your blog on a topic of your choice. If he or she knows SEO techniques, the writer can even place the keywords in the right positions for you. You’ll save the time that it would have taken you to research the topic, and you can order blog posts ahead of time. That way if something goes wrong, you’ll still be able to stick to your publishing schedule. A writer can also bring a fresh perspective to your blog.
You should expect to pay about six cents a word, which is a professional rate for writers, and be allowed one revision. Generally, writers will require half the payment up front (non-refundable) and half when you’re satisfied with the work. If for some reason, you aren’t satisfied, you should express that to the writer in specific terms.
Writing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you don’t like to write or don’t have time, hiring a writer will help you improve your website and your business. Just be sure to read and edit any new copy sent to you before posting it online. You’ll be getting more from your website in almost no time.