When it first emerged blogging was primarily a means of personal expression. A blog, or Web-log, was essentially an online journal or log that allowed Internet users to share their experiences or opinions on a wide variety of subjects.
These days blogging still provides a means of expression for many individuals, but it’s also an increasingly important way for businesses to enhance their online presence, to strengthen relationships with existing customers, and to reach out to new ones.
As well as allowing you to communicate with your target audience and build your reputation as an expert in your own field, blogging can also boost your SEO by providing the sort of fresh, keyword-rich content that search engines love.
According to Hubspot, small businesses that blog receive 55 percent more visitors to their main website, 102 percent more Twitter followers, and 126 percent higher lead growth than those that don’t.
With 42 percent of Internet users living in Asia, blogging can be particularly useful for businesses from or operating within that region.
Not all company blogs are as effective or successful as they could be however.
Impenetrable Walls of Text
Our attention spans are seemingly on the decline and bounce rates for blog posts are very high. According to this Slate article with the help of a data scientist from traffic analysis firm Chartbeat, up to 10 percent of people who open an article never scroll down, while 50 percent to 60 percent of visitors stop reading halfway.
Hey, are you still with us?!
It helps of course if you present engaging content that is relevant to your target audience, so a scattergun approach covering everything under the sun is unlikely to be successful. Stay focused and avoid unbroken walls of text that can be very off-putting. Break your blog into easily digestible paragraphs and use subheadings, bullets and lists where appropriate.
Readers tend to scan far more online so even if they don’t read every word of your blog they might still be drawn to certain parts.
The same research for Slate showed that the majority of visitors saw all video and photo content, even if they didn’t read all of the accompanying text. Articles containing relevant images received almost twice as many views as those with no images at all.
According to data from Skyword, some areas benefit more than others from the inclusion of visual content, with the performance of news, political, and sports content being particularly boosted.
Visual content is more likely to be shared on social media and infographics can be a great and engaging way to present relevant information.
Lots of Short Posts or Less Frequent Longer Posts?
Given the issues with decreasing attention spans and article scanning it might seem safe to assume that frequent short blogs and posts are the way to go.
For power bloggers – a term that originated in Korea to refer to influential bloggers who attract hundreds of thousands of visitors – three to five posts a day works well, but this isn’t always the case for corporate blogs.
Research from Data Lab found that the optimal post took seven minutes to read. This equates to around 1,600 words, although the piece warns that we shouldn’t force content to fit a perception of an ideal length and that “bad posts certainly don’t get better when you stretch them out.”
Longer posts also provide you with the opportunity to use a wider variety of keywords and to unlock the benefits of semantic search – showing up in search results that look for a similar meaning rather than an exact match of keywords. There’s evidence that longer posts tend to perform better in searches and are also shared more, but don’t get too hung up on word counts.
It’s more important to be engaging, to keep your posts relevant, and provide references or evidence for the statements you make.
The question of how best to advertise online has been a thorny question since the earliest days of the Internet. It can be tempting to throw an ad for your newest product or service into your blog but a recent study by Adobe found that 68 percent of consumers find online advertising annoying.
There’s a time and a place for online advertising and it might not be your blog. It’s generally OK to mention what you have to offer when it directly relates to the subject matter of the blog but try to keep it simple and non-intrusive.
Search engines have moved to a holistic understanding of websites, which means that your blog’s rankings will not only be influenced by the content, links, meta tags, and other traditional SEO elements.
These days search engines will also take into account a range of factors, including how your pages are laid out, how fast the site loads, and whether your code is implemented correctly. Your content is still the most important aspect of your blog but taking care of your website architecture can also make sure that your readers have as flawless a visit as possible.
Image via Shutterstock.
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