Every eCommerce article on the web hammers this point home: WordPress is good, install WordPress. That’s great advice, and very true, seeing as how WordPress is so popular that it’s installed on one-third of the top 10 million websites in the world. We all know WordPress is an unbeatable CMS (Content Management System).
OK… But now that you’re sold on WordPress, what do you do with it? Why that’s easy. You blog! But you’ve never blogged before? Well, let’s make you a blogger.
Skills, or a reasonable Substitute
You do not have to be a poet or a novelist to blog. You’ve likely already had the experience of tweeting on Twitter, posting on Facebook, or sharing snaps of your life on Instagram. These are all examples of micro-blogging. All you really need to blog is basic writing skills, the kind you’d naturally use to write a letter combined with enough mastery to pass your fifth-grade English teacher’s essay assignment. Here are some tools to help with that:
- Libre Office – A free and open-source suite of office tools that runs on any platform. The part that concerns you is Writer, a complete word processor editor which comes with a spell-checker and a thesaurus (a sort of dictionary which finds words that mean the same thing as another word). It also has an optional grammar-checker.
- Hemingway – This is a free online app that checks text input for simple readability. It’s the closest thing we have to an automatic editor, but it can still help you tighten your prose. It’s not perfect, and especially limiting on creativity, so don’t take every red-line as a must-fix issue.
Don’t feel you have to write a novel in every post. Sometimes, 300 words is just fine. You can also just share a video (copy the URL into WordPress, and it will automatically embed), post a picture (click ‘add media’ in the upper left corner of the editor), share a link to something you found interesting, and so on. It’s the words that draw search engine traffic, but there’s no law saying you can’t break it up with a funny cat video once in a while.
Things To Blog
Your business blog is the online narrative of the story of your business. It is there to engage your customers. More to the point, it is there to drag in searches from Google so that users will be compelled to do business with you. It is the bait with which you attract the occasional bite. To extend the fishing metaphor, it takes some patience and good instincts, but stay on the line and it will grow your online business.
You will also find that having a blog is a little bit like having a baby: It’s fun to start, but always ends up being more responsibility than you expected. When you’re stuck for an idea for a post, use these:
- Informative articles – Pick anything pertaining to your industry and advise your potential customers about it. Start with “How to…” or “Five reasons you should…” or “Ways to use your new…” whatever. This is your biggest bait.
- Interesting articles – Maybe the customers aren’t burning to have a question answered, but is in the mood for some idle browsing? Give them an in-depth look at some aspect of your industry. Look up trivia, history, anecdotes, quotes, movie scenes, etc. that involves your product line, service, or field. Fascinate them with a “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” post.
- Linkbait – If you go on social media every day, you get a feel for what sells easy. Tie your product or service to the current silly Internet meme, or take inspiration from a viral hit you’ve seen to create something funny. Sites like BuzzFeed.com are nothing but linkbait factories. Your goal is to get this content to be widely shared on social media.
- Comment on news in your industry – Did a new law pass that impacts your field? Is your business related to the weather somehow and there’s a hurricane blowing in? Is there a ground-breaking new innovation that will change the way you do something? Report the news.
- Promotional content – It’s transparently “salesy,” but go ahead once or twice and toot your fantastic service, low rates, great quality, fast delivery, etc. Did a customer write a glowing recommendation? Thank them publicly and quote them. Tell a story of how one of your employees heroically saved the day for a customer.
Other Things To Do With Your Blog
Once you have some content posted, you can do a lot even outside WordPress.
- Share your content on social media. You should do this every time you post anyway, but if you have an old post from six months back that got good traffic before, introduce it again to new readers.
- Pay attention to keywords. Learn about SEO and make it work for you. Use a search keyword finder to check up on trending keywords related to your field.
- Offer to trade links or guest posts with other non-competing blogs in your field. If you’re a wedding planner and you know a cake decorator, you both benefit from mutual traffic.
- Monitor your traffic. Do you notice a search term coming in for something you don’t quite address? A high bounce rate (visitors arriving and leaving right away)? Traffic spike on weekends? Try to do whatever makes more traffic come in.
- Research. The granddaddy of blogging mentors is ProBlogger, and another venerated industry name is Seth Godin.
We have tried to pack this with as much help as we can to get you started on the path to blogging your business growth. Try it for a while, and you just might find out you were better at this than you thought you were!