15 Things Serious Bloggers Do (Plus Mistakes to Avoid)
So you’re ready to get serious about blogging for small business? I don’t blame you not one bit because blogging is serious business.
You’ve probably heard about all the benefits of blogging for business, but you you're still on the fence.
I can tell you first hand from experience that blogging is in fact a very effective marketing and tool for small businesses – if you are consistent with it and blog with a purpose.
How Blogging for Small Business Works
Gina is a solopreneur that has recently launched a new website to market her new bakery shop online to local Seattle customers.
She is bootstrapping her business and does not have a large marketing budget, but wants to get the message out about her new company.
Gina decides to write a blog post that covers “10 Tips for Creating Cake Frosting in Under 10 minutes”.
A user performs a search on google for cake frosting tips, finds Gina’s blog post, checks out her website, then decides to contact her after reading more about her services.
That my friends is an example of how blogging can work for your business.
Using this same example, let’s take things a step further.
Gina decides to start a Twitter account. She then searches for specific hashtags and keywords related to her niche.
Next, Gina starts to find and follow people on Twitter that she wants to target that are local to the Seattle area and are interested in baking and etc.,
Gina works diligently to build up a targeted following on Twitter for the next several weeks.
She then decides to Tweet out the blog post that she has written to her followers on Twitter. A fan see's the post, likes it, shares it, then visits her website + contacts her about her services.
This is yet another example of the power of blogging (more specifically) combined with content marketing can work for your business.
What is Blogging?
Blogging is the act of writing content, then publishing that content to your blog regularly.
A better definition of blogging is:
"The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Postings on a blog are almost always arranged in chronological order with the most recent additions featured most prominently - Source"
The key to running a successful business blog is to blog with a specific purpose + target market in mind, write great content on a consistent basis and plan out all of your blogging activities.
How to Get Serious About Blogging for your Small Business
1. Decide what audience you want to serve + create content for that audience
Believe me, this is without a doubt one of the first things that you need to do before you start blogging.
Before you start adding content to your blog, you will first need to understand the needs of your audience – as in “what challenges they are having” so that you can structure your content around those issues.
2. Create an editorial calendar
If you want to publish content to your blog consistently, creating an editorial calendar will make it easier for you.
If you're struggling with creating an editorial calendar for your biz, consider checking out the Blog Like a CHAMP workshop via the Blazing Branding Academy.
3. Plan out your content in advance
Serious bloggers make it a point to plan out their blogging activities well in advance. I can tell you from experience + years of blogging that trying to create content on the fly is veryyyy difficult.
You don’t have time to organize your content, brainstorm blog topics, make the necessary corrections to your content, schedule out your blog posts, and most importantly create a content marketing strategy.
Getting your blogging activities organized will save you a lot of time because you will already have a set plan in place that you can follow and ...more time to create killer content for your readers.
One tip that I would recommend is to center your blog content around a specific "Theme" every month that you can write content based on.
4. Set a blogging schedule
A blogging schedule is simply setting a firm day of the week (or a few days) of the week that you will write + publish content to your blog.
Setting a blogging schedule is easily one of THE secrets to successful blogging.
As an example, my current blogging schedule for this site is that I write my posts on Sundays then schedule them for release on Mondays -- every week.
Setting a blogging schedule will also help you to stay consistent in your blogging efforts, because "Consistency" is KEY for winning the blogging race.
5. Invest in a professional theme for your blog
I’ve touched on this in a previous post featuring 10 steps to a powerful small business web presence.
In that post I stressed the importance of investing in a professional theme for your website + blog, because...as you are judged in person, you are judged online.
6. Invest in a self-hosted blog for your business
I know, I know… money is tight and you’re bootstrapping your small business. Because of this, free platforms seem like the logical choice.
I’m here to tell you that this is probably not the best move that you can make for your business here’s why:
Your blog content is not really yours, the domain name will be difficult to remember and the platform -- does not really belong to you. At any time, the owner of the free blogging platform can decide to disable your blog leaving your content inaccessible and you out of luck.
To avoid this, its best to invest in your own domain and a good webhost (like Siteground) to run your blog.
7. Start an email newsletter
One of the first things that you should do when you decide to start blogging for business is to start an email newsletter -- like right away!
Starting an email newsletter will give you the chance to start building a list of email subbies + prospects that you can communicate with on a regular basis, build relationships with and follow up with them about products or services that you offer at a later time.
8. Brand Your blog
When I launched this blog earlier this year, I was super serious about branding.
There are a lottt of folks out there online these days so it really is important to get attractive and consistent branding in place to help your business stand out.
A few things that you can do to brand your blog include:
- Choosing a color palette that fits well with your brand personality
- Choosing fonts for your blog, and also
- creating a blog post template to brand your content with
I personally use Canva Pro for a lot of my branding because its simple and super easy to use.
If you do struggle with things like visual design and need a set of templates that you can easily brand your blog with, this Canva Graphics kit may be a good fit for you.
9. Focus on creating strong headlines for your blog content
Blog post headlines determine whether or not your blog posts will get clicked or skipped.
If you want to capture your readers attention, I would suggest getting into the habit of making sure that you are putting a good amount of effort into creating "shareworthy" blog post titles.
Tools like the EMV Headline Analyzer and Hubspots Blog post title generators are really helpful with creating great headlines. I would also suggest reading blogs like Copyblogger and also checking out this post to learn how to write strong headlines for your content.
10. Optimize your posts for SEO
Optimizing your blog posts for the search engines is essential. Doing this will give your content a better chance of ranking in the search engines and helps drive traffic to your blog organically.
Blog post optimization involves: performing keyword research to find the right words to use in your content, using those keywords throughout your blog post, adding the proper title tags to your content, adding keywords to the graphics that you use.
I wrote this nifty SEO guide a while back that shows you step by step how to add SEO to your content like a champ!
Things to Avoid When You're Getting Started with Blogging
Now that we've talked about things that you can do get serious about blogging, heres a quick rundown of things to avoid when you're getting started:
1. Don't skimp on web hosting for your blog
The last thing that you want to do is have a slow and lagging website that deters people from ever coming back to your website.
A slow website will do just that. I know that when youre starting off, your probably going to be on a budget, but believe me guys, consider getting a good web host to put your content out there to the world.
As I've mentioned before, I'm using Siteground to host my blog and they are amazing!
2. Don't forget to change the permalink structure on your blog posts (especially for WordPress)
When you first launch your blog (if youre using WordPress), one of the first things that people forget to do is change their permalink structure.
So instead of your blog post reading something like:
It may look something like this:
Peeps...this is not good for SEO. Instead be sure to change your structure so that your blog post links are simple and easy to read.
Here's a screenshot of suggested permalink structures for WordPress content:
3. Don't overlook the importance of SEO
I know that for a lot of folks (especially newbies) that SEO can be scary. But believe me, if you want to get free traffic and eyeballs to your website from Google and other search engines, then learning SEO is important.
Some of the common mistakes that folks make with SEO are things like forgetting to add "keywords" to blog post images or not adding the main keyword they are targeting enough in blog content.
4. Think that blogging is a "Fly by night" type of deal
Blogging is a long term game peeps. You can't just throw up a few blog posts and think that the flood gates of traffic will open up for you.
Nope...that's not realistic.
You will have to grind things out for a while and create great content for your blog for at least 3 months or so.
The thing that you want to focus on is making sure that the content that you are creating is geared towards solving "specific" problems for the audience that you want to serve.
Things like setting a blogging schedule and using an editorial calendar will make it easier for you.
5. Don't overthink things...
Like Nike says "Just Do It".
Get out there and have fun with it. You never know where blogging for your small business may take you.
Running this blog has landed me opportunities to get featured on large publications like the Huffingtonpost and Canvas design blog.
Wrapping Things Up
Blogging for your small business doesnt have to be difficult. I hope that some of the tips and resources mentioned in this post have been helpful and will get you on the path to blogging like a champ to grow your brand.
Also, if you need more guidance and want an easy to follow plan for blogging for your business, check out Blog Like a CHAMP.
It's a self paced DIY course in the Blazing Branding Academy that teaches you the fundamentals of blogging, educates you about why blogging is important , how to create content that shows up in the search engines and more!