Category Archives: Blog Publishing

This is how you use your blog to improve your SEO

Publish a blog to improve your SEO

Content marketers and SEO experts often advise you to start publishing a business blog. Even on my blog I have often written about the benefits of regularly publishing a business blog.

Although publishing a blog can seem like a daunting task, especially considering the prospect of having to write quality content regularly, you can use your blog to tremendously improve your SEO.

Actually, for many years people have already known that if you regularly blog, it is good for your SEO.

Why is a blog good for your SEO?

It is the very nature of the blog that is preferred by the search engine ranking algorithms.

What do search engines like?

They like to crawl and index lots of fresh content.

On your blog, provided you update it with new content regularly, the search engines (let’s say Google for clarity’s sake) get to crawl new content repeatedly.

Every blog has a theme, preferably. For example, my this blog deals with content writing and content marketing.

Since almost all the blog posts are about content writing and content marketing on my blog (blogging is a very important component of content marketing), Google deems it as an authority place for these topics.

There is a greater density of keywords pertaining to my profession on this blog.

Suits Google’s ranking algorithm.

On majority of blogs the home page is simply a collection of the most recent blog posts, arranged time-stamp-wise descending order with the latest blog post appearing at the top.

So, the home page is constantly updating, the side bar is constantly updating, the new blog posts are constantly being added, new images are constantly being added. It’s a never-ending party for Google crawlers.

Even the structure of blog posts is by details search engine friendly. The title appears within the <h1> tag in most of the cases. There is meta data to give extra information to the search engine crawlers.

Hence, an averagely updated blog is anyway search engine friendly.

Does having a blog automatically improve your SEO?

more lead generation with blogging

Data Source

Something, is always better than nothing

Even if the SEO benefit is not apparent, just by existing, your blog improves your SEO.

The benefit doesn’t bring you much profit because it has to compete with other blogs in your business.

If I don’t see any improvements in my search engine rankings even when I blog regularly, it’s because there is too much competition in my field. There are some established content writing and content marketing blogs that are miles ahead of my blog.

So even if my SEO is improving, I’m constantly being pushed behind by more prominent blogs.

This is true for every niche that has competition.

If you blog regularly and still your SEO doesn’t improve it doesn’t mean it actually isn’t improving, it’s just that your competitors are undoing your effort by being better than you.

So, does it mean there is no use trying to improve your SEO with your blog.

This recent Search Engine Land blog post explains what changes you can make to your blog to get an SEO edge over your competitors.

Using your blog to improve your SEO

As I’ve explained above, the very nature and structure of a blog is such that search engines prefer them over regular websites.

But, since all the blogs are by default SEO friendly (unless you’ve chosen a really terrible theme or template), even your competitors’ blogs must be optimized.

So how do you make your blog more SEO friendly.

These are some of the things you can do to improve your blog SEO, according to the above SEL post…

Name your blog appropriately

What does appropriately mean? The post above says create a compelling name, but I would add that create an appropriate name.

It means try to have your main keyword in the title of your blog.

For example, the title of my blog is “Credible Content Blog”

If you want to add some more spice (you’ve got 70 characters to play with) you can add more words.

The page <title> tag of the home page of my blog is “No-Clutter Content Marketing and Content Writing Advice – Credible Content Blog”.

Of course, you can be more creative, and there is nothing wrong in being more adventurous.

Just keep in mind that when someone comes across the title of your blog somewhere (assuming you are not a well-known brand like Samsung or Accenture) he or she should immediately be able to know what it is about.

The above SEL post suggests you keep the following pointers in mind while coming up with the title of your blog:

  • What is the overarching theme of the blog?
  • What would be a compelling description in my industry?
  • Can I incorporate important SEO keywords in the blog’s title or name?
  • Specifically, whom am I trying to reach?

Target on narrow audience with every post

When you focus on a narrow audience it is easier to optimize your keyword targeting.

Every business has different narrow sections.

In this blog post I’m targeting people and businesses interested in using a blog for SEO.

This is very easy. Before creating a new blog post, always have the intention in your mind.

What do you want to convey?

What particular problem you should solve?

Who would be best served by this upcoming blog post?

This can be done by focusing on just a single topic.

If you want to publish your blog posts in question-answer format, answer every question in a separate, dedicated blog post.

Don’t try to handle multiple questions in a single blog post because this dilutes the focus of your blog post, which is not good for your SEO.

Follow an SEO-friendly URL structure

Well, this is something I need to pay close attention to because I normally tend to use the default URL that is generated by my WordPress setting. My URLs are normally very long, which is not good.

If you are using WordPress to manage your blog, it is a given that we don’t use its default URL structure which is something like yourblog.com/?p=48.

Normally the words contained within the title of your blog post are concatenated into a string and a URL is generated.

If your blog post titles are shorter and to the point, the URLs can be used as they are, but if your blog post titles are very long and contain lots of words, it is always prudent to shorten your URLs.

For example, when I publish this blog post, the default URL generated by WordPress is going to be /this-is-how-you-use-your-blog-to-improve-your-seo/, which is not very SEO-friendly.

On the other hand, if my blog post URL is something like /how-use-blog-improve-seo/ it is shorter, and it uses all the main keywords of the blog post.

If you use WordPress, there is a plug-in that automatically takes care of this issue.

Optimize your blog post content continuously

There are two ways of doing this: take care of all the optimization issues when you are publishing your blog post for the first time, and then, revisit your blog post whenever you get a chance and see if it can be optimized further.

The initial optimization steps can be like

  • Use your main keyword or search term in the first 100 words of your blog post content.
  • Make sure your main keyword is present in the title of your blog post, preferably in the beginning.
  • Use your keywords and their variations every 100-150 words (don’t over use your keywords because this will invite SEO penalty).
  • Use multiple optimized images. Normally there is a tendency to use just one image in the beginning as featured image. But, if your blog post is 1200 words long use at least 4-5 images. I don’t do it myself, but ideally there should be an image after every 300 words.
  • Write longer blog posts. Longer blog posts are considered good for SEO because they are difficult to write. You can have more information on a particular topic. You can use your keywords and search terms more often when you write longer blog posts. Even Google thinks that longer blog posts are better than shorter blog posts. The ideal length these days is 1200-1500 words.

How do you optimize your blog post after you have published it?

Keep checking its rankings every week. If it doesn’t show up in search, you need to optimize it further.

You can use the SEOPressor WordPress plug-in to analyze your blog post. It tells you whether you have under-optimized or over-optimized your blog post – both are bad for your SEO.

In this blog post titled Should you always be writing optimized content to improve SEO? I have talked more about the SEOPressor WordPress plug-in.

Another way of improving SEO of individual blog posts is by turning selected blog posts into “pillar posts”. You may like to read What are topic clusters and pillar pages and how they improve your SEO?

Cover your individual keywords and search phrases by dedicated blog posts

One of the greatest SEO benefits of publishing a blog is that you can write blog posts on keywords and search phrases that you haven’t been able to cover on your main website.

It would seem off-topic if I try to explain how to use your blog to improve your SEO within my main website because on the main website I mostly talking about my services and how I can serve well my clients’ interests.

The feel and the language of the main website is different from your blog. On your blog you can be more conversational and informal and it is easier to talk about related or slightly related issues.

Use optimized images and videos for better SEO

As you publish more and more, your blog posts are going to be a mix of images and videos.

Do you know Google prefers lighter images? I recently read in a blog post (I can’t find it right now) that Google probably prefers PNG files to JPG files. Ever since then I have started using PNG files.

A good thing about using PNG files is that by little tweaking you can considerably reduce their size without compromising on visual quality.

You can optimize images and videos by supplying appropriate text around the images and videos.

You must already know that whenever you use an image you need to use the ALT tag to supply the alternative text for the image.

The text that you write around the image is also taken as an indication of what the image represents and this information is used when the image is shown in the image search engine result pages. The same holds good for videos.

Use proper markup for your blog posts

Markup gives extra information to the search engines which helps them rank your blog posts accordingly.

Markup is just like the old HTML tags that contain specific information like <title> and <meta name=”description” content=”” />.

Markup is just the extra information that helps search engines like Google know more about the nature of your content.

I will give you a simple example of how your markup information can help Google decide whether to show your content or not…

Suppose you create a blog post titled “Review of The Godfather”.

In the “genre” markup tag you can mention whether it is the “Movie” or the “Book” you are talking about.

Here is a nice explanation of what is schema markup and what is the benefit of using it.

If you’re not very comfortable with the intricacies of the source code, I will again refer to the WordPress plug-in SEOPressor that allows you to enter markup information.

Promote your blog posts on social media and social working platforms

This may not seem like specifically using your blog to improve your SEO, but it is.

Although the search engine crawlers, especially Google crawlers, may start crawling and indexing your content sooner or later if you persistently publish new content, you will start getting SEO benefits faster if you promote your content aggressively.

Recently, CognitiveSEO has published a very big study on how various social signals can boost your SEO.

Social-Signals-Influence-SEO--1024x570

Your social media and social networking profiles are ready-made platforms for you.

Use platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to promote your new links.

In fact, it is rumored that by merely posting your content on Google+ you can have a positive impact on your search rankings.

To improve your SEO you need backlinks. People should link to your content voluntarily, but for that, they should be able to discover your content.

Since most of the influencers are on social media these days it is easier to put your content in front of them rather than leaving everything on serendipity.

Many clients approach me to get content to improve their SEO. Sometimes they want to use content marketing solely for its SEO benefits.

I don’t appreciate the approach but it is definitely better than doing nothing. It’s after all fresh and relevant content that keeps you ahead of your competitors in search engines.

But if you are really interested in improving your search engine rankings and you don’t want to get embroiled in some “SEO tactics”, publishing a regular blog is the best way of doing it.

Search engines love blogs. Blogs have focused, targeted information. They are centered around specific keywords and themes. The content is organized in such a manner that it makes total sense to search engine algorithms.

If you don’t have a blog, start one now, and if you have it but it has so far remained in doldrums, dust it off and give it a nice push. Let me know if I can help in any manner.

Why should your small business publish a blog: 5 reasons

5 reasons you should blog as a small business

Although every business should publish a blog, a blog can be really beneficial for a small business. 5 reasons why your small business should publish a blog are:

  1. Most of the small businesses are publishing a blog, you are at a disadvantage if you are not publishing one.
  2. Blog publishing can improve your search engine rankings organically, so you need to spend less money on advertisement as a small business.
  3. Publishing a blog helps you build your brand – people recognize you for the quality of your content and the frequency with which they come across useful content from your blog.
  4. It allows you to share your expertise and establish yourself as an authority.
  5. It helps you build a platform for yourself where you can communicate important messages to your customers and clients.

Although millions of blogs are published everyday, surprisingly, many small business owners still don’t consider blogging as an important part of doing business online. The thing that it is just a novelty, or a marketing tactic used by big businesses.

Big businesses have this habit of poking their noses everywhere simply because they have lots of money and resources at their beck and call. So, when this in millions of people blogging, they also want to blog. There is nothing wrong in that. But yes, every major business has a blog these days.

Big businesses having blogs doesn’t mean small businesses cannot publish their own blogs and experience success through them. In fact, there is a greater chance of them being succeeding through business blogging because a small business has more flexibility to publish highly engaging and conversational content.

This sort of flexibility is not available to big businesses. Big business waste lots of bureaucratic and legal hurdles that small businesses don’t face.

Another advantage that small businesses have is that they can be more personal and direct with their audience. They can individually engage with people on their blog.

Let’s throw some more light on the 5 reasons why your small business to publish a blog.

1. Most of the small businesses are publishing a blog

Whether you are publishing a blog or not, your competitors definitely are. Visit the website of any of your competitors and you will notice a “Blog” link. It’s another matter of frequently they are updating their blog, but they definitely have a blog.

A slightly old post, but this MarketingProfs blog Post says that 2 million blog posts are written everyday. These are 2015 numbers.

Don’t get bogged down by the numbers because the same post also tells you how to stand out even when so many people are publishing blogs.

The point is, Google is hungry for content. It is constantly looking for new content. When you publish a business blog you are creating new content. You are giving new content to Google to index.

This makes Google happy. But we will come to that later.

Under this point, what I mean to say is, whether you like it or not, all your small business competitors are using content to outsmart each other and when you are in the reckoning, outsmart you.

Remember when people used to ponder whether they should have a website or not and then there came a time when the option no longer remained whether they should have a website or not but what type of website they should have?

The same goes with publishing a blog for your small business. The issue is not whether you should publish a small business blog or not, the issue should be what sort of content you should publish.

2. Publishing a blog has a big impact on your search engine rankings

A blog is exactly what the search engines are looking for. It is supposed to have fresh content regularly. A blog is always published around a clean – this is a content writing and a content marketing blog. This way, Google has an idea what sort of content for when it is crawling and indexing your individual blog posts.

Google wants fresh content. Although the primary stress is on quality, it prefers new content. This is why you are not publishing blog posts, you should keep updating your existing blog posts.

Content that is written in the form of questions and answers, and problems and solutions enjoys better search engine rankings. Your blog posts are a perfect way to create content in this format.

A blog post, typically, has a title that is search engine friendly. It organizes various bits of content in such a manner that it is easier for Google to crawl your content.

Interconnecting various blog posts makes it easier to find deeper content crawling your blog and website.

Regularly publishing blog small business gives search engines like Google to crawl and index your website and blog with greater frequency.

I have observed that since I publish regularly on my blog, sometimes my blog posts begin to appear on the search engine result page within a couple of minutes.

Many small businesses publish a blog daily for this reason. Once Google begins to call website with greater frequency even your business pages get crawled quickly.

For better SEO you need to get back links from good, trusted websites. People should link to your voluntarily, due to your content.

Your small business blog gives them a reason to link to you, consequently, improving your search engine ranking.

Another reason why publishing a blog is good for your small business is, as you keep on writing on your area of expertise or business, the keyword density for that subject keeps on increasing for your website or blog.

3. Publishing your blog builds your brand

My previous blog post was about how to build your brand with content marketing and a business blog is one of the most essential building blocks of your content marketing strategy.

On the Internet, content is not just king, but the entire kingdom. Whether it is social networking websites, your own website or blog, everything is content.

Whatever you access on the Internet, in digital format, is content. Even your email is content.

Every sort of content is vying for the attention of your target customers. Even non-related content can take their attention away from your business.

If there is so much distraction on the Internet, how do people identify your business?

How do they distinguish your business from someone else’s business?

Through the content you publish on your blog.

They recognize you through the quality, through the relevance, and through the timeliness of your content.

People begin to recognize your brand when they repeatedly come across your quality blog content on the search engines, on social media and social networking websites, and on the websites that link to your blog.

4. Establish yourself as an expert or an authority

Through your small business blog you can share your expertise and let people know that you have deep knowledge of your subject.

A small business normally depends on the reputation of the business owner. If people like you, if they appreciate the sort of information share with them, they do business with you more eagerly.

When you share your expertise and experience with them it doesn’t just provide them valuable information, it also tells them that you are an authority on your subject and hence, you are in a better position to handle the work than you competitors might not be sharing their own expertise or, may not be sharing it as effectively as you are.

5. Build a platform for your small business

Having your own platform can be one of the most potent communications tool your small business can ever have. Just imagine, own audience waiting to hear from you.

When you publish everyday, or at least when you follow a publishing routine, you begin to build an audience. The more content you publish, the more targeted your audience becomes.

Gradually only those people begin to come to your blog who are really interested in reading your content. This way, you build a platform for your small business.

The benefit of building a platform is when you have something to say, something important, there are people to listen to you.

Every political party builds its own platform. Business houses have their own magazines. Bigger businesses even buy newspapers and TV channels so that they have their own broadcasting platform.
How can a small business aspired to build a platform and even have a use of such a platform, you may think.

Don’t get too bogged down by the word “platform”. Even if 10 people regularly visit your blog and pay attention to what you have to say, you have got yourself a platform. The thing is, somewhere you have to make a beginning and publishing a blog is one of the best ways of doing it.

Another reason why a small business should publish a blog is that, publishing a blog is very easy. I mean, it is not as easy as posting something on Facebook or Twitter, but compared to setting up a website, setting up a blog is very easy.

Before you proceed, you may like to read How much does it cost to set up a complete WordPress blog?

The Medium blog publishing platform is also quite good although, I always advise my clients for a self-hosted business blog because then the whole content belongs to you.

Having said that, Medium has a very nice way of promoting your content. It has got a very big audience and you can start building traffic to your individual blog posts really fast. Then, this traffic and trickle onto your own blog. So, have a mix.
Start publishing a blog for your small business today. Thank me after a couple of months, I’m quite patient in that regard.

10 Beginners Tips for Business Blogging

beginners-tips-for-business-blogging

Recently someone asked on Quora what would be a better blogging platform: Blogger.com or WordPress? Frankly, I didn’t realize that people are still using Blogger.com for personal and business blogging. So, it came to my mind, there might be many beginners who are looking for some good tips on how to set up a business blog and how to profit from it.

Almost every major business has a blog and it uses blogging to promote its brand, to engage with audience and to draw targeted traffic from search engines and social networking websites. Still, blogging isn’t taken as seriously as a website, especially by the small business owners who haven’t had much time to keep themselves updated of latest trends on the Internet.

Maybe because initially when blogging began, it was an amateur activity. It was mostly journalling. Then started political blogs. Web design blogs. Internet marketing blogs.

looking-for-a-blog-content-writing-service

Business blogging began a lot later, though, even in early 2000’s, I was promoting my business (web design and development) by publishing lots of web design-related web pages on my website. There existed is no concept of “blogging”.

I don’t remember if Blogger.com came first or Typepad.com (powered by Movabletype). Then came WordPress. From the beginning itself you could install WordPress on your website and start publishing a blog. Ever since then I have been using WordPress although these days I routinely publish on Medium too.

Why business blogging is necessary to grow your business on the web

Long gone are the days when blogging was considered an idle person’s pastime. As I have written above, every serious business these days has a blog. Salesforce has a blog. New York Times has multiple blogs. Google has a blog. IBM has multiple blogs. Accenture has multiple blogs. Credible Content has a content writing and content marketing blog.

Every major business and publication on the web has a blog. Is it a fad, or is it a necessity? Or is it just an insatiable desire to reach out to your target audience?

Whether you are a beginner in the realm of business blogging or a seasoned professional, primarily there are 7 reasons why you might be publishing:

  1. A business blog increases content density on your website.
  2. As you cover various topics in your niche, your search engine rankings improve.
  3. You are constantly feeding Google with new content to crawl, index and rank.
  4. People regularly access your website or blog for the valuable content you provide.
  5. You constantly have something new and original to post on social networking websites.
  6. You give yourself and your employees opportunities to share their wisdom and expertise using your business blog.
  7. Eventually, you develop a platform that is independent and doesn’t have to rely on search engines and social networking websites for targeted traffic.

In 2013 New York Times published a negative review of Elon Musk’s Tesla Model’s S car. Elon Musk claimed that the review caused the company almost $100 million.

Musk used his own blog to respond. In the blog he was able to prove what New York Times published was “fake news” and the faults detailed in the New York Times article weren’t actually faults. Consequently New York Times drew lots of flak from Tesla car enthusiasts.

You may say that Elon Musk is one of the most powerful individuals in the world and hence, people would pay attention to his blog.

But the point is, his website has a blog and hence, he has a platform that could be used to counter the New York Times article, the same New York Times that has a well-established publishing platform. In the absence of blogging, Elon Musk would have had to depend on another news publication to carry out his counter argument.

your-business-blog-gives-you-a-platform

This is just one example of how you can use your business blogging platform to put across your own point in the time of bad PR, and many companies are already doing that.

But that’s just one aspect of business blogging.

Business blogging is good for search engine rankings and creating buzz on social media and social networking websites. As mentioned above, when you start writing about your niche topics, you begin to cover all the important keywords and search terms on your blog. Business blogging is the strongest tool in the hands of small businesses.

Since you are continuously publishing your blog, Google’s crawlers begin to crawl your website and blog frequently, even multiple times a day. This way, you not just have better search engine rankings, your latest content is also added to the Google index almost immediately.

Sometimes my blog posts and web pages begin to appear in search results within a minute of publishing.

Ready to publish your blog?

Know more about my blog content writing and consulting services.

Beginners tips for business blogging

  1. Be ready to make a long-term commitment: Business blogging, or rather, any sort of blogging, but especially business blogging, is a long-term commitment. You can’t have 10 blog posts and then be satisfied. Depending on your goals, you should publish a weekly blog post or a daily blog post. If you want to improve your search engine rankings and conversion rate within 3-4 months then I suggest you publish daily. Once you have started getting decent traffic, you can switch to alternative days and then, you can even go for once a week publishing schedule with high quality blog posts. But be ready for a long-term commitment.
  2. Decide on a blogging platform: My recommendation is always WordPress because when you use WordPress (WordPress.org), though, it has a learning curve in the beginning, you own your content. Everything is there on your website. Your own search engine rankings improve when you publish on your own blog. It is an uphill task to build an audience, but in the end, when you begin to get the results, you will realize that all that effort was worth it.
  3. In the beginning, you can also focus on Medium: This, I wouldn’t suggest for every other blogging platform, but Medium is a bit different. More than blogging, it’s a publishing platform. It has a thriving audience and even when you haven’t published many blog posts, depending on your quality, any of your blog posts can be picked up and suddenly, you will have thousands of people reading your blog post.
  4. Develop a unique voice: Your writing style for your business blogging should be conversational no matter how serious your niche is. Through your business blog, you are mostly having conversations with your audience. Write the way you speak. Since every person speaks differently, if you write the way you speak, your blog will carry a unique voice.
  5. Write as a human being: Even on a business blog something like “we do this” and “we do that” doesn’t sound very good and friendly. If you are a single person managing your business blog then it’s very easy to write as that person, but if you have multiple employees writing for your blog, you can create their profiles so that they write blog posts as themselves rather than as a company. This way your audience can relate to the people writing your blogs, and it will feel connected.
  6. Refrain from promoting your product or service on your business blog: This is because when people come to your blog, they are not interested in knowing about your product or service unless they want to read reviews. People are looking for information. They want their questions answered. If they have a problem, they want to solve that problem. It is best to create a list of questions and then create many blog posts providing answers to those questions. This will also give you an opportunity to use your keywords.
  7. Don’t over-use your keywords, but do use them: Business blogging is a great way of covering all your primary and longtail keywords, but don’t make it too obvious. People can easily make out if you are providing useful information or simply covering your keywords. And anyway, when you are constantly providing solutions and answers to questions, you will be automatically covering your niche keywords, so, you don’t have to walk an extra mile to use them.
  8. Learn to market your business blog content: There was a time when it was very easy to find websites and blogs. With millions of websites and blogs being created every week, there is a lot to be found. This is where content marketing comes in. You have to market your business blog. You have to make sure that people are able to find it. The best way to market your blog is to create and maintain interactive social media and social networking profiles. Whenever you publish a new blog post on your business blog, share the link using your social media and social networking platforms.
  9. Focus on networking and guest blogging to promote your business blog: This is something I need to do more but I don’t, but I’m gradually inching towards that. Constantly publishing your business blog on your own eventually begins to get you enough traction, but the real boost you will get by networking with other, already established publishers and industry leaders who would occasionally promote your links on their own timelines and blogs. You can also offer to write blog posts for other publications to expand your presence. You will also need quality backlinks to improve your search engine rankings.
  10. Let yourself loose sometimes: Although business blogging is primarily used to improve search engine rankings and engagement, especially by small business owners, you don’t always have to strictly stick to your topics. Sometimes also share interesting and amusing pieces of information with your blog audience. You can share a funny joke. You can share a GIF that makes people laugh. Or maybe there is a video that is going viral and you can publish it with your own take. Don’t dilute the focus of your blog by more regularly posting such material, but you can keep a 19-1 ratio of such posts with 19 of business-related content and 1 of simple entertainment.

Business blogging is a work of love, commitment and passion for your field. You can publish a business blog on an ongoing basis only when you have got lots to say.

If you think you won’t be able to commit the required effort and time on your business blog, it is better to collaborate with the content writer or a content writing service like Credible Content. My content writers routinely provide high-quality content to business blogs from all over the world.

Do let me know if you are looking for a business blog content writer for your business and I will gladly provide you the needed information.

How To Generate A Steady Stream Of Tantalizing Topics For Your Blog

finding new blogging topics

Business blogs always sound like a great idea, until you run out of interesting things to blog about. We’ve all heard of writer’s block, but “topic block” is another common affliction among bloggers, and it can set in three weeks, three months or three years after launch. Here are a few techniques to help you keep your posts full of information that your audience wants to read, listen to, or view.

Get Help!

Topic block has set in. Now what? One of the most valuable business lessons I ever learned is, when you’ve got a lot of hard work staring you in the face … get somebody else to do it! This technique works like a charm for topic generation. Perhaps the best sources of topics for your blog are your readers, your customers, and your sales and customer service teams — survey these people to get their ideas. This can be done by —

  • Talking to them in person
  • Writing a blog post asking for their input
  • Emailing an online survey
  • Asking publicly or through private messages on social media

The key to making this work is guiding the responses. Asking an open-ended question such as, “What should I write about?” requires the respondent to do too much thinking. Frame your canvassing efforts with questions that facilitate a useful and specific response. Examples —

  • What is your biggest business challenge with (product/service/industry)?
  • What is your biggest operational challenge with (product/service/industry)?
  • What is your biggest financial challenge with (product/service/industry)?
  • How has this (product/service) helped you save money?
  • How has this (product/service) helped you become more efficient?
  • How has this (product/service) helped you?
  • What (product/service/industry) issue confuses you?
  • What do you wish you knew about this (product/service/industry)?

You should include response options if you do an online survey and have some ready if you’re in a live meeting to make it even easier for the respondents.

Look at Keywords

Whether or not you’re worried about SEO for your blog (you probably should be), keywords are an excellent place to mine for blog topics. The keyword data about search terms reveals a lot about what issues are of wide concern, and the language people use to research those issues. Uncovering common issues drives interesting blog posts, and using the popular language in the post title and text attracts blog traffic and holds reader attention.

Online keyword research tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Moz Keyword Explorer are easy to use and exceedingly helpful. For instance, if you have a food blog and wanted to write about rice pudding, the Moz tool might lead you to consider one or more of the following topics —

  • How to Make Rice Pudding
  • How to Make Rice Pudding From Scratch
  • How to Make Easy Rice Pudding
  • Rice Pudding Recipe With Cooked Rice
  • Baked Rice Pudding Recipe
  • Simple Recipe for Rice Pudding
  • Easy, Creamy Rice Pudding
  • Best Rice Pudding Ever
  • Rice Pudding With No Egg
  • Stovetop Rice Pudding

Note that this type of result can translate into multiple posts around the same topic. In this case, a general “How to Make Rice Pudding” post could be followed up with several more specific posts using titles from the list above.

Also, if your company is running a PPC campaign, you absolutely need to review the keyword data. It will tell you what keyword phrases are generating conversions — which tells you what keyword phrases are generating interest. It’s a must-do topic creation chore.

Stop Writing and Start Talking

A final suggestion for topic generation — probably the most enjoyable and for me, the most productive of all — is talking to colleagues and peers. Co-workers, bloggers in your niche or related ones, and maybe even competitors, are just like you, in the sense they are living, breathing and thinking about the same issues day in and day out.

Whether you talk one on one, attend a local meet-up, travel to a convention, use Skype or social media, you will eventually find people who make great brainstorming companions, and topic ideas will flow like a raging river. The nice thing about this topic-generation technique is that it helps not only you, but also your companions. They will develop ideas to help their business and blog, and may lead to guest blogging opportunities and other forms of collaboration that are good for business all the way around.

So which is better for your business, a business blog or a personal blog?

personal blog or business blogA long, long, long time ago when people started blogging, it was completely personal. Many blogging services called themselves “journals”, for example, Livejournal. People wrote about personal stuff. Yours truly had a blog on web design, and I used to manually upload the HTML pages in an “articles” folder and then manually update the index file.

Search engines like Google gladly lapped up blog posts because people created them in droves and soon blog posts began to rank higher than the website. This is because the search engines have this insatiable hunger to crawl and index and then rank as many links as they can find. The more links there are in the world, the happier the search engines are. To their great delight people observed that blogs enjoyed better search engine rankings than conventional business websites. It was not that the search engines preferred “blogs” over websites, it was just that for their algorithms, the content arranged by blogging platforms was more amenable. Because basically, what do search engines like?

  • Lots of content.
  • Constantly updated content.
  • Topical content.
  • Relevant content.
  • Socially promoted content.

All these traits were found in blogs.

This, was the inflection point where people started publishing blogs for their businesses to get better search engine rankings. They actually did. Business websites with business blogs got better rankings than business websites with no business blogs.

Now, almost every business has a blog. The question these days is not whether your business should have a blog or not, the question is, how to fare better than other blogs.

So life has come full circle. Blogging started with personal blogging, and it’s again being asked if you should have a business blog or a personal blog.

Both have their place in the world, and whether you should have a personal blog or a business blog depends on what you are trying to achieve. Are you developing a personal brand or a business brand? Does your audience want to connect with you or they don’t mind interacting with a nameless entity as long as they’re getting the information they seek?

Although it has been more than 15 years since people started blogging (in contemporary sense) – this is 2017 – it is still considered as one of the best inbound marketing tools. Have a look at the graphic below from SmartInsights:

blogging and content marketing

In more than 95% of the cases, if there is content marketing, if there is digital marketing, then a thriving blog is always there in one way or another. As you can see in the above graphic, 81% B2B marketers prefer to rely on blogs for content marketing and inbound marketing.

What are the similarities between a personal blog and a business blog?

  • Both personal and business blog are used to regularly communicate to your customers and clients.
  • Updates are arranged in a chronological manner with the latest update appearing at the top.
  • Content is arranged sorted by date in descending order.
  • Personal business blogs are theme-oriented.
  • Both personal blogs and business blogs are good for SEO.
  • A personal blog as well as a business blog can be developed into a platform with a huge audience that can be used to convey important messages or introduce new products and services.
  • Personal blogs and business blogs can be used to publish important content that does not fit into the main template of your website.
  • Communities can be created around personal blogs as well as business blogs.

What are the differences between a personal blog and a business blog?

  • As the name suggests, a personal blog may be used to promote a personal brand and business blog can be used to promote a business.
  • A personal blog can be more informal. You can write about your personal experiences, your personal opinions, your personal tastes and whatever catches your fancy (while sticking to the main theme of your blog). On a business blog there is less scope to be informal because your business blog does not represent an individual: it represents an entire organization. You have to be careful when you publish content or your business blog because it reflects on the entire company.
  • There is more engagement through a personal blog because your visitors personally know who is publishing the blog posts and what’s the basic philosophy of the person behind the blog.
  • Personal blog can be totally personal where you try to explain why your cat leaves and comes randomly and sometimes makes weird faces. A personal blog can also be a business blog, for example this blog where, although I write in a personal style (mostly in the first person) all the time I write about my business. I don’t talk of my political beliefs here; I talk about content writing and content marketing.
  • People normally stay away from controversial topics on their businesses blog because they don’t want to offend the customers and clients. On your personal blog, if you want, you can piss people off. But then again, if you use your personal blog to promote your business, you have to exercise discretion (if you want to, that is).

 

If you want to decide immediately without much data, research and experimentation, then a personal blog works better than a business blog merely because blogging is meant to be personal. It’s, mostly, a linear collection of thoughts, opinions, rants, or nuggets of wisdom around a particular topic, in a conversational, personal tone. This is the key…conversational, personal tone. This tone is more human, more personal, and ultimately, more approachable. There are many big companies that, although, have business blogs, for example Google and Facebook, they also encourage their employees to maintain their personal blogs.

But then again, in the end, what matters is, what sort of audience you are catering to.