How to run your website blog like a pro for maximised traffic and returns
Getting your website blog started is one thing. Getting it up and running to do its intended purpose of generating traffic and leads is the next thing. Keeping up with the latest content trends and optimising your content for sustained returns is something content planners have to continually do to keep blogs performing at their best. And the more content you have published, the more it becomes necessary to update it with routine maintenance and SEO reviews.
Here are our latest tips to optimise your website blog to maximise its power as a lead generation tool and complement other aspects of your content strategy.
Research and stats reveal content trends
Search engines are up, and social sites are down, following recent research by Hubspot. Consistently pumping out optimised content on your website blog will aid traffic and conversions, as well as producing high-quality native content to establish your brand.
Conversely, social media sharing is tailing off, but why is this? It is most likely thanks to social media sites purposefully limiting posts and shares that contain off-site URLs in an attempt to stem users migrating off-platform.
Overall, the multi-channel strategy still reigns, but it is clear that search optimisation — as well as long-chain native content — are becoming increasingly important to drive traffic to your website: even more so than paid promotional content.
Website blogs drive traffic
Content marketing is increasingly trending towards professional website blogs as primary traffic drivers, according to a research survey conducted by Neil Patel this year. It is well worth considering using your blog as your landing page (more on this below).
Furthermore, high-quality content is the most effective as a lead generator. Well-researched content that adds value to your community through insightful posts of 2,000 to 3,000 words in length is more likely to receive a positive response when compared to website copy below 1,000 words, according to the latest data from research by Moz and Buzzsumo.
Finally, referral traffic is a useful source to boost blog views and website traffic, plus it is relatively immune to search engine algorithm updates.
Make your website blog your landing page and sales funnel
Blog readers rarely convert upon their first visit. It typically takes several content views plus other marketing channels, such as remarketing and email, to convert viewers into paying clients.
Consider your blog as part of your sales funnel that attracts a wealth of new visitors, interested repeat readers, and those select users who convert to customers. About a quarter of businesses interviewed stated that they heard about a business through first visiting their company blog, according to recent research.
One great benefit of blog readers-come-clients is that they already know a considerable amount about your organisation and its values, so the sales process is fundamentally different from certain other inbound/ outbound methods. Typically you and your new client will start out with more trust, and when this is combined with pumping out regular content, you’ll see conversion rates increase. It helps to keep track of new user sessions versus repeat traffic to evaluate how effective your blog content is and for performance optimisations.
The take-home message here is that not only does a content-rich website help search engines index your pages, but people are also still attracted to (good) written content. When this kind of strong content marketing is combined with other tactics — such as email opt-ins and high-value lead generation — those interested users will be effectively pushed to open their wallets.
Problem-solving and question-answering
Knowing that quality content drives traffic is one thing; knowing what kind of content is the right content is another. The best kind of website content anticipates the audience with highly targeted articles, as opposed to broader catch-all blog entries. Furthermore, creating lengthy content is not about filling up your website with fluff and keywords: on the contrary, it is about using your space to detail specific topics and address certain problems in-depth. This is done through exploring theories and notions, revealing research and elaborating on it, and carefully proving your point and supporting it. The key takeaway here is to create content that your audience is actually interested in reading and only then putting pen to paper, per se.
One great way to create a high-value lead generation tool is to publish content that addresses user problems and industry pain points. Indeed, content can be exchanged for email addresses in return for an in-depth industry insight or white paper, for example.
By creating this kind of well-researched content you’ll also be establishing yourself as an industry authority and building trust within your community. This is where target market research really shines: by identifying your key audience and assessing their needs you can then use this information to inform your content strategy and generate content that speaks directly to them.
For instance, detailing in a 3,000-word white paper the ways your offering solves a current industry problem that is directly downloadable from your website in return for an email address for follow-up marketing is a great exchange of value for all parties.
Business blog optimisations
Some really useful optimisations for business blogs are actually quite easy to implement and employ each time you publish new content:
Write well researched, long-form pieces that focus on native content rather than comparatively shorter pieces that focus purely on SEO data and ranking.
Update your posts regularly, we recommend every six months and scheduling the updates in your content planner.
Focus on producing content that has strong evergreen elements to it. Plus, evergreen content is relatively more straightforward to update and maintain.
Move away from self-promotion within your own content. No one wants to read thinly disguised sales material; this approach is more likely to increase bounce rates and reduce the number of website sessions. Keep your promotional efforts relevant and restrict only to where necessary, such as in the final call to action.
Use info-for-data to exchange content for leads. For example, an email for a downloadable pdf of your latest in-depth insight piece, or a handy how-to guide for your industry.
Add an opt-in feature to your blog entries so users can sign up via email for notification and new posts. You’ll be building your email list while giving your users a reason to give you their email address, such as updates, news, and publications.
Teams, freelancers, and posting frequency: it all adds up
Most medium-size enterprises have one to two content managers these days, plus they hire outside help (up to 10 contractors on average) for campaign drives, relaunches, and new offerings. The simple answer they all know is that content doesn’t perform and deliver gains without real effort and a serious approach behind the copy.
This may sound like a lot of manpower but it is important to note that contractors are usually brought in for specific tasks and won’t be around continuously. Rather, they will more likely assist the in-house content managers with specific content needs, such as video, infographics, and podcasts. Others will be writing one or two specific pieces a month to take the weight of the core team.
On the plus side, freelancers are typically much cheaper than hiring full-time staff and it’s a workforce that can be quickly scaled-up when needed and then scaled back down when that campaign is up and running or concluded.
Content frequency and length
But how much content do you need to push out to see significant returns? On average, companies of a certain size publish one content piece for each working day during the month.
This may initially sound like a lot, but a great rhythm to get into with your content production is to go heavy over periods and create batches of interrelated content, and then schedule them for publication over the coming days and weeks. This way you always have a buffer-of-sorts where content is being queued up between creation and publication to see you through any periods of low activity.
What about content length? We know long-form content is up, but how long does long-form need to be? According to research by Backlinko, the perfect content length is 1,890 words to boost your SEO rankings to page one material. It’s not a simple task of making the word count, however; in our experience, it is always a challenge to get the word count down rather than up.
A longer length reflects the nature of the content being pushed out. Longer posts include in-depth topics, how-to guides, problem-solution essays, and well-researched opinion and theory pieces.
One point to take away from this is that pumping out in-depth guide after in-depth guide won’t be the most successful strategy: taking a more balanced approach to content topic and intent is more likely to seize higher positions in the SEO rankings.
Video and podcasts are in: written word move over
Well not quite, although video and audio are trending. Of all the video explainers and podcast series we’ve seen, they all have one thing in common: video and audio complement and enrich existing written content campaigns. People still like to read, and [hopefully] they always will do. But, video and audio marketing is tapping those audience members who prefer that medium. Furthermore, video and audio channels are showing clear signs of moving past the hype-phase to become permanent key marketing assets for all businesses and sectors.
Medium and Tumblr are still great for content campaigns, although Medium is getting much more competitive with the introduction of the paywall in early 2019 and with major publishers now getting onboard. The best benefit of using Medium as a secondary channel is that Google won’t penalise your results for having duplicate content, meaning you can publish on your company site first, followed by Medium and/ or Tumblr a week or two later. Multiple posting is the same for social sharing on Facebook and LinkedIn as well.
As for video, it is worthwhile hosting your high-quality explainer video that details your product-offering over on YouTube and embedding the clip on your website so you don’t slow down your website server. All video content can be uploaded to various sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram for maximum impressions and traffic.
Video content is expected to continue growing over the coming years as the market expands and every major platform strives to keep up with market share. Based on this, search algorithms are already acting favourably toward content that keeps people on the platform and not migrating them away, so the more content you can push out on your channels that doesn’t entice users with referrals and direct links will probably get more results.
Finally, having a multichannel approach with varied content across platforms makes your campaign less susceptible to algorithm changes, which come several times a year and are always a bit of a mystery to unpick until after the fact.
Translate and update your content
Translating content into a second language is now as effective at maintaining content returns as content updates and social media promotion. In fact, most websites host web copy and articles in more than one language.
A second or third language gives you access to a similar demographic in another language and region. Plus it will benefit your search rankings in that language too. Something to remember is that if you are using your content as a sales funnel, make sure your team has the language capabilities to follow through and do good on those second-language leads.
These days it is no good pumping out lengthy content and leaving it alone to work its magic indefinitely. Updating content to keep it relevant and evergreen is more important than ever plus it is another opportunity to repost on social channels with the latest news and changes.
On average, we see content being updated every six months, so put a six-month reminder into your content calendar and allocate team resources to this task as it will become increasingly important as time goes by. An update doesn’t have to be a major overhaul, nor should it be. It could be as quick and straightforward as re-reading a post, checking dates and facts, updating links, and adding recent developments if any.
Keep pumping out high-quality content and promote it
The one thing to take from this is that, while the written word is still very much relevant to rankings and results, today written content needs to be complemented with other mediums and tactics such as video, audio, and translation to continue seeing optimum results.
Go for longer posts that tackle key issues and answer your audience’s questions in an informative and insightful manner. Using a high-quality content approach combined with market research into your target audience will likely generate more leads and pay off well. Understanding your audience’s needs and addressing them through your high-quality content adds genuine value to your readers and will likely entice them to revisit and make contact.
Finally, sharing your insightful content with a highly effective blog promotion strategy should see you through to excellent results with sustained traffic and higher leads.
Here are a few tips to promote your blog and spread the word about its great content:
Leverage social media sharing in a way that fits your content
Guest post on other blogs
Get an influencer on board your campaign
Promote your latest posts to your existing audience through email marketing
Published on 27 June 2019