According to the Nielsen Company, there are over 170 million public blogs in existence today. Why so many? Unlike a full-fledged website, a blog is simple to set up, requires no programming or web design experience, and is often free. It also makes the task of keeping customers and fans updated with the goings-on of your organization an easy one.
But creating and managing a blog is about more than just having real estate in the blogosphere. A successful business blog requires professionalism in its layout, content, and usability, and you should put as much care and attention into the development of your blog as you do your main website. In other words, your business blog shouldn't have anything in common with your next door neighbor's teenager daughter's personal blog about her "Twilight" obsession.
Let's take a look at two of the most important elements in designing and maintaining a successful business blog:
Designing the right business blog layout
Most blogs are easily identifiable as blogs at first glance. That's because we've created an industry standard over the years that people come to expect. You'll typically see a banner area that looks similar, if not identical to, the company's main website. This consistency in branding helps maintain the business's credibility and makes it easy for readers to find their way onto the main website after they're done reading the latest blog post.
The body area of most blogs is separated into two columns: the left-side area for the content and a sidebar found on the right. On traditional websites, you usually see a left sidebar that features navigation and maybe a call-to-action (CTA). Blogs are different. Blogs put their content front and center and demote the sidebar to the right, where it can feature secondary content like CTAs, brief contact forms, tagging, and links to past articles. When designing your sidebar, consider additional tools or information that your readers could find helpful: perhaps linking to partner websites or embedding videos to supplement what you've just written about. Remember that, underneath it all, your blog serves as a marketing tool for your business, so give your readers the tools they need to take that next step in the buying cycle.
Creating compelling content for your readers
Content truly is king, and blog content is no exception to that rule. Your blog content should speak to your customer. If you sell educational toys for children, don't let your content become stuffy and boring. In contrast, if you're marketing to IT managers, don't waste their time with sales pitches or irrelevant information. They expect to see data that helps them make responsible decisions for their IT departments, so don't be afraid to get technical with them.
Creating compelling content that brings your customers back for more is just the start, though. Be sure to proofread your blog content (more than once and by more than one person, if possible), and use proper grammar. Choose a font size and style that is easy to read, and speak to your audience. Don't just regurgitate information you find elsewhere. Make your content personal and reflective of who you are as a company.
Need some help?
If the idea of setting up and managing a business blog all by yourself has your head spinning, never fear! At LyntonWeb, we can show you how easy it is to create a successful business blog with HubSpot. Drop us a line today to learn more.