A high-quality blog, consistently filled with high-quality, customer-focused articles, video and other content is the cornerstone of many marketing initiatives. But what do you do if you don’t have a blog or enough internal support to launch one within your corporate website?
There are two easy ways you can launch a low-cost blog to test the idea, gather data and build the case for a more extensive content marketing initiative:
Option 1: Set up a blog on Medium.com
The first solution is to launch a blog on Medium.com, a popular, free blogging platform that features a simple, easy-to-use interface that encourages writing and storytelling, and also provides a delightful reading experience.
Like any online tool, Medium has its pros and cons:
- It lets you focus on writing, instead of the technical aspects of managing a blog.
- Setup and formatting options are limited, which means you can get started publishing content quickly, with a short learning curve.
- You can use a Medium blog to hone your writing skills before you launch a dedicated blog on your corporate website.
- Medium can help you build an audience by locating others who have similar interests.
- You don’t own the audience – Medium does.
- You have limited control over customizing the design of your blog.
- You have limited ability to create a unique audience experience.
- Medium owns your blog and can change the rules that govern it at any time.
- Your content is competing with many other authors and their articles – it REALLY needs to stand out!
- Because it’s hosted on a website that’s completely separate from your corporate site, a Medium blog won’t give you any search engine optimization (SEO) benefits.
Option 2: Set up a blog on a separate but related domain
The second option is to set up a blog on a domain name that is closely related to that of your company website. For example, if your company’s website is acmewidgets.com, you could purchase the domain name of acmewidgetsblog.com. If you want to take it a step further, you could set up a redirect for the URL acmewidgets.com/blog so it automatically displays the blog that resides at acmewidgetsblog.com.
Here are the pros and cons of an external WordPress blog:
- WordPress blogs are fairly easy and inexpensive to set up.
- You own the domain name and the blog. You’re not at the mercy of a third party pushing a series of monetization schemes on you and limiting your audience’s ability to find and read your content.
- There’s a large global community of WordPress experts who can help you solve any technical and customization challenges you may run into.
- WordPress gives you more freedom to customize the content and appearance of your blog. Thousands of themes and plug-ins are available that can make a WordPress blog do just about anything you can imagine.
- If you want extensive or complex customizations, your development costs could rise quickly. That’s why you should start out with basic functionality and expand it as you become more comfortable with the WordPress blogging platform.
- Search engine benefits are slightly better for your blog posts than if they were hosted on Medium, but still not as good as if the blog was hosted on your corporate website.
No matter what direction you take, now is the time to start self-publishing your own blog so you can be known as the subject matter expert in your field.
Way back in 1996, Bill Gates declared, “Content is King.” In his essay, Gates predicted that content would be where “much of the real money will be made on the Internet.” In 2010, when blogging really started to gain traction, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals took that phrase to heart.
At first, we saw an uptick in plain ol’ content—mostly words tossed together in a fashion that appealed to search engine bots, but not people. Meh. As Google’s algorithms became smarter and the masses flocked to the Internet, marketers came to understand that only quality content (content that appeals to BOTH bots AND people) is the only content that will do.
Today, high quality website content has become a major force powering SEO. Why? Because Google LOVES quality content—and if you care about getting found online: when Google talks, you LISTEN!
How an Active Blog Helps SEO
So what about blogs? Blogs have become a turn-key content solution used to capitalize on today’s top SEO tactics. When you create a blog and update it regularly with content that attracts your target market, you’ll be edging your way to the number 1 spot on page 1 of Google.
Blogs have only become more and more powerful over the years. They’re simply a must for any business these days, as a great blog has proven to be a major sales-generating tool.
Before we go any further, it’s important to understand the meaning of SEO. Search Engine Land defines SEO as, “the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial, or natural search results on search engines.” Put simply: search engine optimization is what you do to your website to bring in more web traffic.
Why bring in more web traffic?
Because your customer’s purchase starts with search.
When you add a blog to your website (following current content marketing and SEO best practices), you’re giving the search engines what they want, which can really pay off.
#1. Fresh Blog Content Can Influence Search Engine Rankings
You may be asking, “Why do I need to update my blog?” Fair enough. There’s a great answer for that, and it’s the key to propelling your content up the search ladder.
Each time you update your blog, the search engines send out a little crawler that reads, then indexes your webpages. When this happens, the chance your content will achieve a higher search rank increases. When creating fresh, new content, keep in mind: Quality Beats Quantity. So “refreshing” an existing blog post won’t always cut it—instead, start new often and tell stories whenever you can. Stories sell.
#2. Blog Posts = More Backlink Opportunities = Higher DA
Every website has something called Domain Authority (DA). Developed by Moz, this is a score (on a 100-point scale) that predicts how well your website will rank on search engines. While DA is determined by a lot of different factors, authoritative backlinks pointing to your website can help boost your rankings.
To get those high quality backlinks, you need to give people a reason to want to link to your content. Typically backlinks happen when:
- Your content is unique and engaging.
- You have fans (not necessarily customers) who are passionate about your brand.
- People feel some type of emotional connection to your company and/or your products and services.
- Your content is quote-worthy and people see a reason to cite you.
#3. More Opportunities for Keywords
Keywords are an important part of a complete SEO strategy. With every new blog post you create, you have the opportunity to use new or existing keywords, all of which…you guessed it…get that great content of yours FOUND.
There are two types of keywords: long-tail keyword and short-tail keywords.
- Longer (include 3 or more words)
- More specific
- Include phrases
- Target a specific audience
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- Shorter (1 to 2 words)
- Less specific
- Include single words
- Target a broader audience
- SEO Agency
- Content Marketer
Before getting started with blogging for SEO, do understand: it can be a large undertaking. But when it’s done right, an active blog can generate loads more leads and tons more sales. When done wrong, it can end up being a big waste of time and money.
We recommend hiring professionals, so give us a shout at Cultivate Communications!