How to Create a Blog Page People Actually Want to Read
02 June 2017 by Aaron Brooks
Once upon a time the humble blog page served a simple, yet very important purpose. A constant stream of fresh content told the likes of Google you deserved place on its SERPs, giving you the chance to rank for specific keywords in the process.
Sadly, that’s not enough to keep the modern search engine happy. Now you need to prove to Google and co. your content is worth reading and to do that you need readers. It takes natural links built by real people (not SEO agencies) and engagement metrics like time on page and social shares to prove your content is worth ranking. So how do you create a blog page that actually gets people reading in the first place?
Focus on building a community
If your aim is to build organic search ranking through your blog, then you need to get people talking about it. And to do that you’ll have to build a community around your blog page with your brand at the heart of it.
So forget about blog posts that promote your services (at least for now) and concentrate on building that audience. Ask yourself what interests your target audience has and how you can make them relevant. More importantly, ask yourself what problems they have and decide how your content can solve them.
Don’t think of your blog page as a place to talk about your business, think of it as a place where people can come to talk about what matters to them.
Become a trusted news source
We all crave information; the internet as we know it was built around that desire. Quick access to news we can trust on the topics we care about most. And, if you can become that source of news for your target audience, they’ll come back time and again to keep themselves updated.
Mix up your content
News is a good place to start for a blog page that keeps people coming back for more. But that’s just one type of content your audience will be interested in and the more variety you can add, the more people you’ll get hooked.
Create different types of articles – eg: news, guides, reviews, interviews, case studies and more. See which types of articles get the most engagement and set out a blog schedule that prioritises the most popular types of content.
You’ll also want to mix word length too. Forget the standard 500-word blog posts and let the articles choose their own lengths. News articles, for example, will often be quite short, whereas guides need to go into more detail. Longer content actually ranks better in search engines, but you also want shorter content for quick reads and mobile devices.
This is one of the toughest tasks with running a blog – especially if you don’t have the budget to pay for custom images, infographics and videos. Don’t let budget hold you back though; invest what you can in custom visuals and make up the rest with some good old content curation.
Content curation is where you take existing content from the web and turn it into something new. A good example would be this 20 Photoshop Video Tutorials To Make You An Expert over at Lifehack.org.
Okay, so the title is a little clickbait but the article itself contains a grand total of 20 videos that anyone could collect for free and turn into a fresh article.
We’re a sucker for freebies, it’s as simple as that. All a supermarket has to do is utter the words buy one, get one free and our shopping basket is full of stuff we never intended to buy in the first place. You can tap into this knee-jerk reaction with your blog page too and convince users they’re in for a good deal every time they come back to your content.
Free downloads like eBooks, podcasts and coupon codes are a good way to bag user email addresses and get them hooked on freebies at the same time. You don’t even need to supply the freebies yourself – you can curate your own articles pointing users towards freebies elsewhere on the web.
Then we have the ultimate of all freebies when it comes to user interaction: competitions. Invest in a prize that gets people excited and they’ll be putty in your content marketing hands.
This one’s pretty obvious right now, but social media is a vital channel for reaching audiences and generating engagement. Social engagement hasn’t been confirmed as a direct ranking signal with Google or other search engines, but it seems like the most logical way for them to measure interaction.
Regardless of what search algorithms use to rank content, strong exposure and interaction on social means your content is doing its job. Without those, you may need to rethink your approach.
Consider promoting your blog via AdWords
Something many blog owners never consider when they’re first building their audience is Google AdWords. Let’s say someone types “web design news” into Google:
Well, look at that, not a single ad in sight. Which means new web design agencies looking to build that initial audience could have a lot to gain by promoting its news and other content types with AdWords.
Guest blog to build exposure, not links
Finally, I want to mention guest blogging – something that has suffered a tarnished reputation over the last few years. Guest blogging is still golden though; it’s just that people were doing it wrong. Instead of using guest blogging to build links, use it to build exposure and get your name in front of new audiences.
If your posts are good enough to impress those audiences, they share you content and generate those links for you naturally. These people are more likely to visit your blog in search of more info, recommend you to people in other communities and interact with your content on social.
So there you have it – the long-term aims of running a corporate blog revolve around building that audience and getting them excited about your content. It’s not an instant process either, but the rewards of having a blog page that ranks high in search engines and gets people talking about you across social media are well worth the effort.