Ah, the company blog. You're absolutely terrified of it. But don't worry - you're not alone.
Today, when someone becomes an SEO, they decide to take on a wardrobe full of hats. SEO. Marketer. Technical Support Specialist. Researcher. Scientist. Comedian (you need a sense of humor in this business). Copywriter. Oh yes, and Blogger.
Blogging is an integral part of your SEO strategy, but if you're daunted by the task of having to optimize a site AND build a successful blog, don't worry. There are plenty of things you can do to make your life easier while still delivering on your promise of quality content for your readers.
Here are some practical hacks to make your business blog even better:
Expand Your Writer Roster
The hardest part of keeping up a blog is coming up with great content to post on a regular schedule.
If you're an SEO charged with managing the company blog, it can seem like a daunting task to have to write, edit, upload, and optimize every single post. Expanding your writer roster and working with guest bloggers can help you build up a strong, community-driven blog while also reducing your blog writing workload.
Start out by looking for other members of your organization who would be willing to blog, and then, branch out to other audience members, such as other experts in your field. Even customers or clients can make great guest posters.
Ask for Feedback
Ask your readers. Ask your boss. Ask your Mom.
Feedback is one of the best ways we can learn about what we're doing right and what we're doing wrong. Comment sections of a blog post, reader polls, and social media buzz surrounding your posts can be great places to start.
Also, pay attention to feedback that you might not be getting directly. Things like bounce rate, time on site, traffic sources, comments, and subscriber changes can say quite a bit about the health of your blog.
Keep a steady eye on what's happening with your blog and be proactive about taking the feedback into consideration and using it, whether it's for your overall content calendar or SEO strategy.
Experiment, Experiment, Experiment
It often takes a blog a little while to find it stride, so don't be afraid to experiment.
Play with different styles of writing, posting schedules (frequency, time of day, etc.), post length, post titles (find out what sticks!), and topics of discussion.
Change up your design and always be improving the user experience, from reading the post to sharing and commenting. And there's one more "E" I should add to this hack: evaluate. Make sure you're taking time to sort through and make sense of all of the data to find out what's working.
Get Cozy with Plugins
Plugins can make some of the most mundane blogging tasks a whole lot easier. There are a ton of great plugins out there that you can be using when blogging with WordPress, but here are a few listings that can save you time and hassle, depending on which task you're looking to tackle. There's a plugin for promotion, social sharing, comment management, metrics, load speed, and everything in between:
- 60 Best WordPress Plugins
- 10 Best WordPress Sharing Plugins of 2012 to Get More Social Traffic
- 10 Must-Have WordPress Plugins of 2012 Every Blogger Should Know About
- 11 Top WordPress Plugins Every Blog Should Have
- Best Free WordPress Plugins to Optimize Your Site for Mobile Devices
Find Your Blog Identity
The biggest challenge for any blog is to find its identity, which really consists of every touch point your blog has: tone, content, posting frequency, look, usability, features, etc.
Whatever it is you want your blog to be, write it down and start molding. Have a clear goal for what you want your blog to be and more importantly, what you want your blog to DO. It can't just be. It needs to have a direction and a purpose; one that contributes back to the overall identity.
When you have a clear destination in sight, it can be easier to get there. Give your blog an identity and watch it grow, change, and mature as you respond to feedback, experiment, and find your stride.
Have some other simple blog hacks to make an SEO's life easier? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!
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Mandy Boyle is the SEO Team Lead at Net Driven. She is also a published freelance writer and co-founder of NEPA BlogCon. She enjoys theater, not taking herself seriously, and adventurous eating.