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Here is a sentence I never thought I’d write: I’ve been writing a small business blog for eight years!
Having started my career path as a lawyer and then later transitioning into entrepreneurship and CEO of my own company, identifying as a blogger was a title I never imagined I’d have one day. This is also an area of communications that has evolved substantially from when I first began doing it.
Unless you were an early adopter, blogging was once considered to be a sporadic activity; many entrepreneurs did it whenever they had the chance and plugged their own products and services.
Now, it’s completely widespread. You’d have a tough time finding any startup website that doesn’t have a blog filled with actionable advice, complete with an editorial calendar, guest contributors and style guides to ensure that the right keywords are being used for higher ranks and overall traffic.
As I continue to write blog content while running a business, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the marketing lessons I’ve learned from having a blog — and being a blogger — over the years.
The blog is not all about you
When I first started blogging, I will admit that nearly all of my posts were about my company and its offerings. I talked about the sales we had coming up, new products we were launching and freebies we were giving away. A lot of our content centered on us — and while people may like to write about themselves, it’s tough to keep readers coming back to that kind of content because it’s, well, all about you.
This was when I knew it was time to shift gears to instead focus on our customers. We began creating series of blog posts that addressed questions customers had about starting a business.
In the ABCs of Small Business, for example, we made every letter of the alphabet stand for a different term in the small business canon (like “T is for Trademark”) and explained more about what that term meant and how it factored into entrepreneurship.
We interviewed small business owners, brought on guest writers that could share their own insights and created infographics. We went from a blog to a community hub. Our blog had transformed into a space for the readers, by the readers, where they could find informative tips, advice and how-to information to engage with and share with others.
The bottom line is, we started focusing on the type of content our customers desired.
Remember to hit refresh on your layout
Think about how you dressed and looked eight years ago versus now. Chances are, you’ve probably switched up your style to fit into the latest trends and fashions. The same goes for blog layouts and web designs.
For a while, we had a blog layout that was a bit on the clunky side. There was lots of scrolling to get from one blog post to the next. And while it looked okay on desktop, the layout didn’t sync up properly on mobile devices. We hit refresh on the entire layout a couple of years ago and have been extremely happy with how our blog looks, feels and works ever since.
If it’s been a while since you last updated your blog’s overall design, consider a refresh. Make sure that the new layout is compatible across desktop and mobile devices, utilizes engaging images and is easy to navigate. You might even include a pop-up window to encourage visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or add in a chatbot to help answer questions as a way to capture new leads!
Get to know the backend better
More and more frequently, I’ve noticed prominent blogs taking older, evergreen content and updating it in subtle ways. This can mean anything from adding in backlinks to other relevant posts to retooling titles or replacing seriously stock-y stock images with more aesthetically pleasing ones.
When you spend enough time focusing on writing strong content and refreshing your layout, it’s equally as important to give older content a boost. Consider optimizing keywords, adding the appropriate alt text to images, filling out meta descriptions (if they were previously blank), adding or editing tags and categorizing your posts.
It may be a little time consuming, but that work will be worth it in the long run.