Inbound marketing and content marketing are here to stay. While Google is changing what it does and how rankings work, links and content still matter, and for those things to work well, your website needs an active blog, good keywords and metadata, great landing pages, and content that is optimized for search in your niche.
The thing about content marketing and your blog is that it is often harder to measure ROI. It takes time to build a blog audience, and until you have that audience and regular organic traffic, you won’t see results. Even an aggressive content marketing strategy won’t show results for 90 days at least just because of the way Google works.
But building a blog audience can give your marketing efforts a better ROI. The audience will work to spread your message for you. But how do you build that audience?
Check Your Setup
First of all, you will need to get a bit technical and look at your current website setup. If you are a young company, this is a little easier to change, but even if you have had your site for a while, changing the way it is setup will often improve traffic, but also makes it easier to build an audience.
Look at Your Domain Name: Maybe you bought your domain name a while ago, but it no longer fits or it was not the best choice. You can change it, and redirect traffic to your new site. One of the most famous examples is the SEO company Moz who started as seomoz.com but then shortened the name to simply Moz.com and redirected traffic from the old site with a great deal of success.
Hosting: Nothing is worse than getting a whole bunch of new traffic and then having your site crash. You might have started with shared hosting, but as you get more traffic you may need dedicated hosting, available from your hosting provider or to look at self-hosting if you have the space and the equipment you need. Having your own server provides you with total control, but often dedicated hosting is more reliable.
Web Design: Before we even get to keywords and back of the house coding, look at the way your website appears. Was it designed years ago? Does the theme look “stock?” It might be time to make a change. Have someone design your site or change to a more modern theme that fits your company niche better.
Once you have looked at your current setup, it is time to set some goals.
Where Are You Now?
Where is your site now? What kind of traffic do you have? What is your bounce rate and conversion rates? Where do you rank for key phrases and keywords in your niche?
Knowing where you stand in these areas sets the stage. If you are not running Google Analytics or looking at the analytics provided to you by your host or your setup platform, now is the time to start. Understand what those numbers mean and look at bounce rates on key pieces of your content and pages on your site, especially conversion pages.
Sometimes it is a matter of design changes, sometimes it is a matter of language, and most often it is a combination of both. You can determine this by looking at your site statistics over a given period of time. This allows you to spot trends and learn from mistakes.
Where Do You Want to Go?
What are your goals for your site? Apart from actual traffic numbers, most of the time increasing conversion rates and reducing bounce rates are top of the list. What does this mean?
First, it means that when a user visits your page you want them to stay, not leave right away. That means having something of value for them to engage with. From your language to the information you provide in your blog, and the idea fitting the headline, every factor is important.
Secondly, every blog post and page should have a call to action. What do you want the reader to do as a result of looking at your page? Maybe that is to subscribe to your blog or newsletter, maybe that is to click on a product link or start a free trial of your service. Whatever the desired action, you need to make that clear to the reader.
Without goals for these things, you won’t know if what you are doing is working other than as a general trend. Specific goals will make your blog much more successful.
How Will You Get There?
This is the most important part of building a blog audience for greater ROI. You have the right design and the right ideas, you know where you are and where you want to go. However, you need a plan.
- Post Relevant Content: While it is fall and the recipe for your grandma’s sweet pickles might get a lot of clicks and traffic, it probably won’t win people over to your software as a service. Keep your content on topic.
- Post Often: How often you make changes to your site and how often you post content will determine how often Google looks at your site. It also determines how often readers will come back to check out what you are doing.
- Optimize Always: Keywords still matter, and so does meta data, your slug, your title, headings and more. Pay attention to these, and use tools to make sure your SEO is on track. Every post should be optimized for relevant keywords and searches, and show the expertise, authority and trustworthiness Google is looking for.
While this sounds simple, it is easy to get sidetracked or distracted. Stay focused on your goals and the things you need to accomplish.
How Will You Know When You Have Arrived?
Here is the truth of SEO, content marketing, and building a blog audience. Once you have reached one goal, you need to set another one. A blog that stops developing and changing will go backwards simply because other sites in your niche will continue to move forward.
You will never arrive. To get the best ROI from your blog, you will need to keep meeting goals and setting new ones. The growth of your blog will correlate with the growth of your company if you pay attention to where you are, where you are going, and determine how you can reach new heights.