Business Blogging: 8 Key Elements Every Blog Post Needs
Start your business blog off strong with these 8 essentials.
What are the key elements to effective business blogging?
If you’re taking the time to incorporate blogging as a way to support and market your business, you want to make sure you’re getting the most “bang for your buck” with every blog post you publish. A few minutes of preparation and thought will enhance your blog post’s visibility and its potential to drive customers to your website or store-front. If you’re new to business blogging, keep this checklist handy so you remember to include each element. In no time at all, blogging for your business will not only be an effective tool for bringing in new customers and increasing sales, but you may find you like blogging as well.
When you’re using WordPress for your business’ website and blog, it’s easy to make sure the following elements are in place. Here are 8 things we make sure to include in every post we write, whether for ourselves or our clients:
1. Meta data
Make sure your meta description, keywords, and title are set and appropriate for the blog article and your website. Not sure what those are? See our earlier article for an in-depth description!
2. H1 headline
Ideally, your H1 headline should include the most important keyword or keywords you want the individual post or page to be ranked for in search engines. Keep the H1 headline to the point, and try to keep it to one line in length – in this case, shorter is better. When trying to think of a H1 Headline, imagine news headlines – brief and attention getting. There is some real strategy to effective title writing. Things like including numbers and catchy or shocking words can help draw in readers.
Not sure where your H1 headline should go? In most WordPress themes, the title that you enter for your blog post will be wrapped in H1 tags on the individual post page (the page on your business blog that only shows that one post and typically has a comments section following the post).
On your main blog page, blog archive pages, and category or tag archive pages, the blog titles will typically be wrapped in H2 tags, because you don’t want more than one H1 headline per page. If you have a custom built theme or a well-built template theme (like one of the Genesis child themes by StudioPress), then this is all set up for you. If you aren’t sure if your blog title is properly wrapped in H1 tags, tweet us your web address @roadwarriorwp and we’d be happy to take a look.@roadwarriorwp - are my blog titles properly wrapped in H1 tags? My website is... Click To Tweet
3. Multiple H2 headlines
Think of H2 headlines as the second most important bit of information you’d like to convey. If someone wasn’t able to read your entire blog post, could they learn “just enough” from your H1 and H2 headlines? Or better yet, are your sub-headlines so compelling they would convince someone to take the extra few minutes and read your entire post?
H2 headlines do more than just break up text and improve readability (and scanability!) – they are also read by search engines, so make sure every post has at least one H2 headline, if not more. On this post, for example, each of the numbered sections in this list is wrapped in a H2 tag. In WordPress, you can set H@ headings using the dropdown in the second row of options on your post editing toolbar.
4. Body text
Find the Perfect Length
This is where you share your story, your information, your business update. Ideally, your body text should be at least 300 words (typical length for one or two paragraphs), if you want search engines to pick it up. We typically advise our clients that 500-750 words is better, and is what we consider to be the bare minimum for any posts we write (whether they are written for ourselves or for the clients who have retained us to write blog posts for them). There is much debate around the ideal length of blog posts – some would say that longer posts can scare off readers, while others tout research which has shown that long-form content is more likely to be shared on social media.
Proof Read and Review Before Hitting Publish
No matter the length of your blog post, make sure that your content is spell-checked and reviewed for correct grammar. Occasional typos happen, but if you have too many over and over then it may impact your brand’s identity and reputation as an authority. If you can, have someone else review your post – a second pair of eyes can help fish out errors you may have read right over. If you don’t have someone else proof read your content, then we recommend writing the post and coming back later to review before you hit “publish.” Even an hour between drafts can help you to proof read your own writing more carefully.
Tell A Story
When writing your body text, try to follow the “5 W’s (+How)” of journalism. That means your story should be able to answer the following questions for anyone reading it: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
For example, a hair salon might write a blog post which tells the following story:
Who: Crystal, our brand new hair stylist
What: Cystal is accepting new clients, she is expert in the lastest men’s and women’s styles, but also specializes in kids’ hair-cuts and bridal styling.
Where: Jenny’s Hair & Beauty Salon, 1212 Main Street, Your Town, USA
When: Crystal works full-time at the salon during our regular hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-7pm and Saturday 9am-5pm.
Why: Now through September 1, book any styling or hair-cut with Crystal and get 10% off your total bill (excluding product purchases). Call now for availability.
How: Call Jenny’s Hair & Beauty Salon at 888-888-8888 to make an appointment with Crystal.
It’s okay to repeat important information like your business hours or contact information in posts, and it’s ideal to always have a call-to-action, whether it’s to book an appointment or just a statement asking your readers to leave a comment with their thoughts, which leads us to…
5. A Clear Call to Action
Make sure you communicate to your readers what you would like them to do! Should they make a reservation on Open Table for your restaurant’s special wine-pairing menu? Is there a contact form that needs to be filled out to request a brochure of your services? If we’re interested in that new designer handbag, can it be ordered online through the website or do we need to visit the store? Don’t assume that visitors to your website know what to do! Providing a strong call to action with a clear message on every page of your website will increase your sales and inquiries from prospective customers.
TechUP has a large front and center call to action which invites visitors to join their email list to receive notifications about upcoming events. Is your website missing the oh-so important call to action? Try adding a simple text widget to your header, sidebar, or footer. Need something more compelling or styled? Contact us today – we’re happy to help you adjust parts of your website strategy even if an entire redesign is not necessary.
6. Photo or image
Photos and images can capture attention, but make sure they are relevant and good quality. When using photos of people, be sure to ask permission first and when using photos or images from others, make sure you provide credit! It’s also important to be aware of the fact that you can’t just take images off any site on the internet – that’s considered stealing. If you don’t have your own original images, you can purchase stock photos or visit free stock photo websites. Our favorite resources for stock photos include:
Free Stock Photo Resources
Purchased Photo Resources
- Shutterstock – Shutterstock has a large library of images and no matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it.
- 500px – 500px is the most expensive of these paid image options, but there are some really great images here that look real and not like stock photos. You may not want to populate an entire website from here, but if you’re looking for a specific image 500px is definitely worth the visit.
- Creative Market – Creative Market is an awesome resource for all kinds of things (graphics, templates, and more besides photos). It is also an inexpensive option for purchasing photos – some photos cost as little as $4 – but of all the sites, quality will vary most here.
When placing a photo into your blog post, be sure to use your headline/keyword(s) or other relevant description in the Caption and Alternative Text (alt tag) sections. Placing alt tags on your image helps with search engine optimization, but they are also important because that information is what will display if your image does not load or if your website is being visited by a visually impaired person using a screen reader.
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7. Contact information
Is your website designed so that your business’ contact information and social media accounts are easily found on every single website page and blog post? Don’t make your blog readers go on a scavenger hunt for your contact details – give them what they need so they can reach out to you quickly and easily. There’s no point to business blogging if people can’t figure out how to contact you after they’ve read your amazing blog post.
Laura Monty Law, LLC has a large phone number and invitation to call across the top of every page. Whether prospective clients are on her home page, learning about her services, or reading a blog post, there’s no question about how to get in contact with Laura.
8. Social Media Sharing Buttons
These days, a vast amount of traffic will come to your website via social media, perhaps even the largest amount of your traffic, and the holy grail of business blogging and online marketing is “going viral.” If you’re taking time out of your busy schedule to publish blog posts on your website, you want to make sure that those posts are as easy to share as possible so that website visitors can help you to spread the word about your blog post. Including social media sharing button on your website and blog posts are vital; the easier it is to share a post with good content, the more likely people are to share it.
If you don’t already have social media sharing buttons, don’t fear, WordPress makes it easy to add them with the quick installation of a plugin. There are many social media sharing plugins available for WordPress, but our favorites include:
Each of these plugins has different pros and cons. We use one of the above on every WordPress website we design and develop, rotating between them depending upon the needs of the client and each individual website’s design aesthetic.