Are you currently building a web development business? Or perhaps you already have one established and you're thinking of starting a blog to grow your business. In this post, you'll discover some valuable tips and techniques to help you make the best possible start to blogging for your web development business.
Business owners like you need to have an effective blogging strategy. You can't expect to gain or maintain an edge over your competition without one, it's simple as that.
Talking of competition, it's pretty fierce out there, especially when you're in the web development industry. It only gets tougher when you are catering to eCommerce companies.
When you're just starting out in a web development niche, you need to bring everything in line with your branding. Even for established companies, the message that you convey with your blog design and text needs to uphold your image.
To support who you are, you may need to revamp your blogging strategy so that everything is properly aligned.
So, to help you with this, I've compiled a list of the specific steps that your business needs to take to ensure that you are sending the right message to your prospective clients, and why you shouldn't skip a single one of them.
Are you ready? Let's get started.
We're talking about your blog so you might be wondering what web design has to do with it.
Well, reviewing your design is actually the first step that you need to take before you even start thinking about writing anything.
The saying that 'a picture speaks louder than words' is so cliché – but it's used so often because it's universally true.
You can take the shortcut and go straight for text changes. It can save you a lot of time, trouble and expense upfront. But your blog can end up sending one message with its visual component and a completely different one with its words.
When you send mixed messages, it leaves your target audience in a state of cognitive dissonance. They won't even know why they are confused – or even that they are, to begin with.
They will simply feel that something is not right and that your blog makes them feel uncomfortable.
No one will want to spend time on your blog, and more importantly, they will not trust what you are saying there.
They won't want to stay there for any length of time, and this all means that you have zero chance of holding their attention or building rapport with them.
The bottom line here is that you are investing in your blog strategy because you need to attract the right people to your brand.
How can you do this if you are inadvertently turning them away?
Whatever you are able to save by skipping this step will be minuscule in comparison to what you will lose down the road.
First, take a good look at how your blog is designed.
Take note of its key features. Then, ask yourself if these visual aspects align with your brand message.
If your brand speaks of simple elegance, your web design should be the same.
If it represents stability and honor, the visual elements should reflect this meaning.
Your blog's design must be adjusted in whatever ways are necessary to evoke the reactions that you need your visitors to have – before they even read anything.
Then, when they do delve into your posts, they will be pleased to find that your words match their expectations.
Here's what you need to do -
Make use of the colors, fonts, shapes, navigational elements, and other visual features at your disposal to create the right feel for your blog.
Once your design is good to go, you can then refocus to work on the written components of your blog.
But, don't start drafting long posts just yet. Start with the basic pages, going through the wording and making changes to match your intended message.
You probably just want to get right to posting because you heard that your SEO needs this, right?
Don't rush into it just yet.
Yes, you need fresh posts to boost your credibility and authority with the search engines. But, you will not get past their strict screening policies – or at least not climb very far – if the rest of your text isn't good.
Why go through all the trouble of producing high-quality posts only to inch your way up the ranks?
This has to be done before any other text, and here's why –
First, the search engines like to see that you are updating your pages regularly.
No updates mean that you are basically ignoring your site.
You don't get points for doing nothing I'm afraid to tell you. You do get rewarded, however, for keeping things fresh, and not just on the blog itself.
Second, most people will land on your homepage and are likely to have a look at your about page and visit your contact page first.
They will usually want to know more about you before they spend their hard-won free time on your posts.
If they see your main pages and are not impressed, they will quickly leave.
There's no point in doing anything to revamp your blog if it won't get people interested enough to stay until you can really show them the goods.
In terms of SEO, this behavior means that your bounce rate will increase.
The search engines will then know that people are entering your site and leaving quickly.
Not much time spent on a page, plus no other pages visited means a bad experience, not all the time, but in most cases.
You can't rank well if this is the reaction you get from your visitors.
Begin by revisiting your branding once again and developing a brand voice that accurately reflects it.
Think about the vocabulary that you will use, and the writing style that you will maintain.
Make sure that you are able to stick to the technique and the unique voice that you choose for your blog.
Once that's set, edit your main pages and give them a good review.
Get your partners and your team to give them a once-over.
Get your family and friends to read through them, too, and tell you how it sounds to them. Their responses will tell you if you are sending the right message or not.
When your main pages are all in line with your branding, you will finally be ready to start preparing for your new posts!
First, take a good look at your marketing goals and what you can realistically achieve with the time that you have to invest in your new blog strategy.
Make sure that your answer to all three questions above is a big fat yes. Otherwise, be prepared to miss your targets.
If you don't have the time, you can always hire a content writer with experience in your niche to take the bulk of the work off your plate.
Next, with your branding guidelines still fresh in your mind, start brainstorming the topics that you will write.
Content planning is an art in itself, so don't just slap together a few raw ideas.
Really think about what you need your prospects to read, and what they will actually want to read. They have to be interested to help you create and maintain the hype you need to generate more interest and visibility for your blog and business.
In addition, make sure that your topics are fit for the season in which you'll be writing them.
There's not much else better than timely advice, and you want your targets to know that you have them in mind as you publish your pieces.
You have set the stage, and now your efforts will not go unrecognized.
So buckle down, grab a nice big java and a few snacks. This is where the bulk of your efforts will be spent.
This is a long-term commitment, so make sure that you are absolutely ready to get the show on the road.
You're booked and there will be no cancellations on this tour – unless you want to cancel the success of your business.
Remember to stay true to your voice and follow the calendar that you've prepared.
You can always make changes, of course, but you want to be certain that you're not deviating from it so much that all sense is lost.
Commit to supplying fresh and intelligent content to your blog for at least 3-6 months. Then comes the fun part, when you will start to see the results.
You've put a lot of hard work into your blogging strategy, and you should enjoy each sweet level that your business reaches because of it.
To do that, make sure that you have set a benchmark by checking your Google Analytics report before you make any changes, then every week thereafter.
Download or print out the weekly reports. Take note of when each change was made, and indicate that on each report.
Soon, you will note some significant changes. After a while, you will be able to see the massive cumulative effect of all your efforts to blog for your business the right way.
You can do this, I wish you the very best of luck to you.
Don't forget to grab a copy of Fabrizio's Ultimate Blog Planner workbook here.
Connor Gillivan is the author of Free Up Your Business: 50 Secrets to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies, a serial entrepreneur, and the CMO and co-founder of FreeeUp.com. When he's not bringing together hundreds of freelancers and business owners, he's mentoring entrepreneurs through his site, ConnorGillivan.com. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado.