In this day and age, it’s important for every company website to feature a regularly-updated blog. Whether you’re a massive conglomerate or a small business, a well-written blog can drum up interest from prospective clients, keep existing customers engaged and increase your site’s visitor numbers. However, in order to enjoy all of the aforementioned perks, you’ll need to produce a blog that’s worth reading. In 2016, there’s no shortage of business-oriented blogs, and if yours isn’t up to snuff, interested parties can easily get their fix elsewhere. When setting out to create a blog that’s fresh and consistently entertaining, the following pointers are sure to come in handy.
Even if you have a seasoned writer handling the bulk of your blog posts, periodically enlisting the aid of guest bloggers can be an effective way to spice things up. When shopping around for guest bloggers, look for prominent figures in your industry – preferably people who aren’t in direct competition with your company. Journalists who specialize in matters concerning your industry also make good guest bloggers. Additionally, the subject matter covered in guest posts should be well outside of your resident blogger’s area of expertise. If the name of a certain guest blogger carries quite a bit of weight, you can expect to see a sizable increase in your visitor numbers. Assuming these new visitors like what they see, there’s a good chance they’ll continue visiting your site on a regular basis.
Natural Keyword Incorporation
In an online marketplace that’s increasingly dominated by search engine optimization, keyword incorporation has become many companies’ go-to SEO strategy – and for good reason. If properly executed, keyword incorporation can boost your Google ranking and point scores of new visitors in the direction of your website. However, getting these people to your site only represents half the battle; keeping them engaged in what truly matters. As Time reports, the average Internet user takes only 15 seconds to decide whether or not a new website is worth her time. Needless to say, if first-time visitors arrive at your site to find a blog post that’s packed to the brim with haphazardly-inserted keywords and phrases, they’re liable to write your blog off as a glorified ploy for attention from prominent search engines. With this in mind, if you’re dead-set on incorporating keywords and phrases in your posts, instruct your writer to do so as organically as possible.
If you want your blog to incorporate a variety of voices, reach out to your staff for ideas. Even if the same person writes up all the posts, she can collaborate with individuals from various departments to cover a wider range of subject matter. Not all of the people with whom she collaborates are going to be skilled wordsmiths, but they can still provide her with detailed notes and valuable info. Expanding the scope of your blog can go a long way toward expanding its audience.
Over the last decade, blogging has become an art form. Not surprisingly, as the number of business blogs has increased, people’s expectations have done the same. As such, a boilerplate, by-the-numbers blog isn’t going to do your company any favors. To ensure that your blog is able to entertain and maintain visitor interest, reach out to guest posters, naturally incorporate industry-centric keywords and never underestimate the power of collaboration.
You probably recognize the importance of ensuring your company’s website is mobile-friendly because so many of your repeat and potential customers rely on their mobile devices. According to Comscore, the number of Americans who access the Internet via mobile devices outgrew the number of Americans who prefer PCs as of 2015. However, while you may be concerned about making the design mobile-friendly, you might not have thought about how and why to make your SEO mobile-friendly. To do so, focus on local searches.
Context of Mobile Searches
Consider what kind of context a potential buyer would be using their mobile phone to make a search in. Say you sell pizza and a hungry customer is nearby. She will google pizza in her area and will find your business. Before she’s had time to debate whether or not she should have pizza today, she’ll drive up to your store. It’s an impulse buy. Google reports that 18 percent of local smartphone purchases (compared to 7 percent of non-local searches) in 2014 resulted in a purchase within 24 hours. That’s a sizeable number.
Even when using a mobile to search from home, a potential customer is more likely to type a city name along with a search term. If he wants to try on shoes, he’ll type something like “buy new shoes Chicago” so he can find places in his city to try them on. He doesn’t care about businesses states away when he needs a product or service locally, so he’ll make sure to put his city or state name in virtually every search he does. Make sure your website is among the first sites to come up for a local relevant search term by putting a city or state name in every search term you focus on.
Study the Search Term Data
What are the most popular search terms for businesses in your industry? If you find something like “buy used books” or “affordable yoga classes” are among the top contenders, don’t compete with every business that wants to be among the top results for those keywords. There are too many businesses and if your company is largely local, you don’t need your business to appear in searches for customers around the world anyway. Add a city, state or area name to each term, such as “buy used books Houston” or “affordable yoga classes Minneapolis” to zero in on the local customers and decrease your competition.
Offer Local Incentives
Even while on the go and more likely to impulse buy, shoppers want to save money. Add terms like “affordable,” “cheap,” “discounted,” “savings” and “coupon” to your search terms in addition to the area name. Offer coupons exclusively to anyone who mentions a deal from your website to incentivize a visit to your store or office.
More focus on local searches will actually pay off with consumers who search on their PCs as well as with consumers who primarily search via mobile devices, so there’s no reason not to make local search terms a priority when developing content. Just by adding a city or state name in front of a search term, you’ll gain more relevancies and compete against fewer other businesses to get consumers’ attention. It’s a simple tweak to make to your current list of SEO terms, and it pays off substantially.
Even if you’re relatively pleased with your company’s current website, it’s important to understand that web design is in constant state of evolution. The fact that your site looks good and runs well by outdated standards is hardly an indicator of success. Because of the ever-changing nature of web design technology and the rapidly fluctuating tastes of Internet users, you’ll need to update your site’s core design as needed. In some cases, this means doing a complete overhaul; in others, it’s simply a matter of making a few small changes. If your company’s site could stand some sprucing up, you’d do well to consider some of 2016’s most popular design trends.
Although web designers remain fiercely divided on hamburger menus, some of the web’s most visited sites have utilized them to great effect. Despite its somewhat misleading name, a hamburger menu refers to a circular button that’s displayed at the top left, top right or, occasionally, the center of a site’s main page. The instant this button is clicked, users are greeted with one or more menus that display a wide range of page links and options. While hamburger buttons are convenient for people visiting your site on traditional PCs and laptops, they can prove somewhat cumbersome on smaller-screened mobile devices – so if the majority of your site’s traffic can be traced back to mobile browsing, hamburger menus may not be for you.
All-Encompassing Background Images
A decade ago, nearly every site you’d come across, be it personal or professional, was littered with images. At the time, the guiding principle behind web design seemed to be “more is better.” Needless to say, that adage is no longer applied to crafting websites. These days, looking at a site created during this bygone era is liable to elicit disapproving clicks and head-shakes from experienced web designers. If you take the time to visit the websites of successful businesses, you’ll quickly notice one thing they share in common: all-encompassing background images. In recent years, using a large photo or illustration as a page’s sole background image has become very trendy. Provided each page’s image directly relates to its content, the “less is more” principle will serve your site well. As Digital Current’s Sasha Fedkevich points out, 2016 is the year of visual content marketing, so make sure to choose your background images wisely.
Many restaurant websites and ecommerce sites are having success with card-style layouts. Per this arrangement, each page on a site is made up of several large card-like images. Styles vary, but many sites prefer to have one large horizontal card encompass the entire top half of the page, while three or four smaller vertical cards occupy the bottom half. Additionally, make sure these cards are made up of bold colors. According to Forbes’ Tomas Laurinavicius, 2016 will see continued growth in the bold color trend.
No matter how happy you are with your current site, sooner or later, you’ll need to make some aesthetic and functionality-related changes. Although making regular updates may strike you as cumbersome, failing to do so will leave your site looking and feeling outdated. In the quest to keep your site up-to-date on both the technical and visual fronts, you’ll need to stay current with the latest trends in the world of web design.