Small business blogging is very challenging. Sometimes it can feel as if you’re putting in a lot of work and nobody is actually reading or using your content. However, you have to remember that you’re building a blog with long-term goals in mind. Not only are you directly targeting your customers, but you’re also aiming for an enhanced position in the eyes of the search engines.
4 Practices Worth Following in 2016
While there are certain aspects of blogging that are industry based, most of the general practices and trends can be applied across all industries with successful results. Here are a handful that will ring true in 2016.
Sidebar Simplicity and Functionality
- Think convenience. The purpose of a blog sidebar is to make your content convenient and accessible for readers. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a blog search and category function – such as in this example. This ensures readers can find exactly what they’re looking for at all times.
- Don’t overdo it. While you want a sidebar, you should avoid overdoing it. The biggest mistake you can make is cluttering your sidebar with too much information. This overwhelms users and defeats the purpose. (Check out this example to get an idea of what “cluttered” looks like).
You need a sidebar, but it needs to be simple and functional. That’s the moral of the story. If you don’t currently have one, 2016 is the year to make it happen.
Long Form Content is King
Gone are the days where a 250-word blog post with dozens of targeted keywords was considered effective. In today’s sophisticated blogosphere, you need to be writing long form content that adds value. This typically means articles in the 800-2000 word range.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for long form content, conduct some keyword research to see what your customers are searching for. Then create “listicle” content around these pain points.
Video Content is Powerful
While it may not be the traditional blog format, video content needs to have a place in your blog. Visual content is exponentially more powerful than written word and your readers are starting to expect video as a standard content format.
While it does require more planning and thought, don’t assume that you’re unable to develop video content. You don’t need a professional studio or equipment. Getting started is as easy as using your webcam and a basic video editing tool.
Strategic CTAs are a Must
It’s amazing how many bloggers spend time developing quality posts, finding the right images, and crafting stellar titles, only to forget about the importance of strong calls-to-action. Every post – regardless of how long or short – needs a strategic CTA that moves the readers to action.
CTAs can range from buying a certain product to signing up for an email list. If you’re going through the trouble of writing a blog post, you shouldn’t skimp on the final portion of the article.
Ready, Set, Blog
Blogging has changed a lot over the past few years – and we’re currently undergoing some significant shifts. As things now stand, we’re at a pretty big pivot point. Moving forward, blogging is preparing to experience dramatic change. But for now, you just need to pay attention to these trends and best practices and you’ll be fine.