How To Write A Blog: 8 Components That Improve Blogging Results
Learn How To Write Blog Articles: Business Blogging 101
Blogging For Business Results and a Getting A Larger Return on Investment
For six years, Means-of-Production has written blog articles for built environment and Home improvement clients throughout the United States. We believe that blogging is still the best way to attract clients seeking the services of architects, interior designers, design-build contractors landscape designers and residential home designers. This article outlines the eight components your blog must have if you hope to attain a high PageRank and get found on Search Engine Results Pages. These blogging components include,
Sourcing Article Research
Formatting Your Article For SEO
Writing Meta Descriptions
Posting Your Blogs on Squarespace
Adding Images and Alt Tags
Tagging and Categorizing Blogs
Automated Social Sharing
We have learned a few things about driving residential design clients to websites and we hope this list is helpful.
One note: The advice below is for those firms that use the Squarespace website builder, but almost all of the suggestions can be applied to any blogging platform.
1. Source Article Research
If a popular article is published in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, or any well-known source of good journalism you can be confident that media outlets will pick up on that article and use the information over the next week or more. Have you ever noticed that National Public Radio features information sourced by the New Yorker shortly after publication? The key to efficient, results-driven blogging is to research articles that match your viewpoint then refer to the source material in your blog and credit the author or media outlet. To improve business blogging results, we recommend finding three articles online that can be used as source material for your blog articles and write a new article based on this information. We are not suggesting that you plagiarize the article. Not only is plagiarism unethical, but Google's algorithm will also recognize the source material and penalize your site, and you will see your PageRank sink on the Search Engine Results Page or SERP's.
2. Keyword Research
Getting found online through blogging means optimizing your content for search by using highly searched keywords embedded in your content. It takes time to seek out and research these keywords. It's included with every blog we write and begins with words typed into a search box. Concerning value, keyword research is one of the most critical, high-return activities in the search marketing arena. Ranking for the right, relevant keywords can be the difference between success and failure for your website.
By researching keyword demand in your market, you can gain information about which keywords and phrases to target for SEO, and learn more about your customers as a whole. It's not just about driving traffic to your website, it's about driving the right traffic. The usefulness of this information cannot be overstated. Keyword research can help you to predict and better understand shifts in demand, respond to a changing market, and produce the products, services, and targeted content that your customers are actively seeking
The Advantages of Long-Tail Keywords
Many of our building industry clients would love to rank #1 for a keyword like “design-build” but is it really that important? Is it even possible? Maybe in a small local market or by spending oodles of cash.
While it's great to deal with keywords that are searched for 5000 times a day, the reality is, these popular search terms make up less than 30% of the searches performed on the web. The remaining 70% consists of what is known as “long tail” search terms. The long tail contains hundreds of millions of unique searches that may only be conducted a few times each day, but when examined as a group, comprise the majority of the world's search volume.
Another factor we've learned is that long tail keywords have higher conversion rates. This is most likely because a person is searching for a specific phrase, for example, “Design-Build Firms Kitchen Remodeling, Boston” is much farther along in their buying process, than someone searching for “Kitchen Design Countertop Ideas” and most likely further down the sales funnel and preparing to engage a contractor.
3. SEO Formatting
Placing keywords in the right location on the page, using the right format and in the right quantity is how your page gets found online. Every blog we write is formatted for on-page SEO using an app that ensures nothing is forgotten. We've extrapolated that process and have created a list of the steps for you. Once again, this is intended for a Squarespace website.
The following blog formatting recommendations will help get your article found online.
Write an H1 headline that includes a longtail keyword and answers a prospects question about your service
Start with your keyword as early in the body of the article as possible.
Add 1 or 2 images to your article. Squarespace recommends 2500 px in width and no more than 500 kb in size. Increase click-through rates by linking images to internal pages.
Add an image to the Options/ Thumbnail section.
Add at least two H2 Subheading with your keyword
Bold your keyword somewhere in the body copy.
Add internal text links to your website pages and external text links to noncompeting websites.
Add a set of two or more three H3 Subheadings under your H2 Subheadings that include your keyword
We suggest a 1.5% keyword insertion rate or nine insertions for every 600 words.
Reread the article and make sure keywords feel natural or risk penalties for keyword stuffing.
An attractive average article length is 800+ words. Articles with page one ranking in search engines tend to be over 1200 words on average.
Website visitors skim blog articles before they read them. Adding bullet points and bold text to an article highlights the core points quickly.
Include a call to action and internal links to additional articles you've published on the similar topics.
4. Meta Descriptions
The copy that resides under your website page link in search engine results is called a meta tag, meta description, or page description. We write this copy for each blog we produce. It is what distinguishes your firm from every other result on the Search engine results page.
Meta Descriptions, or Page Descriptions, as Squarespace calls them, can be up to 156 characters – and sometimes more. Google will occasionally change the characters allowed. This snippet is used to summarize a page's content. If you do not add a meta description Google may add one to your listing on search engine results pages.
Search engines show the meta description in search results when the keyword, or searched for phrase is embedded within the meta description, so optimizing meta descriptions are crucial for on-page SEO. If your description is the same on all of your pages, Google will penalize you for having a poor user experience. Even though your page titles may vary, all the pages carrying the same meta description appear to be the same when indexed by Google, because the descriptions are identical. Meta descriptions should contain the seed keyword. If the search keyword entered by a user matches the text in the meta description, Google will use that meta description and highlight it in the search results making the link to your site appear higher on SERP and more inviting.
5. Posting Blogs On Squarespace
Posting and scheduling articles on your Squarespace website is easily manageable by anyone but the process is time-consuming if you're doing it right. Expect it to take 20 to 30 minutes and like any website update, be prepared to lose some work from time to time due to a variety of web and connectivity issues. This is one of a few a good reasons to write articles in a different program and then add them to your website.
Blogging is a complex process and posting an article is more than just cutting and pasting copy. Here are the components every author should include when blogging. It is a process we've developed after considerable research and having written well over 2000 blogs for clients.
Copy and paste the H1 title with a keyword in the title section.
Copy and past the body copy onto the website's blog. Copy should be 800-words or more. The average length for blog articles found on page one search engine results is over 1200 words.
Copy and paste the page description with the keyword in the settings area.
Change the file name of your images from the settings of the camera to a file name that can substitute for an alternative tag with a keyword.
Place your thumbnail image in the design section of the settings area.
Add a properly sized image to the top of the page with an alternative tag and an internal link. Resize images following Google's best practices. We suggest 1500px at 350 kb if the image is linked to an internal page or 2500px at under 500kb if set to open in a lightbox.
Add a caption that can act as an alternative tag and set the caption to do not display in the settings.
Check the formatting of the blog for search engines using the keyword in H2 and H3 subcategories.
Use bold and italic text for important sentences that include a keyword.
Add internal links to projects, service pages, and blogs with similar topics.
Add an external link or two to third-party non-competing websites. They should open in a new window.
Add categories and tags.
If you have quote blocks and sidebar links, add them to the blog.
Include a call to action.
Why Internal Linking Is Crucial
Internal links are links within a page that take a visitor to a different and related page on a single domain. The most commonly recognizable internal link is used in a websites main navigation. Internal links are useful for four reasons:
They allow users to easily navigate a website.
They help to establish an informational hierarchy for your site.
They reduce your sites bounce rate.
They help spread link equity (ranking power) around your website.
Why You Must Properly Size Images On Your Blog
If you ever hope to get your blogs seen on mobile devices, you must keep your images small and light to reduce the overall weight of your page.
When we post blog articles for our clients we always recommend using one large image that spans the width of the article as opposed to the six or seven that are so often seen in home design blogs. This allows us to use an image that is more impressive and a bit sharper. Squarespace recommends image files that are 2500 pixels wide and less than 500KB on your Squarespace website for optimal results. We find that this is a good rule of thumb for the largest images on a site, like banner images but this is the upper end of the scale. If I am placing an image on a blog post page has a sidebar that reduces the width of the article, only using one image and setting it to link to an internal page (not open full screen), then 1500 pixels wide at 350kb is what I aim for. That was a lot of qualifiers!
This is the takeaway on image sizing
Using large, heavy images will negatively impact your website's performance on phones and tablets. Be smart about the overall weight of your page, more images mean each one should be smaller and more is not always better.
When a browser first loads a page, it downloads all of the page's content. This can seriously affect load times if your page has a large amount of content. Load time also depends on the bandwidth of the computer or device a visitor uses to view your site. Depending on the browser, some content may be cached to decrease load times on subsequent visits.
A page containing more than 1mb of content could cause noticeably slow loading on a cellular connection. For a broadband connection, 5 to 10mb on a page may increase load times to noticeable levels.
To avoid page size issues, we write blogs that include:
Optimizing your images for web display.
Spreading out content across multiple pages.
Using excerpts in blog pages with lots of content. This prevents browsers from loading everything at once and can improve load times.
Using a single image on most blog posts.
Keep your page size under 5mb. When we build websites, we use a tool to determine page size and learn which parts of the page take up the most space.
6. Images and Alt Tag
For the most part, a single appropriately sized image including an alt tag is perfect for a typical blog article. It adds a visual element that can be shared and promoted on social media while keeping your page weight low for SEO purposes. Alt text is an important element of good design. Its primary purpose is to describe images for a visitor who is unable to view them. This includes screen readers and browsers that block images but also includes users who are visually impaired or otherwise unable to view an image.
Including alt text makes for a better user experience, which can aid in your SERP ranking and offers both implicit and explicit benefits. Along with keeping to design best practices, lt text may also help improve image SEO. While search engine visual recognition has improved immensely in recent years, crawlers still can't “see” the image on a website as most visitors can. So including an alt text description can make sure that the search engines properly identify your images. Doing so will ensure that you are not ranked for unintended keywords, or miss out on ranking altogether.
7. Tags and Categories
Properly using tags and categories can help your visitors to find article topics and the information they're seeking. This keeps them engaged with your site and can reduce your bounce rate significantly.
8. Social Sharing
Taking a proactive approach and sharing blog articles on your social media channels repeatedly, for up to a year, will increase awareness of not only the article but can increase your ROI. Squarespace websites allow you to automatically push articles to your social media pages when the article is published. MissingLettr is a good tool we use for easily re-sharing articles over the course of the year after it's initial publication. Re-sharing can ensure that your article is seen when people are most receptive and interested in the topic you're writing about. It allows you to maximize the exposure of your blog articles cumulatively, over a longer timeframe.
Start Blogging the Right Way!
Consistent blogging is the best way to attract better clients provided you follow the eight steps suggested above. Business owners and marketing professionals who find that blogs are not getting the results they expected are often unsure what to write about, are pressed for time and write short articles or just don't know the above components. If your blog is not getting the return on investment you were expecting, Means-of-Production is here to help. Contact me at (603) 289-6616 to discuss your goals and to learn how we can help you get the most from your content marketing budget.
Blogging Advice From A Squarespace Designer
About Means-of-Production and Michael Conway
Means-of-Production builds writes blogs, designs Squarespace websites, and builds marketing campaigns. We provide these services to architects, interior designers, design-build firms, landscape designers and residential developers. Interested in learning more? Click here to view my calendar and schedule a call.