• Quick Summary: Whether you just want to test the waters with blogging, looking to drastically turn your professional life into another direction, or just hoping to make some many on the side while helping others with your knowledge, blogging is still a great way to reach people online. In this article I'm going to dive into what it takes to create a thriving blog that adds value to your business. This article is specifically meant for people looking to build a website for the business their just getting started with and add a blog to it. Not having blogging be their sole preoccupation from the get-go.

  • When shouldn't you want to start a blog?

    When you want to start a blog with hopes of earning so-called "passive income" you're in for a rough ride. I would never recommend anyone to try and make money with a blog alone. And especially if the core incentive of blogging is a finanicial one, you're better off doing spending you're valuable time somewhere else.

    What's the reason of having a blog?

    I would argue that the core reason you should want to start a blog is because you have an existing business, for which you would like to create brand awareness. That's nothing but a fancy term of saying you want to sell your services to more people than you're currently reaching without blogging.

    Using a blog as a marketing tool for your current business

    Blogging is an excellent tool that can be used as a natural extension of your current business' acquisition activities. Let's say your in the weight loss field and you're specialty is child obesity. You're probably rehashing the same content over and over again. Only you do this in the face of the client. Why not commit what say anyway to paper and put it only. You know it's relevant information because you already use it in your current business, for which you're being paid (I presume).

    What makes a succesful blog?

    There are a couple of key elements that make blogging succesful. One of them I already mentioned and that it that it serves as a brand awareness online marketing acquisition mechanism for a business with which you're already making money (or at least trying). In the following paragraphs I go into a coupl of other successfactors of blogging.

    1. Think about competition

    The weight loss industry as a whole is a lot more competitive than weight loss for children. They have varying levels of competition in terms of the amount of other business vying for the same kind of attention. That being the number of people searching weight loss topics with the help of search engines.

    The biggest mistake you see people making is that they go far too wide when choosing the specific niche they want to create blogs for. Compare that with our business. The only reason we ever made money with WordPress themes is not because we have the best product in the world. It is because we we're able to reach people who we're looking for a WordPress theme specifically for their type of business. And when we made this "money connection" we covered over 200 different business types achieving great financial success.

    When you're just starting out, finding those topics that have the right amount of competion can be difficult. It isn't an art set in stone. But there are only so many topics that are relevant to your business. Taking a look in Google and just seeing what you're up against on the first page is a perfectly legitimate way of gauging the competition.

    2. Create content relevant for your target audience

    This seems like kicking in open doors but it's not. I often talk about website needing to have a singular goal and everything pointing towards that goal. The same goes for a blog. If it's part of an existing business website, that website should have a goal, and the blogs you write should serve to reach that goal.

    If you make a living in the weight loss industry, people should want to be inclined to hire you with each article they read. That's the reason why a lot of blogs have an informational character, answering a certain question that people have. It's called "educational marketing".

    When Google shows a certain entry in the search results page, Google deems that site being able to offer the most relevant information with respect the key phrase used to bring up that search results page. Google is nothing else but a middlemen between question and answers, albeit a very powerful one.

    So naturally the biggest thing with relevance is being able to answer the question: "who's your target audience?". If you're unable to answer this question very specifically, or you can answer it but it's way to wide (think "men" or "women") you will get into trouble with the financial aspect. Knowing who you're writing for is so incredibly important. For example the target audience for this article is people who run an existing business and are thinking about using a blog as an online marketing tool to enhance their lead generation strength.

    3. Blogs should have the ability to make you money

    Blogging for blogging-sake is nice, but won't pay the bills. A core reason of writing a blog is that in some way the reader could end up becoming your client or paying you for a service you offer. One of the biggest mistakes starting bloggers make is that they talk about themselves, their latest product, how good they are etc. But a blog should not be about you, but about your audience. An exception could be that your story is one people can relate to really well, but you don't necessarily have to have had a history of being overweight yourself when promoting yourself as a weightloss expert.

    Think again about your website's singular goal. Are you able to end each blog with a call-to-action people can take towards that goal. A newsletter signup, a product sale, an appointment booking, a consultant inquiry, a quote request and the like. If not, rewrite your blog so you can.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of businesses are operated locally. It's great that when you operate a fitness gym, you reach people interested with your latest "how to create a six-pack" blog, but if they don't live in the vicinity of your gym and you are looking to sell more memberships, you might have a lot of people on your site, but not many online membership sales because of the region aspect coming into play. That's where posting that content via social media is a very viable option, because with platforms like Facebook you have the ability to target locally.

    4. Blogs should have an audience in the first place

    If you write blogs there should be people interested to read it. If you're so incredibly niche that there are only a handful of enthusiasts on the globe interested, you'll quickly run out of steam and will never get the traction you're looking for.

    The same goes for running a business in general; if there's no one interested in your product or services, your doomed to fail from the start. And since your blog is a tool for that business, the same applies to blogs. Nobody interested in them, call it quits.

    If you already run a business you might have an indication of the amount of people interested in your services and the size of the entire market. However, the bigger the market, the bigger the competion so it's not always a good indication that you can actually make money targeting the big crowds.

    Our most successful products have always been products that we deem "not sexy" and extremely niche-like. WordPress themes like the " credit repair", " homeowners association", " property management", " it consulting" and " tree service" have always trumped themes like " beauty salon", " hairdresser", " fitness gym" and " resort" with respect to amount of sales. They proved to be the perfect mix of (very) low competition, business specific niches with tiny markets that overall, brought in the sales.

    You can't write about blogging and not talk about Search Engine Optimization or SEO. This article is not the right place to talk in-depth about SEO. Also there are a lot of other sites and articles that do a much greater job than I ever can discussing this subject. Let's touch on the subject and show you a couple of great resources you can look at at your own convenience.

    1. SEO in a nutshell

    If you want to be found in Google, you need to optimize your content to be able to do so. I think that the biggest thing I can add to the overall topic of SEO is that the greatest focus you should have when trying to rank is keyword research. Keyword research is the analysis that brings up the relevant words, mostly phrases, that people use in the search engines.

    According to the article " 63 Fascinating Google Search Statistics" Google receives on average 63.000 search requests... per second. In turn Google displays a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The SERP is divided into paid and organic results. When you blog, you're trying to gain traffic by being in the organic search results. On top of these results can currently be a maximum of paid results.

    When you rank for a SERP it means that the specific page you'll navigate towards when clicking the result is deemed "most relevant" in the eyes of Google. By optimizing your content for a specific key phrase you'll increase your chances of ranking higher in the SERP when people use either that exact key phrase or a close match.

    2. The importance of keywords

    No you should understand why it is of tremendous importance that when you optimize content, you know exactly what to optimize for. It's a bit like knowing who your target audience is. A key phrase, or multiple phrases, represent your target audience. If somebody types in "how to loose 20 pounds as a female" and your a weightloss expert for females, the person typing in that key phrase belongs to your target audience and you want to rank as high as possible for that page.

    Let me emphasize that knowing what exact key phrases you want to rank for is much, much, much more important than how exactly optimizing content works. The key phrase, representing your target audience you're trying to reach, is the goal. The page your optimizing is the means. Optimizing a page is NOT A GOAL. The reason I state this so vehemently is because 95% of SEO content you're going to read when you delve into this subject talks about the mechanics, and features, and tricks of optimzing content. They talk about a lot of technical stuff that might have the negative effect of sidetracking you from the goal: who's your audience, what type of key phrases to they use, is a particular key phrase relevant for your business, does it represent a certain monetary value for your business and can you create an optimized piece of content around it?

    3. Keyword research training videos

    If you're looking for a great entry-level repository of SEO video tutorials I would recommend Market Samurai's Training Videos. Especially the following:

    - Keyword Research: Introduction to Keyword Research
    - Keyword Research: Golden Rule #1 - How to Find Relevant Keywords
    - Keyword Research: Golden Rule #2 - How to Find High Traffic Keywords
    - Keyword Research: Golden Rule #3 - How to Assess Market Competition
    - Keyword Research: Golden Rule #4 - How to Assess Commerciality

    Although I've consulted a great many resources with the topic of SEO and now have years of experience in the field with great financial success, I still feel there isn't a greater resource in the world that covers the most important aspect of SEO.

    4. Using Google autocomplete for inspiration

    When you feel a bit short on inspiration of what to write about, Google autocomplete is a great way to add relevancy to your topic. When using the search engine and based on its immense wealth of user data, Google tries to guess what you want to search for and "autocompletes" this to you. And Google's usually right.

    With this handy little feature you can glean data from Google about what other user's have typed in in the past. That way you can expand your knowledge about what your target audience finds relevant. When you're creating your list of possible topics / key phrases to target, you can greatly enhance it and deepen the relevance by using Google autocomplete.

    For more information please visit: " Google Autocomplete: A Complete SEO Guide".

    5. Using Google "people also ask" for inspiration

    An even better tool is the " People Also Ask" section you find in the SERP. Though not always visible (your key phrase needs to be a question), this small section underneath the first result on the page denotes variants of the key phrase people type in.

    For instance when I type in: "What's WordPress?" after 2 initial search results Google also has a small section with a couple of questions that also lead to web pages:

    - What is the use of WordPress?
    - What is the difference between WordPress and website?
    - Is WordPress completely free?
    - What are the benefits of using WordPress?

    Clicking one of the questions reveals the answer in a tiny snippet and a link to go to the full page. You'll also get a couple of extra new results that further drill down on the question you clicked. This way you can create an entire FAQ section of questions you know for sure will be relevant to create content about. That's because you're being fed this content by Google, the exact same search engine you're trying to rank for.

    Using WordPress for your blog

    For those already familiar with WordPress, they we're probably wondering when I would discuss it; being the foremost blogging tool in the world, powering over 30 percent of all websites on the planet. I have a separate article dedicated to WordPress called " How To Effectively Use WordPress To Power Your Business Website". The title is self-explanatory.

    Ready to start your own blog?

    I hope I've given you a better understanding of what's important when starting a blog and a number of pointers in the right direction. If you want to focus your efforts on creating content without any of technical headaches that might come with it, you're at the right place. With any of our themes you can create a beautiful website for your business. They either ship with a pre-made blog section, or one can be easily added. And we're also a full-service hosting company, meaning that for a very small premium, we can also host the website for your. A domain and backup is included on one of our secure servers. Just pick one of the relevant business categories in the sidebar and you'll be up and running in no time.

  • About the Author

    Johan van Seijen

    Co-founder

    Johan van Seijen is co-founder of Nexus Themes and our lead designer. After gaining a Master's Degree in Information Science he decided to try his luck in the illustration industry, working for clients as Avantgarde, Cosmopolitan and Glamour. With the return to the software industry grew the desire to create something to be truly proud of and which could spearhead his ambition of having his own company. And this company is what followed. He lives with his wife and daughter in Amsterdam.