We are so excited to bring you a guest post this week from Beth Wand of BW Concepts. Beth specializes in planning and creating blogging content along with social media strategy and management for her clients. In this post, she will share with us some ideas about how to structure our own business blogs and why a business blog is important.

Hello! My name is Beth and I am the BW of BW Concepts. I create unique and creative content for my clients that helps build their online presence through a distinctive visual and written strategy. Is starting a business blog on your to do list but you’re just not sure where to start? It can feel like an overwhelming process! I have some ideas that can help you get your blog off the ground.

First, Why Blog?

As Hammersmith Support has shared a few times in a few ways, blogging has a huge return on investment. Not only does fresh content boost your SEO, but free content is a huge value add for clients. In addition, macro content from blogs can be diced up in to bite-sized micro content for social media posts, creating a cohesive look and sound to your business.

Where to Start?

When it comes to your business blog, creating a calendar of topics is the perfect place to start. Things to map out:

  • What are your busy times of year? When is it slow?
  • Do you offer any promotions, specials, or deals at any time? If so, when?
  • Are there any holidays that directly affect your business? Or are there any holidays that tie in nicely with your business?

Use these answers as topics, or as places to fill in topics. If your product is a big hit at Christmas, you’ll want to post more often in the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you have vacation time planned in the summer, then plan your posts accordingly. This is also a great time to identify when your slow times are and plug in topics that might entice new customers at a normally down time.

Brainstorming Topics

Once you have the topics that correspond to the calendar, brainstorm a list of topics that are more tailored to your business. If you’re stumped, answer these questions:

  • What question do your potential clients or clients always ask you?
  • What do you wish people knew about your business?
  • How did you get started? What is your business’ story?
  • What is your “why”?
  • What problem does your product solve?
  • Who are your employees and what are their stories?

Once you have answers to these questions, start looking for topics. Answer the questions your clients always ask. Tell them why you started your business and what your favorite part is about it. Take those same topics and plug them into your calendar from above.

Get Writing

Not sure where to start on a topic? Who cares! Just start writing. So many times I have a topic, but I’m not 100% sure how all of the information is going to lay out. So I start with whatever section makes sense to me. Then I build from there. Sometimes I have to pivot and rework what I’ve already written, but often I end up leaving it as is and being able to create the rest of the post from that one section.

Things to remember:

  • Break it up. Use headers to visually break up the words on the page and give context to your post.
  • Know your audience. Be sure to write your posts for the person who is reading them. If you’re explaining your product to potential clients, be sure and start from the beginning and write like no one knows what your business is. Details details details.
  • Keep posts to about 350 words. If it’s longer, you’ll likely lose readers. Too short leaves them feeling ripped off.
  • Use images and name them appropriately. Readers love a good image and using the right naming system will help with SEO.
  • Edit your work. Read, reread, and ask a friend to take a quick look for grammatical errors too.

Want to know more? Click and follow Beth on social media and on her business blog as well:

beth@bw-concepts.com

www.bw-concepts.com

@bw_concepts1

Google ranking factors

We’ve shared a lot about SEO on the Hammersmith Support blog: what it is, how to boost SEO organically, and how to use images for good SEO. Now we’re bringing you a few of the actual factors that Google uses to rank a site. As of 2019, there are 210 individual factors that Google uses to evaluate a website. Some are things we can all do for our websites, and we’ll detail those below. Others are best left to the website professionals! Here are 10(ish) of the Google Ranking Factors to consider for your business website:

Content Content Content

Content is evaluated in several ways, but we’re going to group a few topics together:

A. Freshness: how recently your website has been updated is HUGE. In fact, Google even puts the date of the most recent update in the search results. If that doesn’t tell you how much Google values fresh content, we don’t know what would. At minimum, content should be updated 1-2 times a month.

B. Update Magnitude: This goes hand in hand with freshness. Changing a few words here and there isn’t going to cut it. Making significant updates to content, like adding new testimonials, images, blogs, or multimedia, will help the most.

C. Quality: Grammar, Spelling: This one is a *little* contested. While some reports say Google doesn’t rank quality, others include quality as part of End User Experience. Bottom line, it doesn’t hurt to have good grammar.

Links

There’s a fine line between not enough links in a post and too many. The baseline is 1 internal (linking to another part of your site) and 1 external (linking to an outside website) link per post. BUT, if you have the opportunity to link to more than one internal page or external site because they’re related to the topic of your post, then there should be more than 1-2 links. Linking to reputable and authoritative sites (news outlets, educational institutions, established businesses) increases the rank as well.

Security

Obviously security is important for your end user safety and your website’s lifespan, but Google also ranks secure sites higher. All the more reason to make sure your URL has that important “s” in the http.

Page Speed

Having a website that loads quickly is usually targeted at end users to keep them from bouncing. But Google also ranks the page speed. If your site has a lot of images or other multimedia, software downloads, or is targeting buyers from around the world, using a CDN can speed up the loading process, not only making potential customers happy, but improving your rank at the same time.

Mobile Friendliness

This is one of the more recent additions to Google Rankings. Having a site that is optimized for mobile users is vital. In addition, priority is given to sites that build mobile framework first, then desktop user framework. Something to keep in mind when evaluating how your end user will likely access your website.

Keywords

Keeping your website’s keywords quality is a must. In addition, be sure that a keyword appears in the first 100 words of a page’s content. At Hammersmith Support, we utilize the Yoast SEO plugin to make sure that our meta data, keywords, and post descriptions are optimized.

Headers, Numbered Lists, Bullet Points

Big, bulky blocks of words are a no-no from an end user’s perspective and for Google Ranking as well. Be sure to break up content and organize it so that readers – and web crawlers – can scan the information easily.

Site Architecture

A well-designed / organized website makes it easier to be evaluated by Google, resulting in a higher ranking. Being able to quickly and easily index site pages is a must. This includes a well-designed site map.

Usability

This is another factor that initially appears to be relevant for the end user, but doubles by impacting rankings as well. An easy-to-navigate site will keep users longer and reduce the bounce rate. This low bounce rate and satisfied user translates into higher rankings.

Image Optimization

We’ve shared how ensuring that your image information is on point is a great way to organically boost a website’s SEO. The same is true for ranking. Making sure that image captions are accurate and informative, while the “behind the curtain” items like title, Alt Text, and description are all completed as well are all considered for rankings. Be sure not to have spammy Alt Text or descriptions. They may work for a short time but will hurt the rank in the long run.

Hungry for more? Click over to the Hammersmith Support Blog for more topics about SEO. 

This is a topic that has plagued all small business owners at one time or another; how do I use social media for my business? Which platform? What’s appropriate? We sat down with Ashley Richards of E Squared Marketing to get the scoop on business and social media.

How Do I Decide Which Social Media Platforms to Use for My Business?

This is a question we get often and it all depends on your business and where your ideal audience is. However, we always recommend you have a presence and business page on the most popular and active social media platforms which include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The other social media platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest will be variables depending on your end goal and campaigns you are trying to promote to evaluate if it makes sense to use them. A bonus tip for you – if you have a social media profile on specific platforms, be sure to keep it active and relevant. No one wants to see that your last post was from November 2016.

Facebook and Instagram Stories…Do We Really Need Them for Our Business?

Stories are a large component of these platforms, and we highly recommend using them often. A few tips for stories: Every post you add to your feed, you should add to stories to let your audience know you have a new post. Use gifs, stickers, polling, and fun hashtags to liven it up. If you have content that is not grid-worthy, stories are also another great place to showcase it. Behind the scenes, sneak peaks, consumer polling, and tagging other business partners and clients is a great way to use this feature as well. It helps keep the ‘social’ in social media, driving more attention and engagement to your pages.

So Should We Use the Same #’s for Stories as for Our Static Posts?

No, we always recommend adding 1, maybe 2 relevant hashtags to your story that go well with the image/video you are posting, but we always recommend using the tagging feature over anything else. This allows your brand to tag another brand/individual and the ease of sharing is incredible, giving you more exposure from that original story.

Do I Need to Separate My Personal Page From My Business Page?

Personal Vs Business Pages very much depend on your business and the model you are after. Current trends on social media are all about personal, raw, and authentic, so letting a little personal slide into your business is never a bad thing. A Happy Holidays from your family is a great example, where it is still business driven but has that personal side as well. All pages should be set up as a business, so you can take advantage of all the tools available to you on social media that are available with that type of page.

LinkedIn: Publish an Article or Link to a Blog on My Website?

One tip we give to our clients is to think—what if your social media page went away? What if that platform you rely on for business suddenly shut down? It is a scary way to think, however it helps our clients realize to never put your eggs all in one basket. Our goal is to get followers on all of your platforms and your web page to gain more brand recognition and trust in you as a business. With that said, we recommend sharing a link with a teaser in the caption to encourage followers to click to read more.

Does TikTok Have a Place in Business Marketing?

It can, but it really depends on that target audience again. As of January 2020, 60% of TikTok users are between ages 13 and 24, and 60% are women. Advertising is fairly new on this ever-growing platform, so they recommend adding content and staying extremely active to gain an organic following before investing money for ads. They did roll out a TikTok Creator Marketplace that is great for connecting with influencers on the platform to start a discussion about developing a campaign together. This will cost you and that price varies from person to person, but it’s a great way to expand your reach on the platform if you want to utilize it for business.

Is Twitter Dead?

No Way! Just a relevant platform for certain industries to capitalize on. Business types that generally do well on Twitter include politics, sports, and entertainment (including celebrities). It is a great conversation platform where you can jump in, make recommendations, sprinkle some humor, and also drop facts and tips. Most of our clients use the platform to share content but are utilizing ad dollars on other platforms since they don’t fall into the categories above.

Any Tips on How to Increase Organic Reach?

As the algorithms change on all platforms, so does the opportunity to reach your audience organically. There are several factors and things we recommend to increase your organic reach. Some of our favorites are:

  1. Post Consistently & Authentically – share content and tips, don’t just try to sell.
  2. Ask Questions/Utilize Polling – use the feature on your page to engage your audience to get involved.
  3. Tag Friends & Businesses – Tagging businesses and individuals helps get your post found and increases your engagement even more if that friend or business shares your post. Keeping that “social” in social media.”

About Ashley and E Squared Marketing

Ashley Richards

We’re a dedicated team of marketing professionals who take your business’ goals and knock them out of the park. We bring a personal touch to everything we do – And we’re just as committed to having fun as we are to flawlessly executing results-driven marketing strategy.

In 2017, Ashley launched E Squared Marketing to provide creative digital solutions and heightened value to small to medium-sized businesses. Whatever your needs, Ashley provides a fresh perspective and creative yet pragmatic leadership to lead your business to success. Ashley is a graduate of the University of Phoenix and when she’s not working, you can find this Arizona native enjoying hikes with her husband of 7 years, Brandon, and their two adorable children, Ellie and Eli.

Website: www.esquaredmarketing.com

Instagram: @esquaredmarketing

Facebook: E Squared Marketing

Want to read more interviews from women in business? Click over to our blog for industry topics and insights.