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Best practice for filling your website | Inspire Web Development

by  David Dwyer on  03/04/2017    580 Reads

Best practice for filling your website from Inspire Web Development

If you’re planning on filling your website with more content, perhaps via a blog (which we highly recommend), you may be wondering how to start.  How do you find ideas every week?  What about images?  Here are our top tips for producing your blog as effortlessly as possible.

Planning

The most important people to write for are those who aren’t yet your customers but who may need your product or service now or soon, so write for them.   Current customers will often find you’re answering questions they never thought to ask, too, which will keep them interested.

It’s a good idea to plan your blog subjects on a monthly or longer basis.  Spend an hour or so making a list or a mind-map, and top it up regularly.  This avoids that awful moment when your publication deadline is rushing closer and the screen stares back at you, as blank as your mind.  Lack of ideas is one of the main causes of writer’s block but it’s easily avoided with regular forward planning. 

It’s also helpful to decide in advance who’ll be writing each post; it doesn’t have to be the same person every time.  Even if you’re a sole-trader you can ask someone to do a guest post for you; it’s a great way to keep your posts appearing when you’re on holiday. 

Keeping your blog up to date is important, so schedule your blog writing.  Give yourself a publication deadline and stick to it.  Writing a blog shouldn’t sit at the bottom of your “to-do” list: it’s an intrinsic part of your marketing effort.

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What will you write about?

A great place to start finding ideas is with the questions your current clients ask.  If a client has asked a question it’s likely that people who aren’t yet your clients will be asking it too.  There’s no such thing as a stupid question: any question can make a good subject for a blog.

Another source of inspiration is stories about how your customers use your product or service; there’s no need to name names or include sensitive information.  Stories stay in people’s minds longer than facts.  Using your customers’ stories also provides social proof that your products or services are good and that people use them, like a testimonial but less obviously sales-y.

Company news is another excellent source of blog posts.  You can back-date an article, so past news is just as useful as current events and future plans.  News from industry journals is appropriate, too, as are the results of any market research being done by you or others in your industry.

Charities you’re involved with, seasonal events such as Christmas or an issue such as Oral Cancer could supply one or more posts.  You get the idea: once you start looking, almost anything can be inspiration for a blog.

 

Structure

Whatever subject you choose, your post needs a beginning, a middle and an end.  If your subject won’t run to more than a couple of hundred words, don’t try to make it stretch to six hundred: nobody wants to read a pile of waffle and you’ll turn your readers off.  So plan your piece before you write it. 

Ask yourself “What’s the intent?  What keywords do we want to promote?”  The headline and first paragraph are crucial to grabbing your readers’ attention, so spend more time on them than anything else and be sure to have your main keyword in both.  Your last paragraph should wrap everything up and also include your target keyword.  Keep all your paragraphs short unless you’re writing for an academic audience.

For click bait and SEO you need a catchy title, a short summary (the bit that appears under the title in the search engine results), your target keyword and up to ten others that are relevant, plus H1 and H2 text.  These are your main headings and sub-headings, which you can use to help the search engines decide whether your page is more relevant to a search query.

Images

Images definitely improve the look and appeal of blogs, grabbing attention where a block of plain text doesn’t.  They have to be relevant because it’s helpful to use your target keyword as the Alt Text name for the image: you couldn’t give the Alt Text name “blog writing” to an image of a rabbit, for example!

Don’t use more than 100 characters in the Alt Text though or you’ll be penalised for keyword stuffing, likewise for the file name keep it relevant and don’t spam.

For the file name use – (hyphen) not _ (underscore), Search Engines would interpret great_website as greatwebsite (i.e. without the space) but sees great-website as great website.

Try to keep the image file size to under 100kb too, as this will help the page load speed.

If you’re writing about news or products, imagery should be easy to find.  If you’re writing an opinion piece, it can be trickier.  You can sign up to one of the stock photo agencies, take your own photos, use software to create images, or borrow pictures from Google Images. 

It’s legally important to note that you can’t just pinch any image off Google.  To find the ones you can use freely, click on the cog symbol in the top right corner of the results page.  Choose “Advanced search”, “Usage rights” , then “Free to use or share, even commercially”, or “Free to use, share or modify, even commercially” if you want to alter it in any way.  Click on whichever is relevant and it takes you back to the page of images.  There will be far fewer than before but those are the Creative Commons ones that anyone can use.

To sum up, writing a blog isn’t difficult once you get started: it’s the “getting started” bit that some people struggle with. Having a plan really helps. Hopefully this post has de-mystified the process somewhat and you’ll soon be filling your website with posts that customers and prospects look forward to reading.   But if you still have questions we’re happy to help, so please do get in touch. 

Inspire Web Development, Local SEO, Search Engine Optimisation (Web Copy), Website Content
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