A blog is an essential tool to give your audience added value.

Whether you want to share your passion and knowledge in a blog, or you already have an established business with a lovely-looking website – a blog is a great way to talk to your audience and add value.

The main purpose of a blog is to drive traffic to your website. Everyone wants more visitors because ultimately that leads to more conversions.

You may think that your website is already awesome – surely something that good should be found easily, right? Well if your website isn’t regularly updated, Google may think that there’s not much going on. With a blog, you have more pages indexed and more chances to be found in search engines. Your website will be active with regular updates which means you are giving consistent and relevant content to your audience.

Organic search is another big time perk of the old blog. This is the sort of search you don’t have to spend money on – what could be sweeter? If you are getting your blog right, you will be rewarded with more website visitors and higher visibility in the searches.

It’s also a great opportunity to be found for long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are three to four-word phrases that are very specific. But they are perfect for speech related searches like: “How do you know if you have a good blog?”.

What should I write about in my blog?

The first rule of the blog is to always think about your customer or audience. What do they want to know more about? What will help them and educate them? The aim of having a blog may be to increase visitors to your site, which may ultimately lead to an increase in revenue if you convert those visitors – but when it comes to writing a blog you should forget about money.

My first rule of blogging is never mention what you or your company can provide in those posts. It’s not all about sales – but added value for your customers. All you need to focus on is your customers or audience. If you are delivering the content that they want, then they are more likely to become a paying customer further down the line.

You may be feeling a little puzzled now. You’ve got that potential customer to your website to read your fantastic blog post. You haven’t mentioned your company or what you can provide for them – how are they ever going to become a customer? Well, there’s one simple rule: always have a call to action at the end of every blog post.

When a visitor reads your blog post and enjoys it, they might like to hear more from you. Your call to action may offer a free ebook or a sign-up for an email newsletter. This is the gold stuff. They have expressed an interest in what you have to say and you now have their email address to which you can happily market to – happy days!

Sharing Your Passion

You may be a brilliant writer and have plenty to say, but shaping your blog is so much more than just words. You will soon find yourself becoming a bit of a website-design-diva, obsessing over widgets and plugins, and watching your Twitter followers grow is better than seeing your own child grow!

I’ve been writing Mean Mother Cooker, a healthy family recipe blog, for six years now whilst looking after my three young children. The development of Mean Mother Cooker has been a slow burn, and I’d like to share with you what I’ve learnt along the way.

I started writing Mean Mother Cooker on my iPad or iPhone – which at times was a little tricky!

I take all the pictures on my iPad and do all the graphic design on my iPad too. You can read my guide to How to take fantastic pictures for your food blog here, which proves you don’t need a photographic studio to have a great-looking blog!

But blogging isn’t just all about your favourite subject, it’s about becoming a shrewd digital marketer too!

What first?

You have to pick a platform for your blog. Mean Mother Cooker is hosted by Blogger – a great free platform. But there are limitations, as there are with other free platforms, but blogger is a great start. I pay $10 a year for my custom domain name, but you don’t even have to do that. You can start with a free Blogspot domain.

Sometimes I wish I’d started in WordPress to make my life a little easier. I’ve had to become an expert HTML hacker on the Blogger platform. You don’t get a lot of widgets or functionality on there – but you can make changes if you have the know-how.

Because I write a recipe blog, I wanted a recipe box format – but blogger doesn’t offer any lovely-looking recipe plugins like WordPress – so I had to develop my own in HTML. Which is a big pain. Every time I want to write a new recipe, I have to write it HTML – which is clunky and unreliable too.

Now that I write all my recipes in HTML, I have to work on my laptop – I can’t do this sort of work on my iPad.

Design it!

Once you’ve got your site set up, you have to mess around with the design. Take inspiration from your favourite websites. What colour palette does your blog need? Try these great websites to pick your colours.

www.paletton.com – allows you to play around with colours to find your scheme. It will even show you examples of how your scheme will look on a web page.

coolors.co – this one is a bit more random – which is what you need sometimes! It’s a super fast colour palette generator that allows you to share, export or save to your Colors profile.

materialpalette.com – lets you pick two colours and then generates a design palette for you to download. I like this one!

design-seeds.com – I think this site is my favourite for palette ideas. Inspired by nature, Design Seeds uses photos to bring a collection of colours together. Just beautiful!

Picture This!

Readers have a short attention span – but pictures will keep them interested. If you are not a designer – don’t worry. You need to explore Canva.

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You can do so much in Canva – it will help illustrate your blog with meaningful pictures and graphics.

If you want to learn more about how to leverage the power of content to grow your business, sign up for the free SOS Power Content Email Course.