First off, we at Captivate Digital are big fans of blogging. You'll see us posting a new article each week on the blog for exactly this reason.
If you're a little skeptical of blogs or perhaps have a website of your own already, you should read this article on why you need a blog. Simply put: a blog does wonders to improve your search ranking and is an integral part to your SEO strategy.
For those that have just jumped on board the blogging train, we have some tips especially for you!
Use Self-Hosted WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com
It might be tempting to sign up for a free blog at wordpress.com, but it's well worth putting money and effort into setting up a self-hosted WordPress blog because it will give you a lot more options in the long run.
What this means is that you must sign up for a web host (e.g. GoDaddy, Bluehost, Sitegator, Site5), which will provide you with the web space on which to build your website. To start your blog, you can download the file from wordpress.org and install it on your web space.
The best thing you can do to set your site and blog up for SEO success is blog as often as possible, especially when you're first starting out. Think of it as trying to catch Google's attention. When Google sees a new site that is consistently publishing new and relevant content, it tends to reward it with higher search rankings.
Above all, you want to publish articles on your blog that are useful for readers and inspire them to share it with others. A simple call to action at the bottom of your posts that say something like "If you liked this article, please share it!" can often be the extra nudge they need to take action.
Posing a question at the end of the article can also prompt readers to leave a comment with their response. Always be sure to reply to all comments and keep the conversation going! Readers are more likely to continue to leave you comments if they know you're likely to respond to them.
Incorporate Photos and Links in Every Blog Post
As riveting as your words might be, it's an excellent idea to spice your blog posts up with other elements like photos and links. These give your readers a quick break from absorbing your writing and make your articles a lot more readable.
Try to sprinkle in photos that relate to your post topic and break up larger chunks of text. You should also try to add both internal and external links throughout your post whenever relevant: this is excellent for SEO and for getting the attention of other (bigger) sites that you link to.
One key advantage to going with a self-hosted WordPress blog rather than a WordPress.com blog is that you're able to install plugins. Plugins are add-ons to your blog that can customise it and add functionality with very little effort on your part. There are plugins for all sorts of things like blog comments, SEO, slideshows, contact forms, social sharing, security, back ups, shopping carts, and more.
Be sure to check this post we wrote about the best WordPress plugins to install!