What is the potential for blogging to generate more traffic to websites?
Hi! I am curious about adding a blog to my freelancing website in order to promote myself as a graphic designer. What do larger business sites blog about other than company news or reports? As for my own business blog, should I only blog about new projects I am doing? I have been including any creative projects I have embarked on recently, including interior design and jewelry design. Is this smart?
I don't want the blog to be too personal, although I am only promoting myself as a designer and not a business. I'm interested in adding a blog and I am curious about what is acceptable blogging material and how does it influence sales. And I am very interested in how corporations are capitalizing on blogging and what exactly they see as relevant material to blog about that is more interesting than quarterly reports. I hope I'm not coming off as short sided, I am just curious about blogging content in general. Thanks!
Social networks are used by more than two-thirds of the country, and the way content spreads virally to others, social media is the perfect channel to promote a brand to new people.
That being said, you should determine whom your audience is what type of content resonates with them. Don't just write about your business and your projects. You will turn people off right away. Its a huge mistake. Think like a publisher. Publishers write content with their audience in mind. If you're clients consist of small business, write blog posts on how graphic design/branding can help small businesses grow. Talk about logos, fonts, brand guidelines, etc. Position yourself as an expert and you will organically build a following while building your business.
Btw I just wrote my first blog about my process and what a client should expect when working with me and what I think is important in the process. Without all of your suggestions, I would never have thought to blog about that. I was initially just showing the diversity of my projects, from jewelry design, to interior design to landscape design. I was initially trying to show my versatility and who I am as a designer. I will still incorporate various designs projects I'm working on and sprinkle in blogs that explain design and where I stand within that discipline.
Thanks to everyone for all the advice. It's already coming in handy.
Hi Liz -
You don't be doing anything wrong by blogging. What you are doing correct off the bat here is strategizing, and your blog will be much different than a corporate blog.
First, let me give you the harsh reality of it. Corporations starting a blog have hundreds and thousands of contacts they can drive to it right away. They can get theirs growing much, much faster.
You are a freelancer and it's just you, perhaps a few business contacts. It takes a long time to get real results from blogging - often more than a year.
Don't want you to scare off, but do want you to know the realities of what you're getting into.
Don't waste your time reading books - that takes too long to get started.
What you should blog about is what you do, why it works, and how it works. You'll get more ideas - research other people's blogs who do the same thing you do. Projects are a good thing to talk about from time to time.
Tell people about "11 Tips to Pick the Perfect Logo for Your Website" and so on.
You could also blog about questions people commonly ask you. More topics will become clear as you get experience.
Don't talk about only your projects - because people want valuable information like the above example post moreso. Projects show you can actually execute what you're talking about.
A good blog about successful blogging is http://www.quicksprout.com There are many others out there too.
Blog as frequently as you can without making it too much work. 1 post per week or so is good, but 2 per month will do.
It will help you get business and it's a great thing to do, but it does take time.
Hi @Liz , blogging for promoting our business is always a great idea, it just needs to be something regular , day by day, week by week.
- Blogging offers more business opportunities but needs to be combined with social activity, otherwise is waisted time.
-i think on a blog to promote business you should post about new projects and you too, because people are curious about blogs authors and need to trust bloggers as person before business people, in order to make grow our business.
- your professional design choice are really cool and offer great chance to blog around them.
- selling items by a blog is possible , as i could see with my experience, and i can sell my services and other companies products who make me earning by commissions.
- Nowaday , every company, the biggest to has a corporative blog because it generate more interests than a normal website , with fresh news, inspiration and a more confidential way to approach with potential and old customers.
- as fashion blogger i can obtain by my blog more than a simple website , and it works for evey kind of blogger.
The most important thing you can do is make sure you are branding you. Your blog is like the hub of a wheel and coming off of that are your social media account. You want to make sure you have a great opt in on the account and give the whole pizza, not just samples for your give-a-way. Your point is to brand yourself as the go to expert in your particular niche. Make sure that you know who your ideal customer is as well and then you better know how to write that blog.
Blogging is one of the best content marketing strategies available to the small business owner or independent contractor. It gives you the ability to showcase your expertise and tackle the challenges of your industry or occupation on your terms. That said, blogging does have some guidelines associated with it.
The key thing to remember is, "who do you want to attract'? Blogs have a way of attracting people who identify with your perspective so if you are trying to build an audience of particular professionals, learn who they are, what they want, and what issues they have.
Great blog posts focus on the reader, not the writer. By writing about things that are interesting to me, I become interested in you. It's OK to have an opinion but it helps to be able to back it up with a plausible argument.
The purpose of blogging is to speak to your audience and have them follow your posts. If they like what you write about (translation- how you think) they will check you out on your web page.
Once you clearly identify who you are writing for, visit their industry association websites, forums, or LinkedIn groups and watch the conversations. Get a handle on their problems, issues and challenges. Use your industry expertise to help them solve their problems. This is how you build expertise, visibility and above all, credibility.
Here's a few short articles to help you fine tune your blog writing strategy:
Dear Liz, I don’t know if any of the respondents have actually visited you site (I have). I have no axe to grind and provide unbiased marketing advice without fear or favour. So please accept my comments in the spirit they are given.
There is a lot of hype surrounding the relevance of a blog; it is reflected in every response to your question so far. The idea or incorporating a blog on your web site is something that could be worth considered after you have created a website with content focussed on topics anyone searching on-line for a graphic designer would find engaging and of value. Forget a blog; get some good advice on web structure and content. Remove every “I” (every statement on you home page is about you not the people you want to attract), ditch your CV and replace most of your portfolio imagery with two or three persuasive case studies. Your web content (in its current form) serves little purpose and would be better if relocated a personal page on social media. Back to the drawing board Liz, I fear!
If you're just starting out with a blog, you want to focus on it being keyword driven to increase traffic, so that your blog shows up in the ranks when someone types in a longtail keyword ie "graphic designer maryland". I leverage one KW per post, in the content and the backend - tags , descriptions, etc.
I'd keep the jewelry separate and link to it somewhere. I wouldn't be as inclined to hire a graphic designer who was also promoting jewelry on the same page. Be exclusive but the fact that you do it makes you interesting and maybe more likable to some people which is great.
The blogs should be timely, relevant, and provoke emotion - humor, happiness, etc in your brand's voice. Hope this helps and if you have any questions feel free to contact me!
Hi Liz, my blog has been the number one reason many of my clients have bought coaching products from me. They reported reading my blog and feeling very connected to what I teach. So it's been invaluable to me. Of course there are SEO benefits too. However as a sales tool, it has really been a stand out for me :-)
My daughter has used blogging in an attempt to remain at home with her baby son and has built some success already. She blogs anonymously but has been able to attract PR companies to her to review products and books. So I would say that committing time and effort to it will reap rewards regardless of your field of operation.
I see "graphic designer" in your skill set.
By creating interesting graphics and using them in a blog, you set yourself apart.
Infographics would be a good way to go.
Do a little research and you will find well made infographics are a plus as they are linked to and shared.
This may mean you will not "blog" as often..
By doing so you will show your character and expertise one blog at a time.
You could write about graphics but it would not be as nearly as fun.
Here are statistics that shows why design is so important:
You save the day with design.
You are going to use the "power of story" to tell your story and get the word out there about your expertise, how you help clients, and the results you get. This is sometimes called "Content Marketing" -- see ContentMarketingInstitute.com
Proceed with your ideal client in mind and write for them. Every post gets indexed as both another way to find you, and a signal to Google that you have good quality content posted and updated regularly.
Possible topic strategies:
1) You write about your expert views of how to make sites stronger. You could critique some sites. Show what you did before and after, etc. This sets you up as an expert business advisor.
2) You write about the results your designs get for clients. Does it change the perception of their brand for the better? Have they received more leads?
3) Don't be afraid to humanize yourself a bit -- you can talk briefly about your family, pets, etc. in secondary paragraphs. This helps people get to know you before they even contact you and creates an "emotional handshake".
Cheers and much success.
It's important for you to understand that Bloggers are no different than traditional writers and journalists - albeit in a much more egalitarian world. you have to write something that people want to read.. something that they can benefit from -- something that provides information that they need or entertainment that they will enjoy. You don't blog to generate web site traffic (although that certainly can be an added benefit if you apply forward and back link properly). Successful blogs have something to say that is meaningful to their audience. Without compelling content, your blog will quickly fall on deaf ears -- yours! Good luck!
Hi Liz. I think that blogging can really benefit a business. When I was in marketing we learned that consumers really trust bloggers. That being said, if you simply blog to promote your services, that will defeat the purpose of the blog. It's actually a good idea to get a little personal with your blog, and share challenges, wins, concerns, ideas, etc. I have a friend who owns and operates a destination wedding planning business. She is an avid blogger, and has seen significant business growth through her blog, that includes beautiful photo's of some of the weddings she has done. For my blog, I plan to write about nutrition, food, and personal wellness tips and stories. Good luck!
Blogs are indeed great SEO tools for generating website traffic. To many companies discuss only what they are doing and typically just talk about themselves because they believe this is what a blog is for. This is great and all... however wheres the value to the reader?
Your blog must not just discuss what you are doing but give value to the reader. Start thinking about how can you educate your reader in the process. What is the value to learning about the site you had just built? Other then telling the world about the new biz you landed how can you educate the reader?
Is it discussing the custom complex search filtering tool that was built? Is it discussing the process and flow of planning and developing their custom website the differentiates them?
Google algorithms are so advanced these days that your content shouldn't be just SEO keyword heavy either. In fact if Google bots read your content as being dumbed down by mundane keywords they will knock your SEO score down. Content must give value to the reader and keywords must be peppered through organically.
Unique, well written, engaging content drives organic SEO.
Liz - Who is your PTA (Primary Target Audience)? Are you currently selling on a national? regional? or local scale? Are you a solopreneur or a micro-enterprise (1-10 employees)? Are you located in a marketplace that has enough of your PTA to generate the revenues you need to create a "sustainable business"?
If you look closely the folks who are recommending that you create a blog are people who sell blogging. It's like asking a room full of radio reps whether advertising on the radio would work well for you. You can guess that answer. And I'll bet you none of them would tell you it's a bad idea even though your selling a visual product.
Blogs are a media just like radio, TV, magazines, or advertising in movie theaters. The media delivers messages to audiences. To develop an effective approach to marketing you must find the media that is capable of getting your message in front of your selected audience.
I once knew a graphic designer who wanted to break into doing work for Kodak. He bought a billboard on a rooftop right across the street from Kodak's corporate offices. He created an opportunity to show his work, get their attention and it paid off handsomely. I doubt any of them would have read his blog.
According to latest tendencies and statistics, in order to actually draw traffic and stir interest, blog content needs to focus on the audience, not on the company.
Adding the blog is a great idea, but, in order for it to pay out, the posts should educate your target audience, answer their questions.
No one cares about the projects you work on before actually considering to hire you, so it is better to blog about what working with a graphic designer involves, what can be expected from one, what are the mistakes designers usually make, how to deal with them in order to obtain the best results, tips on how they can save money or make the most out of the collaboration with a graphic designer, etc.
Just put yourself in your readers' shoes and write things that would interest you and that, maybe, other graphic designers would not disclose. They should be at least 300 words long, include at least 3-5 keywords, bullets lists and subheadings, and be posted at intervals no longer than 3 days, preferably on a daily basis.
Absolutely! I've proven it. Blogging at least 3x a week in combination with social media gets results.
I have these videos which explain how it all works together and what to blog about.
What is Inbound Marketing: http://youtu.be/5qoHtUVLhjc
What is Content Marketing: http://youtu.be/kJMzeepcIR8
Understanding the Social Media Networks: http://youtu.be/Hi8DUJoINk0
AZ Social Media Wiz
Blogging is hands down one of the best ways to drive traffic but you have to use some SEO elements and you have to leverage the posts once written. You also want them to be media rich and well formatted so you hold a readers attention.