Blogs are a brilliant way to grow your SEO, making you more visible and "findable" via Google and other search engines. They can also be a brilliant way to produce leads. Your blog can function as a kind of middleman for your sales team. Still, it can perform that function only if you effectively create drive with visitors who are likely to buy, making them into something more.

1. Turn Your Blog Into an Extension of Yourself. A visitor's first experience with your business might be through a blog page. He or she might never land on your main site's homepage, so link your blog visually as well as technically. Maintain the blog as a subdomain of your main domain versus putting it on a separate domain entirely.

2. Link to Material. Throughout a post, link specific words or phrases to other resources on your site. You can link keywords to resource pages you've built around those words, or you can link to specific landing pages where you've posted related offers, like the ability for visitors to sign up for a companion webinar.

3. Create a Brilliant Headline.  Every blog post creates a new page on your site, and every new page creates another opportunity to boost your ranking for one of your targeted keyword phrases in Google or Bing or other search engines. Your blog post title becomes your web page title, so titles matter!

4. Avoid Lengthy Posts. The top blog posts are hard-hitting and brief, focusing on a single idea. Think short paragraphs or bullet points. And don't bury the important data. Open with a declarative sentence that sets up the key idea. Framing blog posts this way not only respects your reader's busy schedule but also helps address the anxiety a lot of us feel about writing. A blog post can also be a graphic, image or video.

5. Share on Social. The more traffic you attract, the more chances you'll have for generating leads. So be sure to outfit your blog with social-sharing icons, particularly the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Doing so subtly encourages your visitors to share your content and allows you to reach your network's network, which is a key attribute of social media.

6. Turn up. Half of blogging is just being present, or just showing up on a regular basis. You don't have to blog every day, but you do have to generate a schedule that's sustainable for you. Hiring a freelancer or a staff writer or editor can help keep you on track with regular content, especially if you are a reluctant writer. But if you can't afford that, use an editorial calendar to plan a posting schedule. 

7. Consider one final thing. Essentially, a blog is an opportunity: It's a way to connect with customers in a real-time, accessible way. But your blog needs to be part of your business, and part of your lead-gen efforts. 

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