Whether your business operates locally or online, you can use a blog to attract new customers. In fact, statistics show that companies with a regularly updated blog generate 67 percent more sales than their non-blogging counterparts. If you're thinking about starting a blog to attract customers to your business, though, you should follow these tips.

Choose a Blog-Friendly CMS

The right content management system (CMS) will allow you to create and manage blog posts from a single, convenient web-based interface, we recommend TotalCMS or for the more advanced WordPress. To publish a new post, you log in to your CMS's admin portal from your web browser. It's a far more straightforward and efficient way to manage your business's blog than manually creating new posts in a desktop program and uploading them to your site.

Most CMS feature both a code and what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) visual editor, allowing business owners with little or no knowledge of web development to create a blog. WordPress also  features post scheduling, interchangeable themes, plugins, visitor comments and more.

Customize the Design

Whether you use WordPress or any other blog-friendly CMS, you should customize your blog's design. After all, your blog represents your business's brand identity. If it features the same generic design as hundreds of other blogs, visitors will view your company as being ordinary and no different than its competitors. To make visitors remember your business, include your business's name, slogan, and logo in multiple areas of your blog's design.

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Note: We run a service called WordPress@EasthallDesign, where we can customize your WordPress blog design by modifying a new theme or we can create a totally custom layout. WordPress Themes are pre-made templates that instantly change the look, layout and, in some cases, functionality of a blog.

Plan Blog Post Topics

The fundamental purpose of a blog is to share content in the form of posts with an audience. Without substance, a blog is nothing more than a bare-bones website that won't attract customers. Therefore, you should decide what you're going to write about before creating new blog posts.

All topics should be relevant to your business and provide value to your audience. If you run a wedding planning business, you can write about how to choose a venue, wedding gift etiquette, ways to save money when planning a wedding, etc. These topics are relevant to wedding planning and answer common questions asked by couples looking to tie the knot, so they'll work well on a wedding planning business's blog.

Here are some different types of blog posts:

  • How-to guides
  • Tips and advice
  • Side-by-side comparisons
  • Common mistakes
  • Case studies
  • Roundups of relevant websites
  • Interviews
  • Behind-the-scenes look
  • New product announcements
  • Videos
  • Contests and giveaways
  • Event recaps
  • Publish New Posts Regularly

All websites need fresh content to succeed, but blogs are particularly reliant on new material. If you don't update your blog with new posts, visitors will stop reading it. So, how often should you publish new posts? There's no universal rule regarding post frequency; some blogs require more than others. Huffington Post, one of the largest blogs, distributes hundreds of new posts each day, but smaller blogs only publish fresh material every two or three days. For most businesses, at least twice a month should suffice.

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Enhance Posts With Visuals

Your blog posts shouldn't consist only of text. Images, graphics or videos not only make them look nice, but they also add value while encouraging visitor engagement. Furthermore, reports show that blog posts with images generate nearly twice the traffic as blog posts without them. Regardless of topic, try to include at least one picture for every 250 words. If you're writing a 1,000-word blog post, for example, include at least four relevant images throughout the text.

Update Existing Posts

Many business owners rarely if ever update old posts on their blog. After publishing a new post, they forget it about and move on to creating the next post. Going back to edit and update your old blog posts, however, is a smart idea. If the information contained in a post is outdated and no longer accurate or relevant, updating it allows you to correct this erroneous information.

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Add a 'Contact Us' Page

A "contact us" page is an essential component of an effective business blog. After reading your blog, some visitors may want to contact you to learn more about your business and what it offers. While you can always place your business's email address in plain text, most people won't take the time to copy and paste this address into an email application manually. With a "contact us" page, visitors can create and send you an email using an embedded form. You can even include your business's phone number along with a click-to-click button.

Add an 'About Us' Page

In addition to a contact page, your blog should also feature an "about us" page. According to MarketingProfs, this is the second most important page on business websites, surpassed only by the homepage. Use your blog's "about us" page to tell the story behind your business. You can begin by explaining how your business was started and then shift towards the characteristics that make it an industry leader. You want visitors to view your business as being the best in the market after reading the "about us" page.

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Perform SEO

To boost your blog's traffic, you should perform search engine optimization (SEO). The goal of SEO is to increase your blog's search rankings for its target keywords. As your blog's rankings increase, so will its traffic

SEO requires two primary tasks: on-page and off-page optimization. On-page optimization includes all processes performed on your blog, such as adding title tags and creating content. Off-page optimization focuses on those done on other websites, such as building backlinks.

Building a successful business blog from the ground up takes time and hard work. By applying these tips, however, you can create a content-rich, valuable blog that resonates with customers.