What makes a good blog exactly? What do you need to know to build a successful blog for your business and bring in more business? Here’s what you need to know!
So you may be blogging and staying consistent, but you’re not seeing a return of investment. Why is that? You just might be doing it wrong, or you’re doing it right but just not in a compelling way.
Danielle Johnson is a blogging expert that is sharing her knowledge of creating a compelling blog post. She is going to tell us exactly what the anatomy of a good blog looks like so you can know exactly what you’re not doing, or what you’re doing that’s not working.
Getting started with blogging
Danielle’s background is as a wedding photographer whose business took off when she was in college. She fell in love with the industry and decided to switch to online school and get away from the traditional college and move home.
This led to her eventually dropping out of college after her photography business soared, and this was not a part of her plan and was a big transition in her life. She went full-time into her business at 19, and then the pandemic hit.
This changed everything and she started looking for a way to make some extra money. She stumbled upon a Tik Tok about becoming a virtual assistant and this caught her eye. This is when she started general VA work, and loved the backend tasks that others don’t enjoy doing.
After working in this area for a while, she realized how much she loved blogging and got really good at running a successful blog for her clients. She started realizing that there were so many photographers out there that didn’t know how to blog, or just didn’t want to. It was a niche that was really struggling with their blogs.
This is why she started to share her tips to make things simple for other photographers, because too often the education is overwhelming on where to start in blogging. The SEO aspect can often be scary, and Danielle wanted to find a way to teach in a tangible way and feel confident in blogging.
What are some blogging mistakes?
Too often people start their blog and begin to make progress, but waste their time because it is not being done correctly. They’re not blogging with a purpose, which makes the blog pointless. You simply can’t throw things at the wall and hope they stick for your blog.
You don’t want to waste your time putting blog posts together without fully investing in it and knowing what you’re doing. It’s important to get your blog right the first time and get the results that will help you and your business.
Also, many people will not see the potential that there is in blogging. There is a misconception of what blogging is and the impact it can have on your business. It’s important to realize how much there is to gain from running a proactive and successful blog.
Running a quality blog takes energy and you may be doing it and wondering why it’s not working. Hopefully we can cover a few ways you can make changes!
Where should beginners start with their blog?
There are many ways you can get started with your blog, including purchasing a course and trying to learn in-depth on how to run a blog, potentially ending up overwhelmed and giving up. Or instead, you can dive right in and get a post up and use some time to learn and understand the terms of SEO.
Learn about keywords, meta descriptions, headings, etc. A lot of people don’t know what these terms mean and you need to take the time to learn them. Learn why they are important for your blog to run correctly.
Do your research on what SEO looks like on a blog and understand the terms that come along with it. Now, blogging and SEO is not a one-size fits all; it is an understanding that you need to create your own strategy and find what works best for you.
SEO and blogging – what to know
It’s difficult because so much goes into SEO; it’s not just blogging, but your website as well. But you just need to start somewhere. You can’t just not do anything and then expect results in your blog.
Confused on what SEO is? SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and it’s where your blog post ranks on Google. The goal of SEO strategy is to get your website to stand out at the top of search results and bring in more traffic.
When someone does a Google search, typically they will click on one of the top results. Google gives us what they see as the best results, and the goal is for your content to be up there. Where are your blog posts ranking? If it’s number 10, it may be at the bottom of the first page. If it’s 24, it may be on page 3 of search which you are aiming to stay away from.
So what can you do to rank higher on Google? There are a few things you can do with your blog:
- Quality keywords
- Headings with purpose
- Writing with strategy
All of these aspects go into a formula to tell Google what your blog post is about. Why is your blog post important? What search should it show up for? When you put a blog post together with keywords, images, and strategic writing then you are showing Google that your content is a good option for those search terms.
What to do with keywords
People hear that keywords are important and tend to give this the priority. But the keywords aren’t the end all, be all. People think that the keywords are the most important, but they are not everything your blog needs.
Keywords are what people are searching, so you want to include them in your titles, headings, and of course the text. You just need to use the keywords to tell Google what your blog post is about, so plug these into your text and watch what works and what doesn’t.
It’s a long-term gain, so it may take time to see progress on your SEO. You have to be patient and try to switch up your strategy if it’s needed.
Should you use location-specific keywords?
In Danielle’s packages, she includes different types of posts that she does for her clients. She has some posts that are short and based around resources, with broad keywords and are more general with quick tips.
Then she also offers longer posts that are location based and in-depth. For example, a post about “How to Elope at Mt. Rainier.” And she has found that the location-based posts do much better, since they have a niched audience.
When you have blog posts that are about tips and more generalized helpful content, that content may be more directed towards your current clients. The broad keyword phrases have less chance of your content being found and is more of a generalized audience.
If you are pulling in leads from blog posts that have very general keywords, then those leads may not be the right client for you. But, if you publish a blog post with very specific location-based keywords, these leads are more likely to be your ideal audience.
Broad vs. narrow blog posts
When you are building a business and finding a niche, you want to find something that is big enough to reach enough people, but also small enough to reach the right people. You want your blogs to reach more people, but not the wrong people. Then it’s not worth it!
If you are speaking to the masses, then you are speaking to no one! You have to give or take when it comes to who you are trying to attract to your business. Are you going for visibility or actual ideal potential clients? Because more visibility does not mean more clients.
But, this doesn’t mean that board blog posts aren’t worth your time, they just have different intentions. One of those is serving current clients, where they can learn more about your helpful content and provide them with extra resources. Or, you could be serving your instagram audience and bringing those followers to your blog.
Broad blog posts just have a different intention, and that’s okay! It means you are serving everyone and not just potential clients, which positions you as an expert in the industry.
Anatomy of a quality blog post
Typically a wedding photographer will tend to throw photos and a little about the couple and their love story into a blog post and then be done with it. But this is wasting your time! People are not coming to your blog post wanting to know about the couple; they don’t need to know about the love story.
If you’re posting about a Mt. Rainier elopement, the readers that are coming to your blog post are probably wanting to know about the venue, the location, how to recreate those images, etc. What are people coming to your blog post to find out? What can you provide them with?
This is what you have to answer in your text. You want to answer their questions and include that in your blog post.
SEO anatomy of a blog post
Here’s what you need to know about the SEO aspect of your blog posts!
- Your title: this tells Google as well as your readers what your blog posts are about. Include your keywords and don’t include couple’s names in the post. You can include a descriptive word, as well as location if applicable. For example, “Bohemian Summer Mt Rainier Wedding”
- Headings: Headings are a hierarchy of your titles. Heading 1 is your title and only your title. Heading 2s can be used for the main topics, with heading 3s being used as the sub-topics. The headings help tell Google what the blog post is about so you want to include keywords in your headings. Headings make a big difference to SEO, so include information in them. For example, “Mt Rainier wedding permits” or “Where to elope at Mt Rainier”. Include in your headings what you think people are searching for and the other related keyword phrases.
- Images: It is a misconception that people think alt text is for stuffing keywords. This is actually not beneficial for SEO! Alt text is actually for just describing the image for those who are visually impaired. A good practice for images though is to rename the file with your keywords. This can be done in WordPress, in your Finder on a Mac, or in a program like SpaceSaver. You should also be sure to compress files to make them optimized and not slow down your blog post.
It’s so important that you understand these terms so that you know how to best manipulate them for your blog!
Doing keyword research is a great way to find out if the keyword phrase you have in mind is a good option for ranking on Google. There are many tools out there for keyword research, but the one that Danielle uses is AHREFS. It can be difficult to use since it is very detailed, so if you are looking for a simpler platform then UberSuggest is another great option.
These tools show you the searches for your keyword phrase. How many people are searching for it? It also tells you how difficult it will be to rank for your keyword phrase. But this does NOT mean that it is an end-all, be-all.
It just gives you an idea of a potential keyword and save you the time of just using Google and trying to find what’s already out there in that area. These tools give a quick glimpse of everything and help you decide if the keyword phrase is right. It also helps you determine how small of a niche you want to go to, or how broad.
Best way to display photos on blogs
As a photographer, what is the best way for you to display your images? You can do collages or single photos. But it’s really not about how you showcase your photos that matters for SEO purposes. That is more about the visual appearance.
There are programs that you can use to put together your images for a blog post, such as Blogstomp or Narrative. Blogstomp is Danielle’s preferred program, and this is one-time purchase type of program that you download onto your computer.
Danielle typically will create some collages with 2-3 images, and keep hero images on their own. She is also sure to spread text throughout the blog post, rather than putting all of it at the beginning so the reader has to scroll through all of that first.
The text throughout helps to break up the post and mix it up between images and the text. This gives more visual stimulation and makes the blog post flow.
How to promote your blog
To appear on Google, it can take awhile! So what can you do in the meantime to appear on the search results? First of all, Instagram. Danielle typically creates an Instagram post graphic and Instagram story graphic for her clients that she uses for each new blog post.
Take advantage of the link feature on Instagram stories and use a graphic with a link to your post each time you have a new blog post up! You can include on your graphic the title with a hint about what it’s about, and maybe a photo to go along with it. In your stories you can also include a poll or a question box to help encourage engagement also.
On your feed, you can either post a graphic that you create or just an image that relates to the post with a caption that gives an enticing glimpse into your new post and gets them interested in wanting to see more.
You can also share your newest blog post with your email list, especially if your blog is a resource that you believe your current/past clients can take advantage of. If you have a Facebook business page, you can use Facebook ads to link back to your blog post.
Pinterest is another option for promoting your blog. You can create new pins or resize your Instagram graphics into a Pinterest size graphic to share on the platform. You can share these manually or with a program like Tailwind.
Basically, you want to take your blog post and push it out in every direction that you have available. You can turn this into an email, into Instagram captions, into a freebie PDF, etc.
Repurposing content into blogs
Looking for a way to spark an idea for blogs or figure out where to pull new content from? Why not repurpose it? A way to do this is to go through some of your past emails, look at past Instagram captions, look at questions that you have answered for clients.
Then, take this information and you can turn it into a blog post. You’ve probably spent more time than you’ve realized speaking with clients about helpful tips for sessions, or sharing tips on social media that you can take advantage of. Save some work for yourself and use past content to repurpose and elaborate on!
You especially can go off of content that you have seen perform well already on social media, or maybe information that your clients have found the most helpful. This will give you a great direction of where you can go with your latest blog post.
The biggest blogging advice
So once you are serious about blogging and want to create compelling blog posts and bring in more viewers, what do you need to know? What is the most important! Danielle suggests that you take the time to sit down and write out your intentions for your blog.
You don’t want to waste your time throwing things at the wall and hoping they stick. You need a goal for your blog posts. What are you trying to share? Who are you trying to serve?
Take time to think it through about who might be looking for this information and what exactly they are looking for. This is key to knowing where to go with your blog post.
A way you can go after this is to go into Google and search the topic that you are thinking about, and take a look at the related searches. This will help you see what people are already searching for and how you can turn this into a blog post!
The biggest takeaway from this post should be to set intentions in your blog. Take the time to figure out a purpose, rather than wasting your time just throwing content together. A blog is such an incredible way to drive traffic to your website and grow your business, so don’t let this opportunity pass you by!
Be sure to check out more Gold Biz Podcast episodes here!