A core tenant of successful writing for the web is reader helpfulness. In other words, did you answer the reader’s question? But the better ask is, “Is anyone even searching for this information?” The internet is riddled with both the world’s most-asked and most unanswered questions. And then there are the answers to thoughts you can’t imagine anyone having (e.g., “what would a chair look like if your knees bent the other way“).
For your online content to be displayed prominently in the search results of popular web browsers, chief among them being Google, it must be many things but mostly helpful. On average, Google receives more than 5 billion searches daily. To be the #1 answer to any one of those queries, you have to address the inherent question or subject matter — and do so better than other content publishers’ attempts.
I’m asked some pretty basic questions about web topics fairly often. So, I decided to take the write-what-people-want-to-know principle to heart with this post. Without further ado, I give you the answers to common questions asked of me!
1. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of priming your website to appear in the top of search results served up by engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo! Basically, web users, such as you and I, turn to search engines with questions about anything and everything. And companies all over the world compete to have their website’s posts and pages appear as the #1 result of that search.
2. Is WordPress Best for SEO?
In my humble opinion, WordPress is the best for many reasons… and I have the majority of the internet’s experts ready to back me up on the subject. Firstly, WordPress was originally a blogging platform, and it’s been further developed, extended, and refined to serve as a full-fledged content management system (CMS) that’s naturally suited for SEO best-practices.
Piling on the popularity, the WordPress community is also chock-full of SEO-friendly add-ons (plugins) and themes. Some of my favorite plugins include Yoast and W3 Total Cache. When it comes to themes and page builders, I’m a fan of Elementor and themes based on it, and I trust the makers of BoldGrid and love seeing what they come up with next.
Please note: I’m not saying installing WordPress gives you a top-ranking website out of the box. You will need to put in the leg work to make the optimizations yourself, but this software gives you a fantastic head start and support for the long run.
3. Do I Need a Blog?
A blog is just a tool in the toolbelt when it comes to successful business strategies. There are plenty of successful businesses that either have a mediocre presence when it comes to web content or have no blog at all.
Your brand can have a physical presence (i.e., brick-and-mortar), a web presence (i.e., website and blog), and/or a social media presence (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). Depending on the combination you choose and the marketing tactics you employ, you may attract an online community, a network of email followers, loyal in-store patrons, or all of the above. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to industry or company size either. But there are a couple of questions you can ask to help determine whether a blog is a good fit for your particular business venture.
- How do I plan to attract potential customers? How will they find me/my brand?
- Is it important that I establish authority in my trade? If so, how will I do this?
- Do I have something to teach my customers or members of my brand community?
- Do I have time to maintain a blog and do it well?
A blog is best suited for those who either have something to teach or share with their community that will help drive revenue in some way (e.g., showing authority while recommending your products or services for a particular market) or are optimizing their blog content to capture new business. Best case scenario: You do both really well!
If you don’t have time to churn out content or wordsmithing isn’t your thing, don’t force it. Maybe shorter social media blasts are within your writing wheelhouse. Or you can take advantage of the dozens of tools that essentially templatize the email marketing game. Smaller businesses and solopreneurs might consider working the word-of-mouth marketing angle, focussing on your personal network to generate referrals.
4. How Long Should My Blog Posts Be?
Most blogging advice sites will tell you there’s a 300-word minimum for posts. But the true experts will urge you to aim for the 1,000-word threshold. It’s not as daunting as one might think, especially if you’re writing within your wheelhouse. And, since this is your business we’re talking about, it’s a safe bet you have some authority on the subject.
5. How Often Do I Need to Post?
This question rears its ugly head when it comes to social media, blog, and email content. My honest answer is “as often as you can do well — and sustain the pace.” That means, if content is your jam, and you can pump out a post per day or per week without sacrificing the quality of the pieces, their value to your audience, or your sleep and/or sanity, then do it! That’s amazing. That’s not everyone. That’s not even most people.
Most people are writing blog posts, email blasts, and social media blurbs as a means to an end: a marketing strategy or a business checkbox they’re ticking off the list. If that’s you, then focus on writing quality blog posts less often, and spend more time doing the tasks you do enjoy and do well. If that means you check in with your online audience once a month or once a quarter, so be it. Every brand is like a person; we all move at different paces and must march to the beat of our own business drums.
Ask Me A Question
There are so many other topics to cover — the good, the bad, and the boring of web marketing — so we’re just scratching the surface with the answers to these frequently asked questions. I’ll update this post as I find time to put the proverbial pen to paper on other common asks. If you have a question in my wheelhouse, I haven’t covered it yet, and you wish I would, drop me a line!