Whether you’re just starting a blog for the very first time, or you’ve decided to get serious about your current blog, there are a few tried-and-true “rules for success” when it comes to blogging for business as a creative entrepreneur.
But before I share the rules with you, it’s important to decide how you want to use your blog to build your business. Are you using it to build authority? Do you want to attract a bigger audience? Or maybe you want to use it to establish your personal brand and connect with potential clients?
While you’ll probably end up accomplishing multiple goals with your blog, it’s important to determine the main objective you want to focus on, because it will guide you in making decisions as you get started. Once you know what you want to accomplish with your blog, you’ll have a better idea of the best types of posts to write, how you’ll measure success, and more.
Get started right by setting a primary objective now, and then dive into my six rules for success!
How to build a successful blog for your business
1. You need a Pinterest game plan in place
I saw my own my blog traffic increase significantly when I started using Pinterest with a purpose. For that reason, I always recommend new bloggers make Pinterest a primary focus when it comes to blog promotion.
Many bloggers make the mistake of pinning a blog image immediately after they publish a new post, and then they wait around wondering when the traffic will start rolling in. While the power of Pinterest can be magical for your business, how it happens isn’t actually magic. There is a method to successfully using Pinterest as a promotional tool for your blog. To get started you need:
- A Pinterest account, sign up for one here (if you haven’t already)
- Create your game plan with these tips
- Use a tool like Tailwind or BoardBooster to implement your game plan
Blogging is enough work all on its own without having to worry about the promotional side of things. Follow the steps above and let power of Pinterest work for you.
2. Categories and share buttons are must-haves
Choose three main categories for your blog posts. These should be fairly broad, somewhat related, overarching themes that will allow you to categorize your individual blog topics. For example, my categories are graphic design, web design and general business tips. Your categories should relate to your business offerings and the goals you have for your blog.
Next, install share buttons. Do this now. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
I know I don’t usually tell you that you have to do something. But this is a mistake I see SO many bloggers making, so I simply can’t let you make it too.
Share buttons are a big deal. Think about it, say you’re reading a great post that you want to share on Twitter, but the blogger doesn’t have share buttons on their site. This means you’d have to copy and paste the URL manually into your tweet if you want to share it — a major pain for the average reader. And this means the average reader isn’t going to share your content — a major missed opportunity to gain free exposure and build raving fans.
Do yourself a favor: decide on your categories and install share buttons before doing anything else with your blog.
3. Post frequency should align with your blog goals
I recommend blogging once per week, especially when you’re just getting started. It’s a good frequency for several reasons, but the bottom line is that posting once a week will help you get more eyes on your content.
Some people only blog once a month, and there’s nothing wrong with this. It will just take you longer to accomplish your goals and gain traction if you’re posting less frequently. Still, it’s not a bad option if you’re short on time and don’t want to wait to get your blog up and running.
Several months ago, I ramped up to posting twice per week. I’ve seen quite a bit of growth from posting this often. But, I still saw great results in my business when I was posting once per week.
So, make it easy on yourself at first and pick a very realistic post frequency. Then, stick with that for several months so you’re showing up consistently for readers.
4. Pick a primary post type/format for your content
The rule when it comes to the best type or format for your blog posts will depend on the goal you set for your blog.
If you’re looking to drive consistent traffic by publishing engaging posts on a frequent schedule, list posts are simple to curate and people love them. Tutorials work well when you want to build authority and boost SEO. Case studies can supplement your portfolio, establish authority and build affinity with clients you decide to feature.
Pick 1-2 post types/formats and focus on those as you’re getting started — it’ll make writing your blogs and accomplishing your goals a whole lot easier.
5. Enticing headlines and blog images are a must
I know I’m being a little strong with my “suggestions” here, but I want to make sure that the effort you put into blogging is well worth it.
There’s no point in writing great content that nobody ever reads. Title each post with a headline that makes people want to read what you have to say. Pair the post with a beautiful, on-brand blog image that inspires people to click.
Googling “how to write good blog titles” and/or “best blog headlines” will return a collective 100 million results. See for yourself and pick one of them as a starting point for learning more about writing effective blog post headlines. As far as blog images go, I’ve got you covered in this post.
6. Build your email list
Every successful business owner with an online presence tends to mention this “rule” as one of the things they wish they would’ve known and followed earlier.
Start strong and build your list from the very beginning. The most common way bloggers do this is by prompting readers (via a side bar or pop up opt-in form) to subscribe to a weekly or monthly newsletter. Don’t stress about what to send subscribers — newsletters are a great place to let people know about your newest posts. Simple!
Down the road, you can create freebies and incorporate additional calls-to-action in each individual blog post. Ebooks or email challenges are both great ways to grow your list!