Website Aftercare: Blogging
Little known fact: I am COVERED with tattoos.
My entire back is filled with colorful designs and illustrations that snake down and wrap around both sides of my hips.
And I friggin’ LOVE IT.
Lying down on a massage table, feeling the needles and their vibration pound through my bones is a sensation that feels oddly calming to me, and there’s just something about when the artist stops the needle to wipe away the blood (I’m a bleeder) with a cooling, soothing ointment.
The magic is in the ointment, people…
Because tattoos are a big commitment, they come with a lot of responsibility.
There’s a lot of aftercare involved, and as such, you gotta keep your new artwork clean, moisturized and protected from the sun not only during the next two weeks while you’re healing, but for the rest of your life, lest you face infection, warped artwork, fading and premature aging of the skin.
(And really, this is just good skin advice in general, people. My Mom taught me well.)
So, what can tattoos teach us about websites?
Well, the website for your business is a lot like getting a tattoo, although a lot less permanent, less painful and needle-y.
It involves LOTS of aftercare to keep it healthy, looking good, and working for you.
It isn’t enough to have a pretty website custom designed for you, only to let it sit there with some “Field of Dreams” philosophy that “if you build it, they will come.”
Because surprise, surprise… Google doesn’t send out an e-mail to everyone in the world once your new website is up. Expecting customers to find you and come to you on their own isn’t just lazy, it’s dangerous for your business and a recipe to fail.
An e-mail marketing plan, blogging calendar, and social media presence helps to drive potential customers to your website to purchase your products and services by providing them with new valuable content they crave, and reminds them that you exist in the first place and are ready for hire.
Without being top-of-mind with your peeps, you’re leaving money on the table, and being forgotten looks good on no one.
Blogging is hands down the easiest way to keep your website fresh and up-to-date for your clients and potential customers.
But, the biggest objection I always hear from clients is that they think they don’t have time for blogging, e-mail marketing and social media. They think they need to have completely unique and individualized content for each medium and it all becomes too overwhelming to even think about.
But here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to be that way.
One blog post on your website can be cut and pasted into your next e-mail newsletter campaign. You can also cut and paste the link to your blog post, and put it on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest profiles.
You see what happened there?! You’re now all over the place kicking ass and taking names!
And being the smarty-pants business owner you are, you of course HAVE an e-mail list and social media profiles, right? … RIGHT?!
Clearly, one tiiiiiiiiiiiiny post can be leveraged in a myriad of ways, all taking fractions of time to pull together. It doesn’t HAVE to be a huge time commitment, and it only involves some light cut-and-pasting-action. And c’mon. You all know how to cut-and-paste by now.
And now? It’s time to get started.
First: Determine if having a blog is right for you.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that blogging isn’t for everyone if you can’t keep up with it, and I’ve written a whole blog post dedicated to helping you find out if blogging is right for you.
But for argument’s sake, let’s pretend you read that post, took the test, and determined writing a blog IS right for you. And because you took the test (RIGHT?!) you now have 25 blog post ideas that your audience would want to know about that relates to the products and services you sell, and you’re committed to writing and publishing your blog posts between once and twice a month so your customers/prospects don’t forget about you.
Second: Create your editorial calendar.
Next, crack open your whatever calendar system you use (I’m a Google Calendar girl myself) and schedule when you’re going to write and publish each of your blog posts throughout the year.
Keep in mind the times of the year when you’re scheduling your posts, and how it may or may not relate to what you write about.
For example, let’s pretend you’re an Interior Designer. Perhaps you’ll want to write a few blog posts around the holidays (November/December) about how to freshen up your home for house guests, or maybe you have a top 10 list of essentials every guest room should have. Perhaps you have some festive decorating tips for Christmas trees, or Thanksgiving tablescapes too. Make sure your posts are relevant to the time of year.
Three: Write your Blog Posts
Once you have your Blog posts scheduled, you’ll need to, you know, actually write them out.
Now, the trick here is to NOT overthink this, people. Like anything, it’s hard only if you make it hard.
Keep it simple here: Just write how you would talk to your best friend.
There, doesn’t that keep the pressure off?
You don’t have to be a professional writer, or even a good speller (that’s what spell check is for!) If you’re swear-y in real life, cuss it up in your blog! If you’re sarcastic in your e-mails to people, feel free to sass-it-up!
The key here is to showcase your personality in your blog to your clients and prospects so people feel connected with you. Since you’re also writing about topics your audience wants to know about and are sharing your knowledge for free and making it accessible, you’re also establishing yourself as an expert and authority in your field. Cuss words and lack-of-knowing-how-to-use-a-semi-colon and all!
Four: Make sure your including a soft sell in your blog posts that relates to your products or services.
So now that you’re feeling up to the challenge of writing for your blog, make sure your posts somehow relate to what you’re selling. This may seem obvious, but SO many people fail to do this tactfully, if at all.
You don’t have to put ads in your blog posts, or bang readers over the head with “I’M SELLING THIS WIDGET WILL YOU BUY IT PLEEEEEEEEASE!!!”
Instead, let’s say you’re a Chef that teaches people how to cook in the comfort of their own homes, and you’re writing your bi-monthly blog post about how Easter is coming up and you have some killer tips all about ham.
You can preface your posts with something like “During my work with clients, I’ve noticed that I get a lot of questions about how to prepare meats properly, which is why I developed a special meat preparation class <link to Services Page>. Since Easter is coming up, I’ve compiled my top 5 ham preparation secrets to wow your family…”
See what happened there? That’s a soft, tasteful (pun intended!) sell reminding readers what you do and and how they can work with you without being pushy or annoying.
Since the rest of your blog post will contain a bunch of free, helpful information all about ham, that creates warm and fuzzy feelings of reciprocity. When you give people a bunch of awesome, free, content, they’re more likely to trust and ultimately buy from you because you’ve already given them so much value, ideas, breakthroughs, etc…
Hi, I'm Natalie McGuire!
I'm a website designer + digital strategist who believes in design with strategic ease. Meaning, gorgeous design is informed by customer insights that make your business a whole lot easier. If you want to stop losing customers by having "just another pretty website," work with me.
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