Starting a Business Blog in 2024: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed

Tuesday, December 19th
Content Manager

Mark Wilson

Is blogging dead in 2024? Not even a little bit. However, you might not realize it based on the media attention given to videos, podcasts and other, flashier forms of content.

The other reason you might not realize the power blogging can still have is that a lot of businesses do it wrong. There are ways to make your blog a lucrative revenue-generator for your company, but also a lot of pitfalls that businesses routinely fall into.

Blogging can still be the workhorse lead generator of your website, but only if you execute a comprehensive plan that will build it into something worthwhile.

How do you do that? I’m glad you asked. That’s what we’re here to help with. Follow the guidelines in the article and you’ll be able to create a worthwhile blog that generates traffic, leads and revenue for your business.

Why Start a Blog for Your Business?

If you don’t have a strong reason for starting a blog, it will fail. To that end, it’s worth it to establish exactly why you want to begin one, and what you hope a blog will accomplish for your business.

Here are a handful of great benefits of blogs:

  1. Your website never sleeps. It’s working for you 24/7 to generate interest in your products or services.
  2. You own your blog. Paying for ads can be costly, and the payments never stop. But once you create a blog, it can continue to pay dividends for your company indefinitely.
  3. Your story gets told. If there’s something special about your company, its people, its services or products, do your potential customers know that? Blogging can help you to teach them who you are and what separates you from the competition.
  4. Traffic, attention and revenue. A good blog can increase brand awareness, website traffic, number of leads generated, and the attention you receive on social media or in the local (or national!) media.

The Basics of Starting a Blog

So what do you need to start a blog?

Some will be obvious, others less so:

  • You need a website. If you don’t have one, you’ll have to obtain a URL, secure your hosting service, then design and launch your website.
  • You need ideas. Lots of them. We’ll talk below about how to generate these ideas, but ideally you have hundreds of potential topics you can cover in a variety of ways.
  • You need internal resources. As we’ll discuss below, a successful blog isn’t something you can just hand off to an intern. You need to have a plan for how you’ll consistently execute a plan, which can involve hiring outside writers or making it a part of the job description of an existing employee (or hiring someone for it).
  • You need consistent messaging and voice. How you speak through your blog should be consistent. Creating a brand standards manual might be too much if you’re a one-person operation, but understanding your core messages, values, and tone of voice is important to create clear, consistent and successful blogs.
  • You need a process. Who is writing the blogs? How often? What is the review and approval process? How often are you releasing blogs? If you’re writing them yourself, this may be easier. But as soon as multiple people are involved, a process prevents your blog from faltering.

Generating Ideas For Your Blog

There’s a secret method for generating an endless list of blog topics for most businesses, and it’s ridiculously simple…

What questions do your customers or clients ask you?

Those questions become your topics, and you spend the blog answering them thoroughly.

These will be the most direct topics, those that speak directly to your customers and their concerns. But there are tons of other methods for generating ideas, and tools that can help you.

  • Simply doing Google searches for your industry can yield interesting results.
  • Look at what your competitors are doing. You don’t want to copy their responses, but using them as inspiration can be a great way to get started.
  • Free tools such as Answer the Public exist to help you figure out what questions people are asking about a topic.
  • You know your business inside and out, but does everyone? Break down the parts of your business and educate your customers on everything that you do. This increases transparency, which leads to trust.

Not every idea is a winner, and some aren’t broad enough to write an entire article about. But these methods will help you to start generating ideas that will last you for years to come.

Ways Blogging Can Work For You?

It’s a tragic misconception when businesses think blogs are just something that sits statically on your website, waiting for people to find them.

Blogs should be ACTIVE! That’s right, tell your blogs to start doing some jumping jacks, and ringing doorbells to attract customers!

More seriously, blogs are a jumping-off point for a lot of promotion that you can now do for your business. Let’s look at some of the ways they can enhance your marketing efforts.

Email Marketing

If you have a blog, you should be doing email marketing. Further, you should be using those blogs to drive sign-ups for your newsletter.

Then when you send the emails, your blogs give you relevant content to send to your followers.

Some might be evergreen topics, like the need for good car maintenance. Others might be seasonal, like the five things you should be doing to winterize your lawn before the first frost of the season.

Regardless, it’s another way for you to keep in touch with existing and potential customers, and to build trust and value through your content.

Social Media

Do you have social media channels? Are you using them to promote your blog? If not, you should be.

For clarity, if all you’re doing is dropping a link to your blog, that isn’t a great strategy. Why? Because social media is often about bite-sized content, and just cross-posting a link doesn’t get anyone excited to click on it.

So what can you do instead? Take an interesting quote or fact from the blog and use it to create a quick graphic to entice your followers, then provide the link as a way they can learn more if they’re interested.

This isn’t the only viable strategy for using blogs in social media, but can give you a sense of how to reach a new audience with content on your website.

Organic Traffic

Yes, a good blog should increase traffic, but are you adding to your content to make this even better?

Once you write a blog, it shouldn’t be done forever if it’s useful. Update it for the current year, find new information to add that will increase its value to readers, and otherwise improve your blog over time.

This will increase traffic even to pages that have been on your site for years, not just to the new stuff.

Blogging Pitfalls to Avoid

A lot of businesses have blogs, and a lot of them don’t do much to help the business. Why is this?

There isn’t one single thing that most blogs are missing. Usually it’s a lot of factors combined. Here are some of the most common pitfalls to avoid.

Blogs Are Too Short

Yes, writing 200 words is easier than writing 2,000 words. But that 200-word article is unlikely to do much for you, for a couple reasons:

  1. It’s not providing much value to the reader.
  2. It’s too shallow for search engines like Google and Bing to consider for their rankings.

You can still use shorter blogs in email marketing or on social media, particularly when they’re about deals or topical events. But if you want to truly create lasting value through this content, it will require some deeper dives into topics.

This is why we often tell clients that longer, more comprehensive articles on a less-frequent release schedule are actually better than shorter content that’s released more frequently. It’s still important to release content regularly, but in this case it’s better to be good than fast.

Blogs Don’t Provide Value

You might be imagining your star blog as the #1 spot on Google for its topic, drawing thousands of clicks per day. And this is possible!

But the way many people try to achieve this is by stuffing articles with keywords that they think search engines want to see in the blogs. In doing so, they forget about the people actually using their site.

The time a user spends on the page relates directly to its search rank. This means that content that is legitimately useful and keeps people glued to the page for several minutes will be the best-ranking content. It’s also best for the people who will want to do business with you, so it’s a win/win.

Always keep the user in mind when you write. There’s no gaming the system. You have to provide consistent value for your blogs to generate business.

Your Release Schedule is Sporadic

Awesome, so you're blogging now! And you released three entire articles in the first week…

Then two the next week. Then one. Then none. Then three again to try to make up for the previous week. Then one because you fell behind on other work.

Fast forward a year and a lot of these businesses are lucky to be posting one blog in a month.

This will not generate consistent, long-term success. That requires consistency.

So what does this mean for you? It means you need to create a realistic release schedule, then stick to it. Exactly how many blogs per week is that? That depends on the resources you have to devote to this endeavor, but the more you can do, the faster you’ll start to see results.

One per week is a reasonable minimum. Businesses with dedicated content marketing strategies are usually releasing at least three pieces of content per week (videos, blogs, etc.). Oftentimes, it’s more, and the internationally known content companies such as Buzzfeed are releasing more than that every day.

Those companies have people whose entire job is to write and post articles, and you may not be able to do this. But that’s also the only way to see the upper limits of the potential of these strategies.

If you’re smaller or working alone, one per week is a good initial goal. If you find yourself able to take on more than that, awesome!

Technical SEO and Blogging

Maybe you aren’t too technically savvy, even if you’re a writer. Unfortunately, finding an audience online in the present day means knowing some of the technical aspects of blogging.

Many marketing professionals can teach you the basics, and some will even handle the technical SEO for you (for a fee).

While the scope of this particular article doesn’t include a deep dive into technical SEO for your blog, here are some items you can explore for further research, to refine your process:

  1. Semantic HTML, with proper use of header tags (H1), and sub-headers (H2, H3, etc.)
  2. Readability, which includes best practices like breaking up longer paragraphs, using tables, numbered lists and bulleted lists when appropriate.
  3. Use of visual elements or other forms of media if you have them. These can include pictures, infographics and videos.
  4. Calls to action for additional reading, or relevant callouts to your products and services that will encourage additional click-throughs on your page.
  5. Optimize site speed and loading times, and make sure your page is mobile-accessible.
  6. Use internal links to other pages on your site to link to related content.
  7. Use HTTPS (i.e. make sure your site is secure)
  8. Include meta description text for search engine crawlers to load into search results.

Related: Digital Marketing and Web Design Glossary

There are deeper levels you can get into as well, but if you’re doing each of the items above, you’re checking a lot of boxes to ensure that your content has a chance to shine.

Setting Expectations

So when can you start seeing the results of your efforts? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the answer is: It Depends.

It depends on your release volume, the quality of the work, how competitive your industry is in regard to blogging, and several other factors.

However, one mistake that a lot of executives make is to expect results from blogging efforts within weeks or even days.

This isn’t how a good blog builds value. It happens over time, and in the aggregate. This can make it difficult to stick with.

Some businesses, in less competitive industries for content marketing, can start to see significant results within a few months. For others, it could be as long as 12-24 months.

But relating back to the benefits of blogging that we talked about earlier, once that content starts to generate leads and revenue, it’s essentially a free, perpetual marketing tool for you. The long-term benefits are potentially immense. But it takes patience and persistence.

Should You Use AI Tools for Blogging?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are all the rage right now. Are you falling behind if you don’t use them?

The short answer is that you’re not necessarily falling behind, and that the core of good blog-writing doesn’t require AI. But AI tools can help streamline and improve your process.

First, I’ll point out that, to date, I’ve not seen any major content marketing group recommend using AI tools to write your blogs wholecloth. Nor do we here at Leadflask. There are a few important reasons for this:

  1. AI writers use pre-existing content from the internet. It might be reworded (or it might not). But there’s a non-trivial chance that a search engine recognizes the theft and actually punishes your site for reusing content from someone else. Stated differently: it could hurt your site, rather than help it.
  2. AI writing is often overly generic, particularly on technical topics that require expert knowledge. It doesn’t know your business like you do.
  3. AI tools have no way of fact-checking themselves, and will often simply be wrong when it comes to factual information.

With that said, there are safer uses for AI that can help you in your efforts.

  1. Use it for idea generation. An AI tool can provide you with hundreds of potential topics in mere minutes.
  2. From those ideas, it can even provide you with outlines that will help you structure blogs.
  3. Use it to rewrite your work that you’re not happy with. It can help break you out of writer’s block by rephrasing something that you can’t quite find the words for.
  4. ChatGPT gets the headlines, but other AI tools exist that will analyze your work and make recommendations for improvements based on other great writing on the subject.
  5. Some AI tools can take your blogs and will package them as social media posts instantly.

The number of AI tools is increasing, so there are undoubtedly more applications than I listed above. But those are a handful you can consider.

Monetizing a Blog

Blogs on their own can help to generate leads and revenue, but there are other, more direct ways to monetize a successful blog.

This won’t happen on Day #1, though, and usually requires that you first build a sizable audience before monetization is worthwhile. Once you’re able to, though, here are a few ways to monetize your efforts in additional ways:

  • Clickable banner ads that appear on the page when people visit.
  • Sponsored blogs that others write, usually promoting a product or business. Ideally, if you accept these, the content is at least somewhat related to what you normally write about. Otherwise, you risk angering and losing your existing audience.
  • eCommerce. Many successful bloggers will build small businesses around their writing, selling things like clothing apparel, books or services related to what they write about.

Business Blogging Case Study

What’s the best you can hope for with a blogging strategy that you execute consistently for years? Turns out, you might be able to expect a lot.

Fire & Ice Heating and Air Conditioning is a client of ours here at Leadflask. In 2020, they hired a small marketing team with the goal of executing a content marketing plan. Importantly, this included an entire position devoted to nothing but writing and posting articles on their website.

For a regional, city-based HVAC company, their website had reasonable traffic, with around 10,000 visits per year in the years before 2020.

By 2022, their yearly traffic was over one million visitors! The articles they write continue to provide hundreds of thousands in revenue for the company every year, merely because people read the content and want to do business with the company responsible for it.

At Leadflask, our role was to support this with website infrastructure and SEO expertise to help their blogs achieve this success. We also leveraged this traffic into several initiatives that resulted in local partnerships and digital marketing efforts.

Can you see the same results? Maybe. Fire & Ice had a team dedicated to this for several years before those numbers were that large. You might not have the same resources, or you might be in an industry with a more competitive blogging field.

However, some amount of that success can be enjoyed by anyone who rigorously pursues a consistent, thoughtful blogging strategy.

Start Your Business Blog Today!

If that doesn’t get you excited to start, I don’t know what will.

With the right purpose and dedication, any business can create a blog that will help them achieve more results than they could have realized otherwise.

Just as importantly, it can provide a valuable resource for potential and existing customers, increasing the trust they place in your business.

Lastly, it can be a great creative outlet and a way to tell your company’s story in unique, engaging ways.

The only thing left to do is get started. Good luck!

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