Section 7: Blogs, News and Portfolio Posts

Blogging has a bit of a bad reputation when you say it to clients, I think it fills them with this thought that they have spend hours journaling everything that their business does and releasing it to the big wide world.

The trick to using a blog, is to stop seeing it as a blog. Instead look at how the blog format can work for your company.

Common ways to use the blog format are:

Releasing company news

To display portfolio

To display recent work

Help, tips and industry information

Articles

The great thing is that you don’t have to choose, you can mix and match how you use your blog with the aid of categories.

Isn’t a blog just more pages?

A blog is a little different, the format is set up in a special way that displays differently to how a page displays – both to the search engines and to your users. Search engines are very happy with well used blogs, so it is important to ensure that whatever you are adding to the blog is SEO rich as much as it is useful to your clients.

You would usually choose a static page, called whatever you want, news or latest work etc. Within your website you would set this page to display the blog posts only and you would leave the content of the page blank.

Whenever you write a blog post, it will display on this page automatically with the most recent showing at the top.

You should have the facility within your website settings to choose whether the blog posts showing on this news page show in full or show an excerpt, either way you usually have the option to link to the full blog.

A blog can be used to promote things that wouldn’t warrant a page via a menu but do hold merit. 

Going back to the bakery for an example, My company doesn’t want to use nut-free or gluten-free in the top 10 keyphrases as it isn’t a huge market for us, We do still want to stand out against our competitors and attract the attention of that smaller market. So we write a blog post, it is a simple ‘look at this gluten free and nut free birthday cake that we made for a 4 year old boy’ objective. We start with our keywords and keyphrases, we give the post a strong keyphrase rich name, add meta data, add alt tags to the image and then get to work writing about the cake – ensuring that we use out H tags to break up the text. 

We publish the blog and it appears in our news page automatically. We then head over to our Facebook page and we promote the blog post by copying and pasting the link to the post and saying a little about it.

This has added this specialty service to our website with very little effort and without making our website cluttered. The search engines are also happy that our website has had something new and will soon send in the spiders for a look around.

Categories and Scheduling

Going a little further into the blog format, you could use scheduling and categories to help you and your users.

Scheduling: This allows you to set a time and a date that your post will publish rather than publishing immediately. 

The benefit of this is that you can add a group of portfolio items at once but set each to publish at different times, for example a week apart. This means that the search engines see your website being regularly updated without you actually having to add one each week.

Categories: Most Content Management Systems running a blog function will allow for the use of categories. You can set your own category names and even have a hierarchy of parent and child categories.

Each time you add a blog post, you would tick which of the categories it would come under.

At the user end, you would display a list of categories as links (like a submenu only in the blog area) so that they can find relevant blog posts to them.

You can also use this method to have additional news pages for each category, if your website allows. This works especially well when using this system to display a portfolio.

On our bakery website, we might have a news page that shows all blog posts, with a submenu for users to move through the categories but we may also have 2 additional news pages, one called ‘wedding cakes’ which is set to show all blog posts with the category ‘wedding’ ticked, and the other called ‘Events’ which displays all of the blog posts with the category ‘outside catering’ ticked.

Jump to section 8: SEO help from your mum



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