So firstly, why blog? Why not advertise your practice in the local Yellow Pages or Newspaper?
What did you do? Where did you go to find information?
I’d be amazed if more than five percent of you didn’t think ‘I Googled it’. Research is showing that our behaviour is changing; we are now much more inclined to trust internet search engine results ahead of paid-for directory listings, and we trust higher ranking websites ahead of those below them. This change is going to be reflected in the behaviours of your target audience, so you must consider search engines as integral to developing your business.
So the next question has to be, how do I rank higher on search engines?
Websites are regularly indexed by mathematical algorithms which calculate their ranking position, the precise indexing algorithm is kept top-secret but it considers factors such as Keyword Density, Meta Content, Age of Content, Inbound Links and Richness of Content.
High ranking websites will be rich in relevant keywords for the given search string, well built, updated regularly, referenced regularly and contains a healthy mixture of images, text and videos. These attributes are also typical of blogs, and so they can be invaluable to improving your website’s performance on search engines.
So, now you understand that having a blog can add value, we come to the crucial part, content. A lot of people are concerned about creating content; they assume that because they are not journalists or writers, that no-one will be interested in what they have to say. I argue to the contrary, regardless of whether you are a secretary, accountant or bookkeeper, what you are is an expert in your professional field and someone whose experience and insight has value to your peers.
In Sage we refer to this as ‘Thought Leadership’, being seen by your industry as a reliable source of relevant information. Writing a blog isn’t easy, far from it. Your content needs to be accurate, relevant, engaging and most importantly original. Once you get into the habit of writing though, it becomes a lot less challenging and you will actually find that there are lots of topics out there for you to discuss.
What are the latest developments from HMRC, has using software helped your practice become more efficient, how will VAT changes impact upon your clients, how has working with your practice helped resolve problems for a client. There are a handful of topics ripe for blogging, which you can have on me!
Ideally I’d recommend keeping your blogs fairly short, something like 300 words is about right, and should only take you around half an hour to write. When you start, don’t overstretch yourself, try to write a blog once a fortnight, perhaps while you’re having a sandwich over your keyboard. Don’t expect instant results, but keep writing anyhow, the more relevant content you create, the better. The key part is that if you persevere, you will get results.
If you use other social media like Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, then share your content there as well. Every click and inbound link will add to your blog’s authority and help to improve search engine performance.
Once you’re feeling confident in your blogging, you could even guest blog on Sage’s blog, we’re always interested in hosting content, which by linking back to your site will add to its authority. Just let us know if you fancy giving it a go!
Alex Walker, Sage Accountants’ Team @alexatsage