Blogging is a great way to get more people coming into your website. But some kinds of posts have more value for search engines and can bring in new readers for years, not just for a few days.
The basic idea is that blogs put more pages and words on your domain. Having more pages and words gives Google a better understanding of your website and provides more points of entry for new visitors.
Now, some people start blogging thinking that just publishing whatever will help. But there is a more strategic way to blog that will get you sustained results over time. To see what I mean, take peek at these two posts we made on the PhotoBiz blog:
One is a short, image-heavy blog about new template designs. The other is a very long and in-depth explanation on how to price commercial photography jobs.
Both are very popular. In fact, they’re in the top 5 most ever viewed blogs on PhotoBiz!
But page views don’t tell the whole story. If you look at how these performed OVER TIME, you’ll see a big difference. Check it out:
The template blog did well initially, but interest quickly dipped to zilch and stayed flat. Sadly, nobody is searching for "5 Amazing Photobiz Templates” 1 year later. (It’s cool, we come out with new templates on the regular.)
This blog about pricing, however, continues to grow and perform better over time. Its traffic has an upward trajectory! Here we see one difference between content that LASTS and content that fades away: TIMELESSNESS!
Photographers are still searching for answers to an important question: how to price their work. And as long as people are asking the question, our blog is waiting to provide answers.
Another thing the pricing blog has going for it is LENGTH! It clocks in at a cool 2800 words… whereas the template blog only has about 400.
Longer blogs tend to perform better because Google uses all those words to match up search queries. Google also values longer pages that keep viewers reading for more time. It’s one of the ways search engines determine what is good, high-quality content, and what’s filler.
Last, the AUDIENCE you’re writing for really matters. Keep in mind that you’re writing for 2 kinds of people: your best customers... and the people who will become your customers.
That’s why I’m happy with the template blog, even though its performance is now basically flat. It did its job brilliantly, which was to let current customers know about an important update at the time. The commercial photography blog was specifically written to bring in new readers looking for an answer to that question via search engines.
By the way, this is a super good strategy to get new readers! Answer questions that your ideal customers might ask on Google.
If you’re not blogging yet, remember that you can start anytime. Most photographer blogs I look at feature recent shoots and have very nice images to support them. This is an excellent and fairly easy kind of post to make. But! You can also mix some longer informational blogs into your schedule.
Try to think like a client and answer their questions before they ask them. Consider, for example, what ELSE is a bride searching for besides “Raleigh Wedding Photographer?”
Well, wedding venues, for one. Maybe you could write a post like... “5 Best Outdoor Wedding Venues In Raleigh!” As a wedding photographer, you have some expertise in this area. You’ve shot many weddings and may be able to provide recommendations on picture-perfect venues.
("But Holly... I'm a photographer, not a wedding venue!")
True. However brides looking for this information will also need a photographer. That’s where you step in. Show your expertise, include great and relevant examples of your work, and give a link to your booking information.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind as you continue to build out your content and blogging strategy:
It would be cool to be an overnight success, but it can take a little time for your content to filter up to the top. In fact, our MOST VIEWED BLOG today continues to be an infographic we published in 2014... over 3 years ago!
Content like this is evergreen, answers a common question from our core audience, and continues to perform years down the line.
A good thing for you to do is to periodically check on how your content is performing and identify your highest trafficked pages. Make sure that those are optimized toward getting your visitors to take the next step.
Include links to other areas of your website and end with your CTA, or "big ask."
So maybe a blog you loved didn’t get the traction you wanted. Don’t throw in the towel!
Take a look at your blogs that performed well and see what they have in common. Were they all "How To-s?" Is a certain length getting you results? Find your victories and try to hone future content toward what’s working for your audience.
Readers who know that you update often will stick around and even subscribe to your blog! Whether that’s once a month or once a week, try to set an expectation by publishing regularly and then offering a subscription via a form.
This is not only for existing clients… if a new reader likes your blog enough, it gives them a way to easily keep in touch!