Part four of our website audit tips series - we're talking about your blog, your brand photos, and your footer in this post!
Blog strategy and content pillars*
First of all, if you don't have a blog for your business, I recommend you start one. Having a blog on your website is a great way to provide value to your audience, position yourself as an expert in your industry, and regularly push new content into the search engines.
A great way to create or audit your blog strategy is to think about how you can help your customers with the information you provide and separate it into 3-5 content pillars (ie. categories).
So, how do you decide what your content pillars should be?
Your blog posts are FOR your customers, so a great starting point is by evaluating questions you often receive from them. You can use this information to set your content pillars with topics related to your company and your industry.
For example, let's say you are a vacation rental owner. Your content pillars could be: 1) About Your Rental, 2) About Your Area, 3) Vacation Planning Tips, 4) Travel Tips. Don't overthink this - it's really just a guide to help you create a consistent variety of content for your readers.
As far as a blog strategy goes, the most important thing in content marketing of any kind is consistency. What you DON'T want to do is add a blog to your website, post to it once, and then forget about it. If you have a blog, you should post to it AT LEAST once a month.
And remember, while your blog shouldn't be used for the sole purpose of promotion, you should always use a call-to-action towards the end of the post to encourage them to contact you for more information or assistance.
Audit your blog posts*
We've talked about how to audit your blog strategy and content pillars. It's also important to monitor and review your blog posts as time goes on - here are three tips to get you started.
1. Blog posts you write this month, this quarter, and this year ... may have information in them that needs to be updated later. For example, maybe a blog post discusses a certain product or service that you offer that is no longer available. Or, maybe a post spoke about an industry trend at the time that has now changed. Regular auditing of your blog post content will allow you to update these types of things accordingly to ensure you are always showcasing accurate information on your website.
2. Internal linking is important for SEO (search engine optimization), and it also helps people get from one page of your site to another relevant page of your site. As you publish more blog posts, you will find places where they can link to each other to build a strong link system on your blog and website. Without doing a regular review of your blog posts and adding those links where applicable, you will be missing that opportunity to improve your user experience (and search presence.)
3. Finally, you should monitor your blog (and website) analytics. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are great (free) tools that can help you monitor your website's performance, keyword information, and more. Using this data, you can learn which blog posts are most popular among your readers, and consider adjusting your strategy to publish more content of that nature.
*Blog strategy and content pillars and Audit your blog posts tips from Darcy Geho at https://digitaldarcy.com
Review your page and post structure
Check your page or post structure when you're writing - or reviewing - your blog posts (and website pages).
And if you're thinking - wait a minute, I'm not building a skyscraper here, what are you talking about? - I'm referring to using headings in your pages and posts.
Headings on the web - they work kind of like an outline. Remember making those in school?
You start with the blog post title. Then you can break up the post's content under headings, and even sub-headings, if needed.
Here are some tips:
- Heading levels are numbered 1 through 6
- Heading 1 is usually the page or post title
- Heading 2 is for major sections in your content
- Heading 3 is for breaking those sections into smaller blocks of content
Just make sure to use headings sequentially, and don't skip heading steps.
Why is it important to use headings?
- Using headings helps Google know what your page and the text sections are about
- Headings help break up your text into readable - or scannable - chunks
- Using headings makes your page more accessible to screen readers
Pro tip: Use the headings in the correct order to support your content, THEN change the size and style
Review your website's footer
It might be the very bottom of your website, but a well-designed footer can help your website visitor find their way to the next step.
There are some things we've come to expect in website footers:
- contact information/links
- business hours
- navigation links to important pages or categories
- links to a form or other method of staying in touch - or a mini-form itself
- a one-or-two sentence "About" summary of your business or mission
- links to policies (more on policies coming in a couple of weeks)
While you don't need ALL of these items, use the ones that apply the most to your business.
For most sites, three or four columns of information in the footer is the most that I would recommend - more than that is not very readable or usable.
Some platforms allow you to have sections that you add above the footer on every page.
These sections can be perfect for adding your stay-in-touch form or another call-to-action that you want on every page.
In addition, your platform, theme, or template may govern some of what you can do with your footer. You can explore to see what you can do with the tools you have available.
Review your brand photos*
Images can make or break your website. The images on your website should help connect you with your dream client.
Here are two questions to ask yourself when reviewing the images on your website…
1.Are your images up to date? If it’s been a few years or you have changed your hair style or color it’s time to update those images. You want your clients to recognize you! I recommend having a picture of you looking at the camera on your homepage so your potential clients know who they may be working with. This is similar to when you meet someone in person and look them in the eyes - you connect more with them then if they look down or away when introducing themselves.
2. Do the images on your website coordinate with your brand? If the images do not coordinate with the aesthetic of your brand it can alter the feeling of your website and cause confusion for potential clients. You want to build brand recognition and a strong visual brand by using images that communicate who you are and how you want your client to feel when they view your website. Choosing a photographer who’s shooting and editing style matches your brand aesthetic is important. Dark and moody images are going to communicate a different message to potential clients than light and bright images. Incorporating your brand colors into your brand photos also helps build a cohesive visual brand.
As they say a picture is worth a thousand words!
*Review your brand photos tip is provided by Krystal Brewer, a Brand & Senior Photographer in Casper, WY - find her at https://www.krystalbrewer.com