A great way to remain relevant and also attract and engage visitors (and keep them coming back for more) is by including a blog. This will give your website a unique voice and tone, and enhance your business by showcasing your expertise in your subject. Updated regularly, it can build a community around your website, with a way of engaging directly with actual and potential customers, helping you to gain more authority in your given sector. Most importantly, blogs can help drive traffic to your website by increasing your SEO, increasing conversion rates and leads, and helping customers understand your company culture and goals.
So can you just throw up a blog post and expect your witty charm and endless knowledge to captivate your readers? Well the charm and expertise may help but a lot of the factors that make a blog successful have to do with the foundational infrastructure blog website builder itself. Is it responsive? Is it fast-loading? Does it allow you to customize and add different forms of media in easily? Will it increase blog traffic? You get the point. Here to give us some insight into his experience building blog websites is Bruce Deschamps joining us from Helsinki, Finland.
Bruce: I started blogging a few years back and concentrating myself three years ago on building a travel destination blog where I focus mainly on the destination of Laplands in Northern Finland and I share tips or experiences about this lovely region so that people are keen to ask questions when they’re planning their trip. This is how I first started my audience little by little.
Christine: And before building this particular website with Jupiter, had you had a lot of experience in building websites?
Bruce: Well before I had already used some pretty basic themes and features of WordPress; I’ve aways been working on WordPress so far, but as time passed I grew my audience and I noticed that I needed to have a more sophisticated website where I could actually customize the content and build a more visually attractive blog website so I needed to go further in having a new tool or a new platform to work with that would give me the flexibility and capability I needed. This is how I came to Artbees and the Jupiter WordPress Theme.
You’ll Never Blog Alone
If this is your first foray into the ‘blogosphere’, the technicalities of setting up and then maintaining a blog can be daunting. Most bloggers are working solo and particularly if you don’t have technical support to help you fix small glitches or configure your site, you ultimately have less time to blog if you’re spending hours trying to fix a problem. Don’t underestimate the time you could save by having a theme that provides around the clock, responsive support and by having a website building tool that has an easy learning curve.
Christine: And so what specifically attracted you to Jupiter? Because obviously you’ve had a little bit of experience of trial and error in building your blog website so were there certain features or capabilities that caught your eye?
Bruce: Yeah at first it was the Visual Composer—the fact that you had a of visual and customizable components was one of the major points of why I chose Jupiter and the second one was that I noticed that you have an outstanding support service and I know from experience that at some point when you start to blog professionally and more extensively at some point you’ll need to ask for some support and help to extend the capabilities or features of your blog website builder. When you have really active and responsive support that’s constantly working on making your theme better, it’s a blogger’s dream.
I’d also like to add for those individuals who are just getting started and want to build a blog, the first thing you need to do is carefully choose your theme and take the time to think about what features and components you’ll need and don’t rush into buying the first theme you think looks fancy. So you really need to analyze what you’ll need before you make a selection of the right tools and themes for your blog. The other point is that this theme needs to be responsive because nowadays mobile traffic is becoming increasingly important so you can’t forget this—it’s a must have! If the theme you’re choosing isn’t 100% responsive, your blog will suffer. The support quality as I said is very important and you also need the update frequency of your theme and I see at Artbees that you guys are working really hard to make the Jupiter theme high-performing, updating it frequently and taking care of all of the bugs and issues so this is a really important aspect to underline. Don’t choose a theme that was just updated 3 years ago!
The first thing you need to do is carefully choose your theme and take the time to think about what features and components you’ll need and don’t rush into buying the first theme you think looks fancy.
Better Luck… First Time
It’s not always easy to get your blog right, right off the bat–especially if it’s your first time. That’s where it helps to get some advice from those with more experience. Bruce has gone through his own trial and error period in trying to increase blog traffic and is here to share some best practices and important considerations to building your blog website, saving you time and sparing you frustration.
Christine: In your trial and error of trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t work, what type of features in Jupiter did you realize were bringing more readers to your blog? Also, were there any big mistakes you made that you can pass on to other bloggers?
Bruce: Well, as long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve created different styles of posts and nowadays what I find gets the most traffic are lists, how tos, resources, link lists, checklists, reviews, or videos. To be able to create all of those different style posts, you need to have a tool that allows you to quickly build and put in shape these different types of posts of content and this is why Jupiter was the perfect choice for me. It’s much more the fact that you need to personalize the way that you display the content. My blog has 30% traffic coming from mobile devices, tablets or smartphones so you also need to be able to build certain posts where you have specific elements that are dedicated to mobiles and others that are dedicated to desktops. This way, you can basically choose whatever you want to display on one platform and not on the other one. That will keep your content relevant not only to the specific user group but also to the means of how they access your blog.
To be able to create all of those different style posts, you need to have a tool that allows you to quickly build and put in shape these different types of posts of content and this is why Jupiter was the perfect choice for me.
The power of buttons!
A blog is not only a place to share information–it is also a call to action. Certain simple features can make a dramatic difference when it comes to user engagement and leads. For example, if you’re recommending services/products or want to guide your readers into a certain direction to use your services, CTA buttons are not only going to make it easier for the reader to detect and access those services, but they’ll generate more overall conversions for you and your collaborators. You’ll inevitably need to add plugins so having a theme that reduces the amount of plugins you need and is compatible with the rest will save you a headache.
Christine: And are there any examples of how to set up your text, or for example, putting a CTA or using different plugins that you found to be really helpful for your blog site?
Bruce: The different types of CTAs that I’m using are plain text links inside the content and inside the blog post, buttons—LOTS of buttons and you can put them either in the middle of your content in the actual blog post or at the end to reinforce something you’ve explained or if you’re recommending a specific service or product to your audience, then you can add these specific call to actions and text to your blog post.
Christine: Have you found that Jupiter works well with the different plugins that are most commonly used for blog websites?
Bruce: Yes, the best SEO plugins that me and many other bloggers and WordPress users are using are working really well with Jupiter. Nowadays I’ve limited my plugin use to a very short list so I have one for SEO and emailing and the rest of the capabilities I can achieve using Jupiter. Something also worth mentioning about plugins is that oftentimes when you’re creating a WordPress theme you need to include many different plugins to expand its capabilities. You’ll find that sometimes all of the plugins are not working very well together so try to avoid installing dozens of plugins that will make your website messy once you want to update the WP version or theme version. You need to carefully make sure that everything is aligned and ready to get updated before you press the update button otherwise you’ll end up messing up your site. I’ve done it many times and had many panicked moments that I wouldn’t want any of my other fellow bloggers to experience.
A Blog a Day Helps Your Readers to Stay
A website is not a book. Seems obvious, but there is a danger to thinking that both, once published, are complete. However, a website is a living thing, and should always be a work in progress. As Bruce Deschamps has shared with us, a relevant, catchy blog can be an integral part of your business scaling and marketing campaign. As he has learned by experience, make sure it is backed by a strong support team, and within a theme whose infrastructure and features allow you to curate content for different purposes and platforms.