Blogging, Email Lists, and Printable Planners
Yes, this is a blog about blogging, and yes I know that is ironic. Will it be useful information? Yes! Even if you think of yourself as an entrepreneur and not a blogger, did you know that having a blog for your business can be an amazing tool? Not only can you share about your product in your posts, but you can also create and grow an email list, build up your website's SEO, and serve your readers by providing free content. This, in turn, will earn the trust of your readers and encourage them to make a purchase when you offer a paid-for item.
Origins of the Modern Blog
The word blog comes from web and log. Originally weblog, and later shortened to blog in the early 1990s. Here is a little back history on the origins of the modern blog from Wikipedia: “While the term "blog" was not coined until the late 1990s, the history of blogging starts with several digital precursors to it. Before "blogging" became popular, digital communities took many forms, including Usenet, commercial online services such as GEnie, BiX and the early CompuServe, e-mail lists and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS). In the 1990s, Internet forum software, such as WebEx, created running conversations with "threads". Threads are topical connections between messages on a metaphorical "corkboard". Some[specify] have likened blogging to the Mass-Observation project of the mid-20th century.”
Early blogs, more commonly known as web diaries, typically were written by individuals about themselves and their experiences in daily life, much like a paper journal. As web diaries evolved into message boards and discussion forums, key personalities started to emerge online as entertainers. These folks started to gain a following, and the modern blog was born.
SEO and Keywords
Now that we have covered where blogs come from, let’s get into why they are important in modern business. The importance comes from the content they provide for your website, particularly in regards to search engines and SEO.
Most people are familiar with the term SEO, but what exactly does it mean? “SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” - moz.com
SEO and Keywords go hand in hand. Keywords are specific words or phrases that you purposefully and meaningfully include in your online content and blogs. The idea being that these Keywords are relevant to what you do, or sell, online. When people look for these terms with a search engine, like Google, sites containing them will be listed.
There is much more to SEO, and there are many other factors that go into how search engines pick and list results. However, Keywords are a great place to start. Google provides a free tool that allows you to analyze Keywords called Keyword Planner. The best Keywords have a high average monthly search rate with low competition.
If you are new to Keywords and SEO, you should also know about metadata. Metadata is essentially basic information about your website that is used by search engines. Along with including your relevant Keywords on your website and in your blog content, you will want to include them in the meta keyword section of your website’s HTML. You can learn more about that here.
The Importance of Building Lists
Obviously, blogs are important because they are a useful tool to increase traffic to your website. However, there is another benefit from blogs that is even more important; email lists. Most blogs have an opt-in field asking you to subscribe to the blog by inputting your email address. This system of “email capture” and list building is incredibly valuable. Captured emails can be used in marketing campaigns to drive sales, or to help ensure that your readers continue to visit your blog.
One major mistake that inexperienced bloggers make is the idea that quantity is better than quality. This is a huge pitfall that should be avoided. It is important to blog consistently so that you are releasing new content on a regular basis. However, if the quality of your blog is low, nobody will want to read it, and nobody will subscribe and give you their email.
A popular and effective method of enticing readers to subscribe is providing incentive. For example, if you sell something on your website you could offer a discount code that you will email to the reader after they subscribe. While this is not a bad approach, it depends on the reader actually being interested in buying your product.
Leveraging Free Printables
An even better method of encouraging your readers to hand out their emails is offering them something for free. Printables and digital guides are fantastic offerings. For example, if you blog about how better time management will lead to success in business and family life, you could offer a free printable planner. There are a lot of free printables and guides out there.
Printable planners have become particularly popular. This is probably due to the increase in the popularity of paper planners in the last few years. You can read more about that in my previous blog post: Paper Planners Thrive, Despite The Digital Age. Many people are also selling custom designed printable planners through their websites and blogs. It is a great way to monetize a popular blog with very low overhead. Upper-end ring bound paper planners have also had a boom in the last few years and there are tons of planner flip through videos on YouTube to prove it.
I hope this article has been useful, informative, or has inspired you to go blog! If you sell planners or are interested in how printable planners could help your business, check out our marketing platform specifically designed for planners!