Knowing how to write a successful blog post is core to running a business — without one, you’re missing out on the chance to look like a thought leader in your industry (not to mention the extra clients that’ll find you through your writing). Most entrepreneurs understand that, and so they dump a ton of money into their online presence: they’ll load up on fancy graphics, they’ll write some copy, and then they’ll set it into the wild.
Yet, few business owners actually bother to ask what the return on investment (ROI) of their blog actually is.
ROI is something that entrepreneurs are constantly concerned with for every other area of their business, but their website content? Often, despite how important it is, they just don’t know what analytics they should be watching (or what they should do about them if they aren’t up to par).
Worse, many see running a blog as a “fire and forget” sort of process, which is, quite frankly, terrible — and a waste of what could be a powerful tool for generating new business. So, how do you measure ROI — and what can you do to increase your blog’s ROI?
How to Write a Successful Blog Post: 1st, Learn What Doesn’t Work
Here’s a common scenario: a business owner tosses up a few blog posts, continues posting sporadically for a few months, doesn’t generate any new business from the blog and ultimately gives up. The blog sits dormant on the website. It’s a failed experiment.
What’s happening here is likely a combination of two problems: the business owner isn’t tracking any key performance indicators (KPIs), and the business doesn’t have a decent blog content writing strategy — or any strategy, period.
In essence, it isn't enough to just write any old blog post and expect it to do well. You need to learn how to write a successful blog post.
Let’s tackle KPIs first.
How to Measure ROI by Tracking Key Performance Indicators
There good news is there are a lot of tools (many of them free) you can use to track how your blog is performing. On the downside, there are so many of them, it’s easy to get overwhelmed — especially when you’re just starting out.
Fortunately, some of the best KPI tools pack a powerful punch when it comes to giving you a variety of information. Here are some tried and true ways to see how your blog is performing:
Google Analytics is a free tool that offers a wealth of data you can use to calculate your blog’s ROI. With it, you can see where your blog’s traffic is coming from, how many overall visits you receive, your top viewed posts and even how long visitors stay on your site.
With one tool, you’ve already measured four KPIs for your blog. And Google Analytics is capable of tracking much, much more. If you're learning how to write a successful blog post, you should also be learning how to use Google Analytics.
If you want to know how to write a successful blog, we suggest starting with SEMrush. SEMrush is a paid tool (it’ll cost you around $99/month but it’s worth every penny – and you’ll get a free week to check it out if you click the affiliate link).
SEMRush is well worth the investment, as it allows you to see which keywords you’re currently ranking for, and to identify new keywords you’d like to target. You want to watch these numbers on a VERY regular basis.
If you’re already ranking for keywords, SEMrush will also show you their total ad value (what you’d have to pay to achieve the same results in AdWords). You can also see how your competitors are doing, and compare your domain side by side with others.
As you can see from the above screenshot, SEMRush puts a ton of data at your fingertips in a format that’s well-organized and easy to understand. And once you have the data you need, you can easily analyze it by exporting it to an Excel spreadsheet directly from the tool — you can even use our template.
BuzzSumo offers both free and paid versions, with the paid version giving you the ability to see how your blog content is performing across all social channels in a single, easy to understand report. You can also view how many backlinks your posts receive, so you can identify which types of content perform better than others.
You can also analyze content by topic or domain, and you can filter your results to see what’s being shared by date and content type.
How to Create a Solid Blog Content Writing Strategy
Of course, tracking the KPIs of your blog posts won’t do your business much good if you’re not producing blog content designed to convert. As we wrote in our post explaining how to write blog content that brings in business, blog posts and content marketing can often net you much higher ROI than social media or digital PR.
Writing effective blog content isn’t easy, which is why many businesses outsource their blog content writing to professionals (like us!). If that’s not in your budget, or you just prefer a more hands-on approach, there are several things you can do to boost the quality of your posts and, in turn, improve your blog’s ROI.
1) Write Useful, Well-Written Blog Posts.
The “build it and they will come” mentality worked great for Kevin Costner’s character in “Field of Dreams,” but it turns out it’s not so hot when it comes to blog content writing.
In other words, simply throwing a blog on your company’s website doesn’t mean people will find it — or stay long if they do. Likewise, pumping out posts with no strategy behind them won’t drive traffic to your site.
Not only should your blog’s content be properly punctuated and free of grammatical errors, it should be optimized for SEO. Before you write, you should have already researched keywords and identified which ones you want to target.
These keywords should appear throughout your post without straying into keyword-stuffing territory. As Neil Patel points out over at his Quick Sprout blog, bad SEO techniques like writing spammy content and loading a post with too many keywords will hurt you.
It’s also important to pay attention to the overall structure of your posts. Break up the text into smaller chunks, and use headers (which should include your keywords whenever possible). You can also make your posts more interesting and visually appealing by including charts, graphs and images where appropriate.
See what we did there?
2) Include Evergreen Content.
When you’re writing blogs for SEO, you can’t go wrong with evergreen content, which is designed to be relevant over the long haul. By contrast, posts that discuss current events can quickly disappear. Something might be popular in the news today, but will people still be searching for it a year from now? What about five?
For example, a personal injury law firm will see much better SERP rankings by posting blogs that provide answers to common questions people will always ask, such as “what should I do after a car accident?” or “how long will my case take?”
When you give your posts staying power, they can continue working for you long after you’ve published them.
With that said, if you’re trying to write a successful blog for a specific industry, you can gain a bit of credibility (and momentum) by touching on heavy-hitting events in your industry. Things like conferences, big software rollouts, and other newsworthy events are worth talking about (though you probably shouldn’t spend too much energy on these kinds of posts if you don’t think they’ll have much of a life after a month or two).
3) Revise, Update and Revamp Existing Blog Posts.
When you remodel a home, it’s much cheaper and more practical to update the carpet and apply a fresh coat of paint than it is to tear the whole thing down and start from scratch.
Similarly, updating and refreshing your existing blog posts is easier and faster than writing entirely new content.
Look over the posts that have been on your site for a while. Chances are, they could use some updating and refreshing. To do this, follow the steps in our guide to revamping existing blog content, which shows you how to use Google Analytics to find the top landing pages on your site.
Don’t just focus on posts that are doing poorly: monitor your posts and see if you have any that are almost on the front page. If you do, go back and add more content to them. This is how you write a successful blog post: not just by tossing it up and hoping for the best, but going back and updating your work continuously.
And it’s not just blog posts that can benefit from a little extra lovin’. You can use the same strategy for other pages on your site, such as product pages or your about us page.
4) Promote Your Content on Social Channels.
You’ve targeted good keywords, you’ve written and posted great content and now … crickets. Learning how to write a successful blog post and improving your blog’s ROI will always be a work in progress, because algorithms and tools are always changing. Also, it'll probably take a few months to start seeing your efforts pay off (in fact, we tell our clients that it takes at least 3 months for SEO efforts to start to really kick in).
One way to help things along is to share your content on social media. By using social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you can connect with your intended audience and build a following.
Just like learning how to write a successful blog post, however, social media management (SMM) is not easy. The posts and tweets and shares you see on companies’ social channels may sound breezy and fun, but they’re the result of in-depth research and hours of work.
Businesses of all sizes use digital PR and marketing pros to research and develop social media trends, stats and strategies. As the annals of internet history show, social media blunders can cost companies big, and savvy social instincts can pay off even bigger.
If your budget doesn’t allow for professional SMM, you can still learn from the pros by reading up on social media dos and don’ts, Facebook marketing fails to avoid and six steps to effective social media marketing.
And your SMM doesn’t have to start and stop with heavy hitters like Facebook. If you think different social media channels might be a better fit for your type of business, check out our tips for Instagram marketing, hosting your own Twitter chats and marketing your business on Reddit.
4) Consider Online SEO Training.
We write a lot about the importance of SEO, but getting search engine optimization right takes training and practice. We've made it easier by offering online, self-paced SEO training that teaches you best practices for keyword research, backend SEO, content strategy, and more. Try it out with our free webinar, then enroll in our digital SEO course!
Ready to Improve Your Blog’s ROI?
The reality is that most blogs fail — something that’s true for both personal and company blogs. On the business side, many business owners give up on blogging shortly after they begin. In some cases, they don’t have the skill (or desire) to create effective blog content. Others simply don’t have time to blog consistently.
Just because blog content writing isn’t in your skillset, however, doesn’t mean your business can’t use blogging as a powerful marketing tool. The good news is, you don't actually have to learn how to write a successful blog post to have a successful blog – you can offload the work to an SEO agency.
When you outsource your blog content writing to a professional SEO and content marketing agency, you can reap the benefits of blogging while focusing your efforts on the things you do best. Contact us to learn more.
Are there any particular free tools you would recommend to track the KPIs and ROI on blogs? WordPress blogs in particular. Apart from GA as that is the obvious one. Perhaps a free plugin to track some of the important parameters.
Google Analytics are definitely the best free resource – beyond that, it’s either going to cost some money to dig into the details or you’re going to spend A LOT of time trying to manually track and find the info. If SEO is your primary goal, I’d invest in Moz or SEMrush first to track keyword rankings and ROI. If tracking influencers and how your content is shared is more important, I’d invest in BuzzSumo first. Ideally, you’ll have at least both of those to track your progress.
Thanks Kari, I am using MOZ and GA at the moment but I’ll take your advice about BizzSumo and see if it is feasible for us in the short and long term.
I have just finished the post “How to Write a Successful Blog Post & Measure Blog ROI”, and it is honestly one of the best posts I’ve ever read. I appreciate your concern about educating people in this realm.
It’s funny because this post itself is a perfect example of how to write a great blog post. You’re leading by example! 😉
Thanks, Fred! Glad you found it to be helpful 🙂
Which of the KPI tools would you suggest is the best for beginners? As for easy to get a handle & works in tracking the performance of the blog
We like SEMrush and Google Analytics – start there and build out your tracking once you’ve gotten those two down.
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