Today, we’re getting into content marketing nuts and bolts: How to set up your company blog so it’s an integral, seamless part of your website.
I often see startups that have beautifully designed websites — and then separate, last-minute blogs that look and read like afterthoughts. It’s unfortunate, because treating your blog like something that’s been tacked on will not get you the results you’re hoping for.
I think a lot of tech companies in particular end up with afterthought blogs because they have talented developers in-house who build home-grown, hand-coded websites. Then, they add a separate WordPress blog on its own subdomain (blog.mywebsite.com). These blogs often have a completely separate design, navigation and domain.
Your blog needs to be an integral part of your site design from the very beginning. This might seem like a petty detail, but integrating your blog into your website is important for a successful content marketing strategy. Here’s why.
It Offers a Consistent User Experience
Your blog is the first place prospects and interested people can look to see what you’re thinking. On most site heatmaps, I see users heading straight for the blog. That’s where they can get a quick snapshot of what you think, what you’re doing, and how you’re telling your story.
There’s also a good chance they’re going to find your site via your blog, if you’re regularly publishing SEO-friendly content.
To keep your story consistent, your blog should have same navigation and user experience as the other pages on your website.
It Boosts SEO the Right Way
Warning: I’m going to get nerdy here for a second. Let’s talk subdirectories versus subdomains. A blog that’s set up as a subdirectory has a URL that looks like this: www.mysite.com/blog. A blog that’s a subdomain would be: www.blog.mysite.com.
There’s often a lot of confusion — and strong feelings — about whether it’s better for SEO to organize your pages with a subdirectory or a subdomain. This article from Main Path Marketing explains why you may want to consider one or the other. The answer boils down to how you want search engines and users to view your site.
- Subdirectories keep your content on one site, making it easier for newer sites and smaller companies to establish authority in one area over time. In addition, subdirectories tend to be easier to organize on the back end.
- A blog with its own subdomain actually takes visitors away from your main site, which is exactly the opposite of what you want your content to do. But, here’s the caveat: Adding subdomains may be useful if you want to be seen as an authority or expert in several different topics or geographic areas. If you see yourself selling off parts of your business down the line, it can be easier to uncouple a subdomain.
According to Google itself, the search engine doesn’t give one tactic or the other priority in SEO. Considering your content marketing strategy as a whole can help you decide; for most startups, subdirectories are going to be the best choice.
It Makes Analytics Seamless
You don’t know if your content marketing is working if you don’t track results. I recommend tracking traffic to your website and blog (because, again, they should be the same thing) in a single Google Analytics profile. If you’re tracking traffic to your blog posts and other website pages in the same place, you’ll have an easier time understanding how people find you, what they read and what your blog posts inspire them to do next on your site.
If you’re trying to compare numbers from two different sites, you’ll be looking at entirely different user experiences. The reports you generate won’t be nearly as useful, as you’ll always be guessing at what made your visitors jump between the two domains.