Before you start writing your equine business blog, you need to think about a few more things.
#1 Blog Title
Ideally, your blog should have a title. I made my blog title a play on words of my website title, but you can use anything you like. While it's nice if you can include common words readers might use in searching for information (e.g., "Posh Ponies" or "Show Braiding Bosses"), it's not absolutely necessary, as long as the actual content of your blog is SEO friendly.
Don't make your title so long that it takes up too much space in your blog header. Think too about how it would look with a ".com" after it, should you decide to give your blog its own domain.
Before deciding on your blog title, do a quick Internet search, and make sure no one else is using the same title, to avoid both confusion and copyright issues.
Most blog pages are set up with a sidebar along the right margin. Use your sidebar to give your name, in case a reader forgets it, as well as a paragraph or two summarizing what your blog is about.
Below the sidebar, most pre-formatted blogs also include categories. As you write your blog posts, tag them with categories that apply to the subject matter, so readers can find topics of interest straight away on your blog's homepage.
Try not to go too crazy with dozens of tags for each post, which will only complicate matters. For example, if you write a post about training horses to load in a trailer, you can tag it with "trailer," "loading," and "training." Extra tags might be "travel" or "transport." Anything more is likely to be unnecessary.
#4 Email Capture
Your blog should eventually have an email capture bar on its homepage. At the start, it may be overwhelming to add this, but once you have a few readers, get them signed up on a subscriber list ASAP.
Let readers know why you are asking for their email address, and be sure to tell them you will not share that address with anyone else.
Once you have an email list, you can use it to promote clinics, announce show results, offer special discounts, or send a monthly newsletter. You can also use it to let readers know every time a new blog post runs on your site.
While some readers will sign up simply because they enjoy reading your blog, others may be more willing if you offer what is known as a lead magnet--a downloadable freebie in exchange for their address. This can be a coupon, a tip sheet, or even an ebook.
Your email capture will need to be linked to an email service, like MailChimp. When readers sign up to subscribe to your blog, they will automatically get a welcome letter. You can use the service later to send out the aforementioned notices whenever you like.
To create visual interest in your blog posts and to make them easy to share via social media, you'll want to include images.
As you can see in my blog posts, I enjoy using historic and artistic images of horses and equestrian stuff.
You can take your own photos, use paid stock photography, or get images from free sites, like Wikimedia Commons. Just make sure you have the right to use any images you include in your blog.
Just because images are free doesn't mean they don't need attribution, which gives the name of the photographer, artist, or source. Also, even photographs you take yourself need a release form for every person in the picture, giving you permission to use their likeness.
Images can help break up a big wall of text, as can paragraphs. Do you ever read things online (Facebook posts are notorious for this) in which the author goes on and on and on forever without any space? Don't do that to your readers!
Make paragraphs about 3-4 sentences, and use other elements to provide white space (AKA verticality) in your posts. Subheadings, like the numbered titles in this post, or bullet lists are an ideal way to do this.
Finally, make sure your font size and the font itself are legible, and don't center your text. Instead, align it with the left margin for greater readability.
Putting together a blog requires lots of attention to small details at first, which can be challenging, especially if you are pressed for time. For more help with your blog, contact me at Seaside Scribe, and we can get you up and running in no time.
What's your greatest challenge when it comes to blogging? Is it finding the time? Developing topic ideas? Confidence? Leave a comment below. I bet you'll find you're not alone and that meeting your blogging goals is easier than you thought once you have a plan and a support system.