By Kelly C. Jones
If you know anything about SEO you know that blogs are inherently SEO friendly. They have a lateral navigation that is conducive to indexing, they include keyword tags, they frequently have inbound and outbound links, they have subscription and syndication capabilities and it is a way to update content to your site continually without having to have much technical knowledge.
The hang up with blogs is that sometimes they aren’t right for every business. If you’re blogging for business, the goals for your blog should be defined before you invest too many resources blindly. For SEO purposes, and getting noticed, blogs can help increase traffic to your site. Many times owners are too busy running their business to put the effort into search engine optimization and an online presence with authority. That is why as an SEO consultant it’s your job to get creative. You must step outside the blog box in order to generated excitement from the client about making the commitment to continually invest time into updating their site. So I present to you 7 ideas that are non-blogs, but take advantage of all the blogging benefits.
- Turn your blog into a guestbook. Have a rental property or vacation home rental web site? Print up some cool inexpensive business cards (example: www.moo.com) that advertise your guest-blog. The cards can provide an e-mail address that guests can submit what they would traditionally write in a guestbook. A book just like the one that would sit on the house’s coffee table. Ask them to include links or attachments to any videos or photos they’d like to share from their trip. Then the work compiling these items is minimal. The e-mail system allows you to review the comments and pictures before allowing them to go live on the web. I would recommend writing a guestbook policy and displaying it on the blog. Make your own rules, and be fully transparent. If you censor posts that are unfavorable be fully transparent about this.
- Have a photo contest. This concept could go so many ways. You could hold a contest for the best picture where people are wearing a company t-shirt. This is also a great opportunity and place to sell company shirts. Developing an interface for people to upload their own content before you approve it could be difficult, but you could just set up a gmail account for the photo submissions and upload the appropriate ones manually. Have people vote for the photos in the comments section.
- Create a press center. This suggestion is not new, but is still very useful. Categorize the different types of news your company may have, and house press releases on the blog. The tags, link capabilities, and photo uploads make it easy to create a social media press release. The more multimedia you have the more areas you may be able to cover in universal search with your keywords. Please just try to write about news that is actually newsworthy. Remember quality content will make people come back for more and generate links.
- Create a portfolio. Turn a blog into your portfolio. WordPress allows you to create multiple pages. You could use the blog as a database for your work. You could make each category a page or tag each item with predetermined category tags for organization. Upload your work into a post, add pictures and descriptions, and voila! you have a Web site that shows the world who you are and what you do.
- Create a gallery that shows you make a difference. Along the same lines of a portfolio you could use posts to display your “before and after” shots. This would work if you were an interior designer, a dentist, personal trainer, plastic surgeon, etc. The posts could consist of pictures that display the quality and innovation of your work.
- Create a consumer case-study. Are you a car dealership? Sponsor someone to go on a road trip with one of your cars and have them write about it. Here’s another opportunity to utilize multi-media. Again, full disclosure and transparency are imperative. If you choose to have someone blog about how great your car is, but don’t disclose that you are sponsoring them, don’t even implement this idea. In fact, get out of the social media space.
- Create a video portal. For a lot of business owners, selling is a lot easier than creating content that others could actually use. I’m not a fan of using a blog as an outright advertisement, but if you establish it as such it may actually work. Motivating clients to create content is a lot easier when they can see the marketing value for their products. While you may have a YouTube or Vimeo page, use the blog format to display your videos as an extension of your Web site. Upload video demonstrations of your products or videos of people using your products. If nothing else, it helps inform consumer of what you have to offer.
These examples will utilize the SEO friendly blog formatting, but are topics that either empower others to generate the content for you or they do not have to be updated constantly.
Of course if you are savvy enough to manipulate the code you can manipulate a blog into looking like a traditional Web site and just use the back-end as a content management system. I just wanted to demonstrate that these ideas can be implemented with little coding knowledge and be very successful in a traditional blog format. Think dynamically about these ideas and morph them into projects that would serve you. What ideas do you have for an untraditional, non-blog?
This is an entry to Marketing Pilgrim’s 3rd Annual SEM Scholarship contest.