Why You Should Start a Blog to Promote Your Online Course Business10 minute read
Businesses that use a blog as part of their marketing strategy in 2021 can increase their ability to generate leads by 126%.
The benefits of starting a blog for your online course business are not just monetary: a blog can help you retain students, establish your expertise and increase credibility for your brand.
So if you are asking yourself whether it’s time for you to start a blog, the answer is yes!
In today’s article, we will walk you through the main benefits that a blog can bring to your online course business, a few important SEO rules to consider, and how to start your own blog today.
Benefits of Promoting Your Online Course with a Blog
86% of content creators use blogs as part of their marketing strategy.
However, many online course creators dismiss blogging. They think that offering free content would be counterproductive and affect their online course’s sales.
The question creators ask when it comes to blogging is “If I give out my content for free, why would anyone buy my online course?”
While this is a fair point, it should not be a problem if you treat your blog only as a “preview” of your online course. By giving out a fraction of free valuable content, you’ll prove yourself as an expert in the field, teasing your audience to learn more from you, hence purchase your course.
Let’s see all the main benefits of starting a blog to promote your online course.
#1. It helps to drive organic traffic to your website
If you don’t have a large audience, getting traffic to your website can be challenging, especially if you want to do it for free.
Related: check out this guide on how to create a website.
Posting new content for your blog regularly will help you to gain more visitors and traffic on your site organically.
But how does it work exactly?
Every time you write a new article or publish blog content, you create a new web page for your site. The more indexed pages you have, the more chances you have to rank on search engines for certain keywords, making it easier for you to attract visitors.
Blogging is a simple way to generate more traffic for your website, as you are constantly updating, publishing, and promoting new content.
That said, you will not magically show up on the first page of Google after you publish your first blog post. You will need to spend time and publish new content consistently before you can gain the first results.
#2. It establishes your credibility as an expert
Releasing free and valuable content related to your niche of interest is a great way to showcase your expertise to new visitors.
As you blog about the topic you are most knowledgeable about, potential customers will start to recognize you as an authority in the niche. This recognition will allow you to gain their trust and secure more students for your online course.
Blogging does not only help you to convince people about your ability, it also lets Google and other search engines know about your area of expertise. This leads to better SEO for your website and the chance to rank higher in searches related to your topic of interest.
#3. It can increase your sales
55% of marketers consider blogs to be the most successful type of content when moving potential clients through their sales funnel.
In other words, a comprehensive blog can provide the resources necessary to turn visitors into customers by reassuring them about your expertise and giving them free, valuable information.
Learn more about how to create a customer journey and value ladder for your business, to turn first time visitor into loyal customers in this article from our blog: The Value Ladder: How to Improve Online Course Sales by Segmenting Your Audience and Product Offering
Every blog post you publish is an opportunity to gain new sales leads. The blog itself may not be the reason why someone purchases your online course, but it sure can help to get the process started.
Make sure you insert a call to action in your blog and within the articles, where potential customers can give your their email address in exchange for a lead magnet (could be a video, a PDF, a short lesson…). Once you get their email address, you can keep promoting your online course through email marketing.
This is not an immediate process, and it does take time and effort. However, building a blog can definitely help you to increase your sales in the long run.
#4. It provides additional resources for your students
Potential customers are not the only ones who get to benefit from your blog, as it can provide an additional resource for your current students as well.
A blog can help you to retain students, increase their loyalty and trust towards your business and introduce them to other product offerings.
If they subscribe to your newsletter, make sure to notify them once one or a few articles are published in your blog. Not only will it help you raise traffic, but it will also keep your customers engaged with your brand and create a sense of community.
#5. It’s Free!
That’s right. It costs nothing to start a blog. The only investment you need to make is time and patience.
In order for your blog to bring the first results, it can take months of consistent posting (the higher amount of articles you publish, the better the results in terms of SEO).
Also, writing takes time and search engines generally prefer longer articles (more than 1000 words is generally better).
So if you are willing to put in the time and effort to start a blog, it will be definitely worth your while.
A Few SEO Rules for a Successful Blog
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is that one thing that sets all the rules for the visibility and traffic on your website.
70% of online marketers say that content creation (i.e. blog posting) is their most effective SEO strategy.
Search engines like Google often update their algorithm to keep the platform competitive. However, here are some of the most known rules for an SEO friendly blog:
1. Post Frequently and Consistently
The number of pages on your website and your posting frequency determine how often Google and other search engines will check on your page.
The more blog posts you have, the more likely you are to rank higher on Google.
Studies have shown that after hitting 52 blog posts, the traffic rate on your website can increase up to 77%.
The frequency and consistency of when you post new blog articles also increase your chances of ranking higher. Depending on your business and type of blog, a good rate is to post one or more articles per week.
2. Write Long Articles
Another important rule for good SEO is to publish long content and articles. By increasing the text in your web pages, it will be easier for search engines like Google to understand your blog’s content and attribute it to the right niche.
Generally speaking, articles with 1,000 words and more perform better in terms of SEO.
So when it comes to the length of your blog posts, the higher, the better. Studies show that articles with 3,000 or more words generate the best results.
3. Pay Attention to Keywords
How can you let Google know where to position your website?
Although the mystery behind Google’s algorithm has not been fully uncovered yet, using the right keywords can help your website rank in the right places.
The goal of search engines is to showcase the most relevant content for each search: by using the right keywords in your blog posts, you are assigning importance to those keywords, hence letting Google know what your content is about.
So before publishing your blog post, do some research to find out what keywords are relevant in your niche, what people are searching for, and how difficult it is to rank for those keywords.
A simple way to find out if you are using the right keywords is to paste the title of your blog post on the Google search bar. If the results you see are similar to your content, then you know that the keywords are relevant.
Now, where exactly should you place your keywords?
Other than in your text, it is important that your title, headlines, page URL, and meta description are filled with relevant keywords.
4. Get Backlinks to Your Site
What are backlinks?
Backlinks (also known as external links or inbound links) are links located in various places of the internet that redirect to your site. If someone mentions your website on their blog, site, social media, or other places on the internet, you will get a backlink. The more backlinks you have, the better your SEO and the higher your ranking.
Backlinks are extremely valuable for SEO: if a lot of people refer to your site, search engines will attribute higher importance to your content.
How do you get more backlinks?
There are many ways to increase the number of backlinks to your website: this is not an overnight process and might show results in the long term. The easiest way for you to increase the number of backlinks is to create social media accounts for your business. As social media are websites at their core, any links you post on Facebook or other social media will count as backlinks.
Focus on creating valuable content that others might want to share, and promote your blog posts (we will go into details about promoting your blog later).
Look out for other bloggers who posted content relevant to your business, and try contacting them for a backlink. They might expect something in return, from posting a backlink for their site as well, to paying a fee.
There are many other ways you can leverage to increase the number of backlinks to your site: partnerships, guest posting, being interviewed on a podcast or blog, commenting on other blog posts, participating in forums, the list goes on, and you can get creative about it!
5. Promote Your Blog
Creating a blog will help you promote your online course. But to do that successfully, you also have to promote the blog itself.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be an exhausting process: whatever marketing strategy you are already using to promote your business, just add in your blog posts as well.
So share your blog posts on social media, send an email newsletter to your list once you publish a new article, look for online communities in your niche and share your content to them, do guest posting, influencer marketing, and so on.
If you wish to learn more about different ways to promote your business (or blog) both for free or with paid advertising, check out this article: A Complete Guide on How to Promote Your Online Course and Boost Sales
Another valid way to promote your blog is to repurpose content in different outlets. Your blog posts could become youtube videos, Instagram stories, Facebook posts, Quora answers, and so on. By doing this, you are reaching different audiences with very low effort (and you are creating more backlinks to your site).
Should You Start Your Own Blog or Do Guest Posting?
Until this point in the article, we have focused on creating your own blog to promote an online course business. But what about guest blogging?
Guest blogging means writing articles and blog posts for someone else to publish on their websites. The main goal of a guest post is to receive a link back to your site, get your name out there, and promote your business through another blog (possibly with higher traffic volume and a bigger audience).
Both guest blogging and starting your own blog have pros and cons, let’s see what they are so you can choose the best method for your business.
Starting your own blog: the pros
Let’s recap all the main benefits of starting your own blog:
- Long-term benefits: starting your own blog is an investment of time and effort which will pay of in the long run. The more content you add to your blog, the more traffic you will receive in the future.
- Higher credibility: writing about a topic will allow others to see you as an expert in your niche.
- Better SEO for your website: adding articles to your blog means adding pages, content and keywords to your website, which leads to better SEO, higher Google rankings and higher traffic.
- Control over your content: it’s your blog, your website and you decide what to write about and what kind of content to promote.
- Completely free to do: nobody will charge you for publishing an article through your own blog.
Starting your own blog: the cons
- You will need to put in a lot of time and long hours to write compelling articles, brainstorm new content ideas, and research about a topic.
- Few immediate results: your blog will not make you popular from one day to the next, to gain the first tangible results, you will need to wait months of consistent efforts
Guest blogging: the pros
- No hard work involved: with guest blogging, all you need to do is write one article. You don’t have to build pages and pages of content over time and work hard to promote them.
- Immediate results: if the blog that is publishing your article is very popular and has a high level of engagement and traffic, it will be easier for you to obtain more immediate results, rather than posting it yourself.
- Backlinks: guest blogging is a great way to accumulate backlinks to your site. The more backlinks you have, and especially if they come from “reputable” sources, the better your SEO and search rankings will get.
Guest blogging: the cons
- No long-term results: publishing a guest blog post on a high-profile website with a large audience will grant you better immediate results in terms of traffic and visibility, but it will not play well in the long term as creating your own blog would.
- Less control over content: as you are publishing an article in someone else’s blog, they will most likely have some rules in place to determine what kind of content to submit. You will not have the same freedom in deciding what to write, what links to insert, and how much you can self-promote your product.
- It may be hard to find opportunities for guest blogging: finding the right blog where to post your guest content is not easy. There are many factors that may affect your success in finding the right website to host your blog post: their audience type and size, their content and niche, their terms for guest blogging, and more.
- Harder to promote: as you have very little control over the content to submit for a guest post, it will also be promoted on your host’s terms.
- Less SEO impact: while guest blogging is great for generating more backlinks to your site, the overall SEO impact cannot be compared to starting your own blog.
How to Start a Blog for Your Online Course with Heights Platform
If you are an online course creator, it is understandable that your blog is not your main priority. So the thought of having to find a hosting platform or develop your blog yourself can be demotivating.
Fortunately for you, at Heights we have created a built-in blog available for all our creators.
With our blog feature, you can easily publish blog articles from the same platform where you build your online course: there is no added cost, all you have to do is write the articles!Start a Blog with Heights Platform
You’ll have access to SEO features like creating a custom meta description, post URL, customizing the HTML of every blog article, and more.
With Heights Platform’s built-in blog software for creators, you have the option to upload content, choose professional pictures to embed from Unsplash’s free library, customize headlines and titles, and much more, to create a professional and SEO-friendly blog. (In fact, the blog you are reading right now is built with Heights Platform's blog feature!)
If you are not one of our creators already, now is the time to start an online knowledge business!