Building beautiful blogs

From driving traffic to your website to establishing yourself as an industry expert, blogs are an effective and inexpensive way to promote your app and its integration with Xero. To get you started, we’ve put together some tips and tricks on how to write a great blog.

Before you start

  • Know what you want to achieve

  • Is it to promote your brand? Uncover new leads? Or to be known as an expert in your industry? Also, think about what you want your audience to do after reading the post, and what you want them to know that they didn’t before.
  • Know your audience

  • To give them great content, it helps to understand their industry, demographic, role (are you writing for a marketer, a CEO or a developer?) and the pain points/challenges they face running their business or carrying out their jobs.
  • Choose a strong angle

  • When choosing a topic think about the unique insights you can offer your audience that no one else can, especially when it comes to solving your audience's specific challenges.
  • Optimise for search and social

  • Take advantage of freely available tools like Google Keyword planner and Google Trends to find out what topics your audience looks for, and include keywords in your headline and content so your blog is found in Google searches.
  • Make a plan

  • Create an outline and working title to help you stay on track as you write.
  • Research

  • Even if you’re a topic expect, providing facts and figures from external sources to support your points will give them gravitas.
  • Stuck for ideas?

  • Your blog could provide advice, tips and tricks, insights into new product features, or even recap what you learnt at a recent event. For some inspiration and ideas, have a look at some of Xero’s blog posts.

Now for the writing

Start with a compelling intro

  • Use your introduction to let the audience know what to expect from the article and how it will address a problem they have. This gives the reader a reason to keep reading.
  • The intro is your chance to grab the reader's attention. Injecting a surprising fact, some humour, an anecdote, or even a question can help.

The body of the blog post

  • This is the meat of the article. It’s where you can include supporting information, data, stories and quotes to expand on your initial statement.
  • Assume this is the first post a person has read on your site and give them the background information they need to understand what you’re talking about.
  • Make sure you cover everything the reader needs to know and use references or links to further information where applicable.
  • Stick to the point. Keeping sentences and paragraphs short and easy to read. And try not to use a big word if a smaller one will do in its place.

The conclusion

  • Summarise what was covered in a nutshell and make sure you include a call to action at the end. This could be anything from signing up to a free trial of your app, or registering for a webinar or event.

You’re not quite finished yet

Polish your post

  • Go over your article again and check for readability and errors. It pays to have a colleague proofread it too.
  • Write a headline

  • Keep the length of your headline down to no more than 65 characters, otherwise Google will truncate it on its search engine results pages. To make it punchy, trying adding alliteration, numbers, (eg, Five ways to...), trigger words (eg, what, why, how), or interesting adjectives.
  • Add imagery

  • Choose something readers relate too. Images help break up text and grab attention.
  • Get the length right

  • Typically a blog post can be anywhere between 300 and 1,000 words. Ideally aim for around 600 words, but use the number of words you need to to get your point across in the most succinct way as possible.

Promote your content to the world

Use your own channels

  • Make sure you promote our blog on any channels you already own, such as your company blog, website and social media.

    Think about your links

  • Make sure you link to Xero (including XTID referral tracking) and your own website to help boost organic search, and look for opportunities to get links back to your blog post.
  • Ask influencers to share

  • Start with encouraging your own team to share the post on social media and be sure to share it on your internal networks. Reach out to any influential customers, or brand ambassadors to ask if they’ll share it too. Check out our social media success guide for more ways to boost readership.