I’ve put together a process to make writing a landscaping blog easier and less intimidating. When applied, writing what you know about will be more enjoyable and get it out of your head faster and onto the website. Through this process, you’ll learn step by step what to do to find the right keywords and how to use them in your landscaping blog. We will cover some blog topics that you can use as a jumping off point to educate and inform your clients. I’ll add suggestions on how to organize your content, so it flows well. Using great photos and illustrations will be discussed and how you should set up the best photo shoot. Easily applied and free resources will be given and finally, how to add SEO to your commercial landscaping blog in strategic places.
Best Landscaping Blog Ideas
Discern what your readers are interested in as it relates to your services two or three months from now. For instance, will they be needing landscape cleanup soon? If so, the topic can center around the areas that you can help within their lawn and garden. You can answer reasonable questions within that topic that include shrubs and tree trimming, fertilization, mulching, raking leaves, cutting back grasses or deadheading perennials. Inform and educate your client on how these maintenance items are performed regularly to keep the lawn and garden clean and disease free. Discuss how frequently they should be done and what time of year. Any frequently asked questions would be an excellent opportunity to integrate into the discussion.
The best landscaping blog topics can be created by pulling out your favorite garden book and skimming through the index. Read the latest magazines on the subject and review the headlines in their table of contents. Industry magazines will have seasonal topics to highlight too. If you’ve just completed a big job, write a case study about the project. State the problem or need the client had, and how it was solved through your landscape services.
If writing a seasonal blog should be written 2-3 months ahead to get indexed and be ready when needed, so it reaches your audience in the search engine results. If you are a seasoned blogger and your website is consistently ranking, then the time would be shorter.
Planning Around Keywords
With the topic in mind, Google keyword planner is commonly used to find SEO competitive keywords, but there are other sources. I use Ubersuggest. It gives a few more whistles and bells that I find helpful. Type in the topic you want to explore, and it will rank the word for competitiveness and other statistics. I try to find and use related keywords that are below 25% in competitiveness to give me a chance in the SEO world. Find the least competitive words to help with better ranking statistics. Keep that list available when you’re writing.
Another place to find searchable and related keywords are to put your text into the search engine and see the list of keyword searches at the bottom of the page. Also, check out what’s ranking at the top of the page and how they have worded their headings and meta descriptions (we’ll come back to this topic later.)
Using a Graphic Organizer
Now that you’ve got your keywords and topic, you’re ready to organize your thoughts. Start out with what your English teacher in middle school called a graphic organizer. A graphic organizer helps you plan the process of writing. For instance, a common one people use to start is answering the questions, who, what, when, where, why and how. Use that planner or write down headings that are relevant to the landscaping blog topic you’re writing about. These headings will guide you when writing the content. Use bullet points just to get it down and organized. You’ll fill in the material later. Using this approach will simplify the process and keep the material arranged and in order. Here is another source if you want to get creative with your writing.
Channel Your Inner Author
Just remember, your English teacher is not looking over your shoulder. You know the topic better than most, so just type it as it comes to your mind while following the headings or organizer order you’ve created. Forget grammatical errors or misspellings. That’s down the list. Just write. If writing intimidates you, you might want to try dictating into a voice memo app on your phone and then transcribing it later. Some people can talk easier than they can write. Whatever works, is the best way for you so go for it!
While you’re writing, your keywords are at the forefront of your mind. Use them wisely and naturally. Write as if you were talking to your client’s face to face or on the phone. You are wanting to convey information to your audience so provide them your best practices and thoughts on the subject. Answer their questions while formulating your blog.
Add any links to outside sources that will reiterate and back up your information. Adding links will not only give your reader more helpful information but also lets Google know that you are on target with the content and making your blog a viable resource to land on. Also, if you have more content on relatable topics that will naturally coincide, add a link to that blog post. This keeps the reader engaged and interested, furthering your authority for more readership.
Always add content that’s interesting, usable and adds value. For instance, infographics, video, an interview, slide deck, how to guide or an ebook can help obtain readership and keep your audience engaged. In the summary of the blog, always have a call to action that you want your readers to do. Give them a way to contact you with a link.
Editing and Polishing the Blog Post
Once your words are on the computer screen, copy and paste them into Grammarly, a great free source that will make this easy. Just imagine having your English teacher there to correct all your mistakes without embarrassing you with those nasty red lines on the paper! That’s right. I use Grammarly as a paid source, but a free version is available to try out. It will show you how to make improvements to your blog piece and guide you with correct spelling, punctuation, and much more. With the paid version, I get a performance indicator that lets me know the word count, reading time, and readability score.
After you’ve made all the edits in Grammarly, step away from it. Come back with fresh eyes. Reread it and edit with precise clarity in mind tighten your wording. Less is more. Say what you mean in as few words as possible. Channel your English teacher and look with a critical eye at the overall content. Is it something that will give information and answer questions while telling them you know what you’re talking about?
Finally, Grammarly has an option to check for plagiarism. With this, you can rest assured that you’re not picking up content from somewhere else and appearing to duplicate it.
If you want to go a step further after you’ve been doing this awhile, check your readability factor score. Grammarly will give you a rating on all your written content. Try to aim for a number between 60-80. If you’re using the Yoast plugin, it coaches you on how to reach this mark. Mainly, you want to aim for a reading level of 12-15-year-olds or a 7th grader. Easy reading makes people read longer. If you’re struggling to get to this score, shorten your sentences and use words with one or two syllables. Right-click on a word in Grammarly, and it will give you a synonym index of other words to use in its place. Hemingway Editor is another free service I use. It will color the sentences that may need attention and help you identify the harder to read sentences that need editing.
Adding the Right Images for Story Telling
If you are writing about a topic, you’ll want to add some images that go along with the content or sources such as infographics or illustrations. If using photos, make sure when taking pictures in the field, that you choose the right angle, and back towards the sun. Have a balance of light on the subject or focal point without being overly exposed or underexposed. If showing before and after photos, stand in the same location to take the picture. Flag the spot if you’ll be there working several days so as not to forget to stand in the same place.
When looking through the frame of the camera, study the complete picture. Are there hoes, shovels or people in the way to distract the viewer. Clean up your focal point before snapping. Remove dirt clumps and gear, sweep off the hard surfaces. The pros will even water the surface down to make it stand out more in color. After taking the shot, review to see if you need to revise and shoot again.
Use these tips as a guide to taking the best landscape photography to display your work.
Adding SEO to the Landscape Blog
Next, look over your keyword list again and work any long-tail keywords that can be used in appropriate places. Long-tail keywords are words that are relatable or have additional identifiers attached to the main keyword. (i.e., landscape: landscape companies, landscape companies near me, landscape design, landscape lighting) Do not add these words in strange places or Google will call it ‘stuffing’ and penalize you for it. Make sure it sounds normal and brings clarity as if you were talking to the client about the topic.
Creating the Best Titles and Headings
A title for the blog will be needed for the web page to display on search engine results. Creating a clickable title is always tricky. One way to research the best ones is to google the keyword you’re using and review the titles used at the top of the page. Can you tweak any and use for your particular blog topic? Here is an infographic template to use when creating titles. Your title tag should not exceed 60 characters. Use this simple character counter when writing the title and meta-description to keep you in check.
Create 5-10 titles and pick out the one you think will be the most relevant for your landscape services blog. Over time, you can change the title and see if it makes a difference in the number of clicks if you’re not getting the readership. Notice in the next illustration that the keyword is garden design ideas in these titles. Also, notice the common denominator in each title. They used numbers, and dates in their tiles. People love lists and as much information as possible on a subject. In addition, adjectives like best, incredible, most creative are qualifiers and can get more clicks too. Take these hints and tips when creating your own amazing title!
Headlines in your blog are next and made for the skimmers. Yes, some people preview with the headlines. So make them relevant and bold. You can add keywords to your titles but don’t overdo it. Keep everything in moderation and as natural as possible for the reader.
Meta-description: A Snippet of Words
When you were browsing titles in search engine results, you ran across meta descriptions that are placed right under the title tag to identify what the article is about. See the illustration above. Review the top ranking ones for hints on sentence structure and content. You have only 150 characters to describe your topic and brief overview or you run the risk of getting the description truncated. Write it as if you were giving an elevator pitch to someone or the ‘Cliff notes version.’ Be concise and dead center on what the blog on landscaping is about.
Lastly, ALT tags help identify the image displayed if the image isn’t showing up or the reader can’t see it. Write a description such as the one below.
Ok, you’re all set. You’ve got the content, title tag, meta description, images and your SEO keywords dialed in. It’s time to publish! High-five, you just wrote your first landscape blog post! Give yourself an A+! Your high-school English teacher will be proud!
If you’re not interested in channeling your inner author, then the landscaper’s virtual assistant is here to help with topics, content and posting on your website. Contact Offshoot Virtual Landscape Services today, and we can discuss adding a landscaping blog to your site to direct traffic and increase your sales.