Working with Bloggers? 5 Essential Website Checks Before You Start
Working with bloggers is a great way to grow your brand. Not only can it drive noticeable traffic back to your site, increase brand trust through association and grow your network of followers, it’s also great for general awareness. However, working with a blogger isn’t something brands should go into lightly. Ultimately, you want to ensure every blogger partnership is a good match, so it’s important to put the leg work in early on. The best way to ensure your work with bloggers is successful is by checking out their website in advance.
Here are 5 website checks you should make before starting to work with a blogger.
1. The URL
A website’s URL is the first thing you should look at. A URL can tell you a number of things about the website - its domain name, its purpose and sometimes even its country of origin, all of which give you a good idea as to the blog’s content and its audience before you even get on to the site. Also remember that a site’s URL contributes to its rank on Google. Long URLs with a slug consisting of a line of numbers won’t be as highly regarded as one that instantly identifies the website. So, if you’re thinking long-term about how much exposure this particular blog might get your brand, these factors are worth bearing in mind.
More so, a URL can also indicate whether a blogger’s website is the real deal. Phishing scams often try to replicate popular website URLs to entice visitors to click through. So, if you’ve been approached by a popular blogger, be sure to check the given URL for any misspellings or added numbers beforehand in order to gather whether they are who they say they are.
2. Domain Name
What’s in a domain name? Quite a lot. Other than being the means by which followers can find the website on the internet, a blog’s domain name is a reflection on three things:
The content and tone of the site
The brand of the blogger
How established the blogger is
These three things should tell you instantly if a blogger is a good fit for you. If you want to make sure the blogger in question matches the tone of your brand, their domain name is a good place to start looking. A generic domain name that’s given to a website on creation is not going to attract as many visitors as a personalised one. If the aim of working with a blogger is to drive traffic from their blog onto your business’ website, then it’s in your best interest to work with a popular blog.
Domain names also indicate where bloggers are in terms of establishing themselves and their brand. The fact is, custom domain names come with a price tag which means any blogger who has chosen to purchase one has made a commitment to their website. This is a good starting point when investigating whether the blogger’s website is legitimate, with a substantial reputation and follower base.
3. SSL Certificate
The security of any website you choose to work with is almost as important as your own. Ever wondered what the ‘s’ at the end of HTTPS stands for? It means the website is secure because it has an SSL certificate - and this is exactly what you should be looking for in a blogger’s website.
An SSL certificate encrypts the data passing from websites to devices. It is essentially a method of authentication and is absolutely essential for any website, big or small, if they want to keep all their information safe. Not only does this indicate a website’s trustworthiness (to you and to the average visitors), but they are great for marketing purposes too - Google sees websites and blogs with an SSL certificate as more trustworthy so ranks them higher. Likewise, SSLs represent to visitors that the blog cares about security so it is therefore more likely to gain a good reputation and following - which leads to more successful results for your brand.
4. Website Content
This is one of the most important things to do when thinking about working with a blogger. Their website is the best representation of their brand and their following that you can get, so you need to make sure the content is a match for you.
This involves looking back over previous posts - not just recent ones, but further back to see if they’ve ever worked with a brand like you before. See if the posts are relevant, and if you spot that they have partnered with a similar brand before, you can get an indication of how successful the project was as well as what sort of work they collaborated on. Looking into their website content should also give you an idea of their tone of voice and their messaging, so if you decide to go ahead and start working with them, you already know how your brand fits in with their blog content.
Red flags in blog content include: spammy content, bad grammar and spelling mistakes and plagiarised work. Not only do these indicate that the blog is not as legitimate as you first thought, but it’s likely that working with this particular blogger’s website will yield poor results. Spam content means Google (as well as visitors) won’t regard the blog as useful or highly-ranking in search result pages - leading to bad exposure for your brand.
5. Website Comment Section
In a similar vein to looking at a blog’s content, looking towards its comment section is another great way of sensing the audience, tone and overall reputation of the blogger. The comments are a window into your blogger’s followers, indicating which content generates the most engagement, alongside which content is most positively (or negatively) received. From here you can understand if, where and how your business can fit in.
But again, beware of spam! Sometimes blogs may seem popular and well-received, but the comment section is full of bots. In these cases, beware of spam comments by looking out for generic and repetitive phrasing, nonsensical sentences and basic spelling and grammar mistakes.
This article was written by Hosting.co.uk, a fast and reliable UK-based web hosting provider.