13 Things to Know about Blogging: Headlines, Categories, Topics & More

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Today, I’m answering your most frequently asked blogging questions, from word count to SEO to images. Because after writing and publishing hundreds of blog posts for our clients (literally, going on 500 this year), we’ve got this thing down to a science.

Let’s begin…

Question 1: What should I blog about?

This is a loaded question that we’ve written a ton about, so I’ll summarize here…

To help you brainstorm topics strategically, download our Content Strategy Workbook here.

Question 2: How often should I blog for my interior design business?

Great question. It depends on your business. Designers who have become national digital brands (Studio McGee, Style by Emily Henderson, etc.) blog several times per week, but that’s a tall order if you don’t have a designated marketing team to handle this volume.

For most designers, I think the sweet spot is 2x per month. At the very least, once per month.

Question 3: What is SEO and how much should I care about it?

That’s a big question. In quick terms, SEO is your website’s ability to perform well in online search results. And yes, of course you should care about it—but you also shouldn’t let it take your time hostage.

There are a few quick and pain-free tactics you can use to help with SEO, many of which will be described throughout this post, along with a checklist to help. So keep reading!

Question 4: Are blog post categories important? What should they be?

YES. Categories are not only important for your readers to keep reading about topics they’re interested in, but categories are also essential for search engines like Google to catalogue your website accurately for SEO.

So what should your categories be? Well, there’s no precisely right category label, but the best ones are straightforward.

If you have many blog posts devoted to design advice, call it something like “Design Advice” or “Design Tips.” For projects or your portfolio, you could call it “Design Projects” or “Before & Afters” or “Project Reveals.” If you publish several blog posts devoted solely to kitchen renos (and that’s your bread and butter service) have a category called “Kitchen Renovations.”

You get the idea. Spell it out simply and clearly.

Question 5: What are “headers” and why are they important?

In simple terms, “headers” are the different size fonts in your blog post. Your title is H1 size by default. The next size down is H2. And most sites usually have a size or two smaller, called H3 and H4.

Usually when you write a blog post, these headers are like the subtopics of a post. For example, in this blog post, my title is H1 and each of the questions are H2.

The reason headers are important is…

1) A blog post is easier for readers to consume when it’s broken into chunks.

2) The almighty Google reads headers first when cataloguing your website for SEO — this is how it learns what your post is about.

The verdict? Headers are very important.

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Question 6: What should my headers be?

If you were to outline your blog post, your headers would be the biggest ideas. It’s best for SEO to keep them straightforward (just like categories), but I won’t lie to you… straightforward headers are borrrrrring.

My suggestion is to mix it up. Keep some straightforward for SEO and spice up others so your readers can feel your personality. Here are a couple examples:

If you’re sharing a Before & After reveal of one of your projects, your headers could be the different rooms you’re revealing: Dining Room Design, Kitchen Design, Family Room Design, etc.

If you’re offering up inspiration from High Point Market, you could break it down by what you saw: Bold Color, Warm Tones, Natural Woods, Plants Everywhere.

If you’re giving advice on assembling a renovation dream team, you could make your headers the step or even break it down by the who, what, when, and where.

Look through any of O&B’s blog posts for examples. (Or, if you use our blog post templates in Socialite Vault, this part is done for you!)

Question 7: What is the best word count for a blog post?

I’ve been asked this question on at least 2 podcasts (The Kate Show and Profit is a Choice), but I’ll say it again: there is no right answer. A lengthier blog post (with great written and visual content) will keep people on your website longer… but a shorter blog post is easier to consume on the fly.

The verdict? Don’t stress about it. (Or even look at it… seriously.) Write however much is succinctly appropriate for your topic and leave it at that. Over time, you’ll naturally end up with a variety of blog post lengths—which is the best of both worlds.

If you’re still skeptical, I’m happy to report that O&B and many (if not all) of our clients have seen SEO improvement without us being confined by word limits!

Question 8: What is a Call to Action and what should mine be?

A Call to Action (CTA, for short) is a sentence or two at the end of your blog post that is meant to inspire your reader to take a desired action.

By far, the best action your readers can take after reading a blog post is to sign up for your mailing list—and you can inspire signups by offering a freebie, or Lead Magnet.

Mailing list signups not only show you that this particular person finds you + your content valuable, but it also creates an intimate connection between the two of you. Now, you can send them newsletters and continuing building that positive relationship of trust and value—the one you’ve already started building with your blog.

That said, depending on your blog’s level of engagement, you could also ask your readers to respond to a question in the comments section and get a conversation started!

Question 9: What images should I use?

Images can make you look like a million bucks or like a budget designer… regardless of how great your designs are! In other words, you want high-quality images ONLY.

For our clients who have a lot of project photos, we’re able to use their photos in almost all of our blog posts, regardless of whether we’re blogging about lighting, space planning, window treatments, etc. (Here’s a great shot list for your next brand photoshoot.)

If you don’t have access to high-quality project photos, stock photos are your best bet. We’re able to make these work for pretty much any topic, but you can also pay for stock photos if the free ones aren’t your jam.

If you use our blog post templates, you’ll have plenty of pre-curated stock photos to choose from!

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Question 10: What size should my images be and why does it matter?

This is a fantastic question, because image size impacts site speed, and site speed is SO important. If your site has longer than a 1-ish second load time, your visitors are likely to lose patience and leave. (Blame the dwindling human attention span…)

Overly large images are usually the culprit of a slow website. Many photos (stock or from a professional photographer) are gigantic, so you’ll want to resize them. We use Canva for this.

  • Create a template that is the width you would like (we use about 650×850)
  • Upload your photos
  • Drag and drop them into the Canva template
  • Download!

Again, if you use our blog post templates, this part is done for you!

Question 11: Can I use other designers’ photos?

The short answer is no, but it’s also true that almost everybody does it, and will link to the source to give them credit. For many businesses, having you link to their content on your website is welcome free marketing… but not everyone will feel this way. Technically, you don’t legally own the photos, so you could get into trouble.

Speaking as a Cautious Cathy, I advise you not to use other people’s images. Or you could get the photo owner’s permission first. It’s a personal call. (Stock photos are totally legal to use!)

Question 12: Why and how should I label my photos?

Another fabulous question and one related, again, to SEO. The problem is that search engines don’t have real eyes, so they can’t “see” photos like we do (at least not yet). This means that we need to label the images in the most accurate way possible for our search engine friends to find us.

Let’s use the kitchen photo above as an example. Depending on the topic of your post, the filename will be different!

A post on pendants might label this photo: san-diego-interior-design-transitional-kitchen-pendants-over-island-geometric-globe.jpg.

A post on barstools that uses this photo would label it differently: san-diego-interior-design-kitchen-barstools-industrials-under-counter.jpg.

No surprises here—we’ve done this labeling for you already with our our blog post templates. Just add your business and location to the filename and you’re good to go.

Question 13: Where should I share my blog posts?

Sharing your blog posts is important—otherwise no one will read them! The best place to promote your posts is where your target clients hang out, be it Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or LinkedIn.

For pretty much any platform except LinkedIn, you can share your blog posts multiple times in a week. For LinkedIn, which caters to professionals, once per week is enough. You can also promote your blog post within your newsletter, though you definitely don’t want to copy and paste it.

Well, there you go! Did I cover it all? Any burning questions left over? If so, feel free to ask in the comments or download our SEO Checklist below!

Til next time,
Jaquilyn

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