It seems like everyone has a blog these days, and if you’re running a small business, that should include you. We know – blogging is another task added to your already busy schedule, and if you’re not confident in your writing skills, it’s a task you might dread. Keep reading, and let us convince you that your business does need a blog.
Plain and simple, a blog drives traffic to your website. Most websites are static, the equivalent of an online brochure. Sure, customers and potential customers can get basic information from your static website, but they can’t get to know your business very well. By their nature, blogs change on a regular basis, whether you’re updating once a week, twice a week, or twice a month. They don’t stay the same, and they give customers a reason to come back.
Blogs also help establish your reputation as an expert and a leader in your industry. When you share helpful tips, educational how tos, and informative industry news and trends, you let your customers and potential customers know that you are an expert in your field. They’ll begin to trust you and the services or products you provide.
The search engines love blogs. They favor websites whose content changes, and a blog does just that. You’re likely to see higher placement in searches if you blog regularly and use important keywords in your blog posts and titles. Plus, blogs can bring more in-coming links to your website – that is, other websites will link to your content.
A blog lets customers get to know you and your business and helps you make connections with your customers and readers. Most blogs allow comments on your posts, so there’s the opportunity to start a dialogue with your customers as they respond to your post and you answer back. You can tell the story of your business on your blog, from your history to behind-the-scenes information to news about your company.
How do you start a blog? First, talk to your web host about hosting the blog within your existing website. Most hosts already have blog capability; it might even be part of the package you’re already paying for.
If that’s not an option, there are several places online where you can host a blog for free, including blogger.com and wordpress.com. These sites will be separate from your existing website, so you’ll have to make sure the blog links to your website and vice versa.
Second, figure out who your target audience is and what you want to write about. Research other blogs in your industry and figure out what’s missing. Find a niche and fill it.
Third, plan, plan, plan. Blogging is most successful if done on a consistent basis, whether you choose monthly, weekly, or two to three times a week. No matter what you choose, blog regularly; your readers will be expecting regular updates.
It’s also helpful to set up a blogging calendar with ideas and a schedule of what you’re going to post when. Plan several weeks in advance, and you won’t be stuck for ideas when it’s time to write. Blog websites will let you schedule posts in advance, so when you’ve got time to write, pen several posts in advance and schedule them so they appear regularly. Some ideas to write about: history, behind the scenes, before and after photos, customer interviews, success stories, how to instructions, video demonstrations, tips and hints, or industry news and trends.
Don’t stress about the writing part. Blog posts don’t have to be long, technical tomes. They’re short and informal. If you really don’t want to write it yourself, give the task to an employee with strong writing skills. It’s important to edit your work before you publish it – and have someone else read it, too. It’s also helpful to read your post aloud. You’ll be amazed at the typos and errors you’ll find when you read it out loud.
Last, tell the world you’ve got a blog! Link to it prominently on your website, email signature, and promotional materials. Share each new post on social media and in email newsletters.
Got more questions about marketing your business through a blog? Contact us today!