Advice for small businesses thinking about starting a blog
There is an abundance of hype around blogging. Some people claim to have made a fortune with their blogs, while others assert blogs are frivolous and a waste of a business’ time. For most small businesses, the truth lies somewhere in between. A well-designed and regularly-updated blog can be a great addition to your marketing mix and sales-generating activities.
This article will explain the pros and cons of blogs for small businesses and give you some expert tips for publishing a successful blog.
Why a blog is great for your small business
- Blogs are great for search engine optimization (SEO). You can incorporate your keywords, the content changes regularly, and other websites will likely link to your posts. Search engines love all of these things.
- If you do it right, you will become a trusted resource for your desired audience. Trust will lead to customer relationships. Relationships lead to profit.
- When a potential customer contacts you after reading your blog, you have the advantage of being a partner instead of a vendor.
- As an expert in your field (hopefully), you should easily be able to create content of value for your desired audience.
Why blogs are terrible for some small businesses
- You have to update a blog frequently for it to matter. If you aren’t updating once a week, any readers you gain will lose interest. Dormant blogs also do nothing for your search engine rankings.
- Your blog must be interesting to your desired audience, or you will be writing to an empty room (forgive the mixed metaphor).
- Blogging is a long-term part of your success. There won’t be immediate gratification, but as you build a reputation and body of work, you will see results.
Things successful bloggers know
Make your blog an integral part of your website. Don’t create a blog that no one can find. Replacing your home page with your blog is often a good solution for small businesses, especially if your home page currently says something generic like, “Welcome!”
Investigate blogging software to find the right option for you. For my clients, I use WordPress blogs. The software is easy to use and highly customizable—and free!
Blogging requires discipline. Make a schedule and stick to it. Create an editorial calendar. Set apart time each week dedicated to writing. If you have trouble doing this, find someone who will hold you accountable.
Get a professional editor who knows your goals. Regina Spektor has a song all about editing, and she sings, “You can write, but you can’t edit.” She might as well be singing to the world, because behind every great writer is a great editor. If you want proof, ask for my original draft of this article.
Work on finding “your voice.” Every great writer has a distinctive voice. Writers aren’t born with these voices; they cultivate them. A professional editor will also help with your writer’s voice.
If you have trouble getting started writing, or your sentences come out in an incoherent jumble, just start typing exactly how you talk. Imagine you are talking to a friend, potential client or your aunt—whatever makes you comfortable. Consider getting a voice recorder and speaking your posts before you write them.
If you want other bloggers to visit your blog, post links to articles and to comment, you have to do the same for them. It’s as simple as the biblical advice in Proverbs, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.” Just replace “man” with “blogger.”
Learn about (or hire someone who knows about) search engine optimization. All the concepts from my post on growing visitors to your website apply. If you do SEO right, your blog will be tailor-made for helping the people searching for your products and services to find your website instead of your competitors’.
Write really useful articles for your desired audience. For example, if you are a caterer, consider writing about the top five appetizers to impress guests rather than the latest innovations in keeping food warm. A caterer wants potential clients to find her blog, not necessarily industry-insiders.
Thinking about starting a blog for your small business but still need more advice? Feel free to give me a call or email me with your questions—513.833.4203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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