If you run a small business and you don’t have a blog yet, blog are still one of the best ways to attract traffic to your business website, generate inbound links and encourage people to share your posts via social media.
And as marketing mediums go, blogging is remarkably cheap.
Why is a business blog a good idea?
Why is it good to have links pointing at your website, popular blog posts people like to share and extra visitors?
Because they all indicate to Google that people like and appreciate the content of your blog, and Google ‘awards’ popular websites better search positions. Better site visibility means your business gets in front of more people and, ultimately, enjoys the opportunity to sell more stuff.
Is it expensive to set up a blog?
No, it can cost next to nothing, especially when you use WordPress, the Open Source (free) blogging and ecommerce platform. If you know what you’re doing, you can literally install WordPress to your url in five minutes. Always bolt your blog onto your url. If you put it on a separate url, your website won’t get the benefit.
If you haven’t a clue, it’ll take an expert no time at all, so should cost very little). There are thousands of free templates too, so you don’t need to pay a designer to create something especially for you. And best of all, the Content Management System interface is remarkably easy to drive, intuitive and simple. Even if you’re a complete techno-duffer!
Once it’s set up, you can start to write posts. Here are some hints and tips about blogging for business, to help you make the most of it.
Business blogging tips
- write about subjects relevant to your business and your customers, eventually widening your reach so you also talk about related subjects
- post at least once a week, ideally more often – the more frequently you write in your blog, the better
- use plain language, writing the way you speak for maximum appeal
- vary the length of your posts so you hold people’s interest: everything from short one-paragraph posts including links to interesting places to 1,000 word essay-like posts that go into the fine detail of the subject you’re covering
- never copy and paste posts from somewhere else. Search engines don’t like it when you duplicate content
- you can entertain, interest, inspire, inform, amuse, provoke… your blog is the place to let your business’s personality shine through, proving how deeply you know your sector, how much experience you have and how trustworthy you are
- overt selling isn’t a good idea. Think about the kind of information you like to read. If you’re anything like most of us, you don’t appreciate being sold to all the time. It’s boring. So step away from the sales spiel!
What can I write about?
You can write about things like:
- product launches
- customer feedback and testimonials
- developments in your industry/sector
- reactions to breaking news / trending topics
- case studies
- special offers
- opinion pieces
- hints, tips and advice
- useful lists (people adore lists)
How long does it take Google to ‘notice’ a blog?
Search engines love freshness. The more often you update your website, the more frequently search engine bots will visit it to index your new content.
If you operate in a highly competitive sector, it can take months (or longer) for your blog to climb its way up the rankings. If your landscape is less competitive, it’ll probably happen faster. It’s all good stuff, so have patience and you’ll eventually see the rewards.
What about key words and phrases?
Key words and phrases are those that people commonly use to find services and products like yours. If you sell pink wool, one of your primary key phrases is probably ‘buy pink wool’. When you weave these naturally into your blog posts, you help Google ‘understand’ what your blog is about, therefore classify, rank and rate it accurately in the search results pages.
If you want to know what your key phrases are, there are plenty of free tools online to help you identify them, including Google’s own keyword research tool. To access it, set up a Google account and click through to the AdWords section, where the tool lives.
Pay a freelance writer to write your posts
If you can’t write for toffee, freelance writers are often a great value way to keep your blog alive and kicking. You’ll find some excellent providers on the People Per Hour website. Or for super-cheap content you can always try fiverr, where people carry out all manner of projects for just five dollars.
The quality is sometimes a bit iffy on fiverr but you can always take what they’ve written, tidy it up yourself and still make a substantial saving on the cost of writing the whole thing from scratch.