There are 4 types of Business Blog: Which One Do You Need?

Have you looked at other people’s business blogs with envy and wished yours was more effective?  A blog is great for your business as, with regular fresh content, it is great for search engines. But have you considered that there are different types of blog, to fit different purposes.
Read on to find out about the four different types of blog and which one is right for your business. Once you’re clear about this you’ll be able to get a better return on the time you invest in your blog.

What is the purpose of your blog? Ultimately you may want to build traffic, but what are you going to do with the traffic once you have it? What action do you want readers to take? And how does your blog fit in with your advertising and marketing, on and offline? Understanding your aims is just the start to creating an effective blog. Now consider what sort of blog will help you achieve those aims:

The Market Research Blog
Do you have an idea for an information product or a niche website and want to check demand? Start your blog, and add great content and keyword rich articles on the topic. Build up your following, people who are interested in your topic, who find you via search engine and pay par click traffic. Add a poll to gather people’s views, and an offer of a free eBook or tip sheet in return for completing a longer survey about your plans. Set this sort of site up 6 months or so before you are ready to launch so you can get the numbers you need to see if your idea is a winner. Plus, use your site analytics to see how many people sign up for your tip sheet or vote in the poll as a proportion of total visitors. This can help you scope out the numbers you’ll need to attract to your site when the business is up and running in order to make your targets.

The lead generation tool
This blog is all about how to get more customers. It is right for you if you already have an online business and need more people to buy. A blog is a great long term strategy to build a really strong source of traffic. People who read your blog are already interested in the right topics – they are what are called ‘qualified leads’. Figure out your key words and phrases, and get really specific so you create content for people who want to buy. If you sell candles, for example, don’t just target phrases like ‘how to make luxury candles’. Weave these phrases into your content and rotate through different phrases. Your search engine traffic will grow significantly within 6 months. Embed banners and links from your blog to draw people through to the business. Mention a product or service and link through. Add a newsletter sign up box too. Tell people that by signing up they will get the best rates or discounts, competitions or other benefits. Your email list will become an effective way to highlight new products to people who are interested in the right topics: you know this because they have found the business through reading an on-topic blog article.

The professional platform
This is a simple idea for anyone who offers a service. Are you a freelance writer, designer, coach, VA? For these and many other professions, the professional platform blog can help you attract clients. Have an ‘about’ page with your professional images, plus examples of your work and testimonials. Create a static page about your services, and maybe your prices too. Add keyword rich articles on a regular basis. These fulfil the dual function of displaying your expertise AND helping your site get picked up on search engines for the topic where you want to be seen as an authority. Blog about the projects you are working on.  Be clear how people can get in touch with you to enquire about work. Add an email sign up box and offer an incentive to sign up – such as a ‘get started with WordPress’ eBook for a website designer who specialises in customising WordPress sites. Consider if you want to take payment online. Self hosted WordPress blogs allow you to integrate a shopping cart and sell eBooks, eCourses and other packages.

The Blog as the Business
Do you have a niche website: we’re talking about sites on tightly focussed and specialist topics such as guinea pig aromatherapy or model railway weathering! You build up an audience because you have picked such a tight niche that you have little competition for good information. Offer a newsletter or tip sheet to get people to share their contact details with you, then develop your product funnel. You have a growing list of people who are interested in your topic, so consider what they might need to buy to fulfil their interest. If you get a good list you could even consider setting up a membership site of people with this particular interest for a small monthly fee.
Which of these blogs is right for your business? Don’t just blog at random: instead be clear about what you want to achieve from your blog and you’ll find it repays your time invested many times over

Erica Douglas is mum to Erin, 5, and lives outside Edinburgh. She runs the Littlemummy.com blog and is the author of The Complete Mum Blogger eBook and the Mum Blogger e-Course. Erica won the 2010 ‘Best Start Up’ award at the BusinessMums Awards. She runs Become a Mumprenuer and ACE Inspire with her business partner Antonia Chitty.
Want to get started blogging for your business and learn smarter ways to blog? Join the ACEBlogger eCourse. It cost you nothing and takes you from blogging beginner to brilliant blogger with easy eLessons every week.

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