This article on Business Blogging originally appeared on Yahoo Lifestyle in 2011.
I am asked a lot “What value will a blog give my business?” and that really depends on you. I would be lying if I said a blog didn’t take dedication. If you can keep it going, with lots of readers, Facebook likes, re-tweets and comments you can build up a blogging community. I recently read an article that stated the reason blogs fail is due to lack of content, not blogging regularly and not using the blog as a PR campaign.
Your blog needs to work like a Facebook Business Page does in terms of building relationships with your customer base. Be human and show interest, use your business blog to highlight your strengths and expertise what you know a lot about. Businesses that appear to be ‘experts’ in certain areas will very much be sought after. And there are ways of using your blog to make money.
Search Engines love Blogs. Why?
The content is always fresh and new, with regular posting, categorised content and search engine friendly links and addresses. Your business blog is the ideal place for Search Engines to find the type of content they love and with it, you can rank high.
5 Top Tips For Business Blogging Beginners :
- Mind Mapping : Or sometimes called a brain dump. Put pen to paper and write down all the topics, themes and ideas relevant to your small business down. This will give you a basis for your posts, do this at least once a month. Take into consideration weekly/monthly features, product reviews, guest posts etc.
- Schedule : Use your mind map to start writing and scheduling in blog content. This means you can spend a small amount of time writing in advance and your blog is active when possibly you aren’t. Blogging is all about time management, if blogging isn’t your main business then you NEED to schedule blogging in making it part of your business routine. Once your content is regular you will start to build up a following.
- Social Media Promotion : There are so many platforms to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest to promote your blog content and encourage more or new readers.
- Commenting : Comments help to show other people how influential you and your blog are. In the beginning getting the first few comments can be difficult, think about 1) ending the post with a question 2) write in a style that helps to encourage comments and feedback 3) use your Facebook Business Page to promote your blog content and question what people think. Show how grateful you are and keep people commenting by responding to the comments made. Also, it is good etiquette to pay attention to what your commenter’s blogs are about and comment on theirs too. You may also find their blog useful to you i.e. guest posts etc.
- Just Do It! : Actually blog, put fingers to the keys and type away. You will get better and more confident as time goes on and you can always go back and edit content years later.
There are a variety of platforms that you can use some to build your blog. Most are self-explanatory but if you do get lost just Google what you need. There are plenty of bloggers who write about startup and numerous videos on YouTube.
Blog Platforms for Business Blogging :
- Blogger : This is powered by Google and your google account. It is FREE and great for beginners. Drawbacks, design is limited and you don’t own the blog content so at any point (not that this happens very often but be aware) Blogger can shut you down.
- WordPress.com : Also FREE and easy to set up. (You can if need be, transfer your blogger to wordpress if you decide later to upgrade.) A great benefit is that set-up, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc. are all taken care of for you. Everything is backed up automatically. HOWEVER – you cannot customise themes or PHP coding, display adverts and plugins aren’t compatible either.
- WordPress.org : The back office looks the same as the wordpress.com and if you are looking for full control of the templates and how it looks, plugins, change coding if you’re technically minded. The drawbacks are that you do have to back up your system yourself and do manual upgrades, which isn’t hard. But you do have to pay for hosting and this can vary considerably.
- Blogs Attached to Your Website : Many websites already have blog facilities attached to them and there’s no problem using these as it’s great for website SEO, and keeps everything together under one roof However be aware they might not always be compatible with things and there will be limitations.
Tip : If you are unsure about investing money in your business blog start with blogger or wordpress.com as you can always transfer the content over later.
Sit down write a list and get started. You will be surprised at what a blog can do for your business.