If you’re a busy business owner, the thought of starting a blog for your business may seem daunting. It’s one more thing to do (as if you don’t have enough already), you might think that it’s going to be complicated, the thought of writing may send shivers down your spine…. actually, there are lots of reasons not to blog!
However, there is one compelling reason why you should blog: A business blog can help you to grow your business.
It can do this by introducing you to more prospective clients, by allowing you to share your expertise with your clients, by driving traffic to your website, by increasing your ranking in the search engines for relevant keywords, and by maximizing your online presence beyond just a static website.
Plus, small business websites with blogs get 55% more traffic than those without blogs. This means that – without a blog – prospective customers are more likely to find and connect with your competitors online instead of with you!
But don’t worry, blogging is not as intimidating as it may seem. Here are 10 tips to get you started:
- Don’t skip the planning: Consider how blogging fits into your overall business goals. Prepare your marketing plan and develop a social media strategy. A bit of planning upfront will benefit you in the long-run.
- Be clear about who you’re writing for: You don’t need to be all things to all people. Think about who will be reading your blog and write content that is relevant for that individual. It’s helpful to consider who your ideal client is; this will be the person that you are trying to connect with, educate, enlighten, and inform.
- Develop a content strategy: Some things to think about as you develop your content are: What kinds of questions do you get from customers? What are the trends in your industry? These are good starting points for developing your content. Also, be sure to prepare an editorial calendar to help you plan your posts.
- Choose a blogging platform: A blogging platform is simply online software that allows you to publish a blog and helps to organize your posts. While there are several options out there, I like WordPress. It’s open-source and easy-to-use – there’s a reason why it now powers 26.4% of the web.
- Make the time: If you don’t stick to a blogging schedule, the likelihood that you will stop in the midst of your daily chaos to work on your blog will be virtually nonexistent. Ideally you would blog multiple times a week, but even once/week is better than nothing. Set aside a half hour daily, preferably in the morning, and work on your blog.
- Be mindful about your keywords: Making your content easy for the search engines to find is so important that an entire field is devoted to search engine optimization (SEO). Fortunately, there are simple best practices for SEO blogging that you can incorporate easily: these 30 tips will get you started.
- Keep posts short and easy to read: As you know from your own online experience, no one actually reads online content. We scan. Using headings and subheadings, bold text for emphasis, bullets and numbered lists, and short paragraphs are all standard practice when blogging because they invite your readers to scan your content (don’t scare your readers away with a never-ending page full of lengthy, unbroken text!).
- Use images: All blogs benefit from the use of images. They break up your text and add a nice visual element. They can enhance your message. Plus, images can help with SEO when used effectively.
- Mix up your content: A blog doesn’t always have to be a standard written post. You can provide lists, how-tos, develop a series around a particular theme, and much more. You can conduct interviews and share case studies. You can add video and slideshows. Mixing it up adds variety to your blog and can keep people engaged.
- Make your content easy to share: Add the Facebook like button and the Twitter tweet button to your blog. This will make it easy for people to share your blog posts with others. With the advent of social search (the use of input from your social network to determine the search results you see), this is becoming increasingly important.
Blogging is a great way to share information with your audience that is relevant to them. If you’re ready to dive in, read more about how to get started blogging.
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