Creating a high-quality blog in your niche has become the standard and no longer an option. In fact, it’s expected. No matter what your business, no matter what your niche, you need to be blogging. Your business blog not only offers information your audience is seeking, it’s also a way to make money.
Setting up a business blog can be relatively easy, or not… it all depends on what you want to accomplish with your blog. You need to spend time planning your blog; choosing a theme, creating content, planning your marketing strategy, just to mention a few of the tasks involved.
You put in the hard work initially; it then becomes easier as time goes on.
5 Reasons You Need a Business Blog
There are legitimate reasons to create a business blog, whether your business is online or a traditional brick and mortar business. Let’s briefly discuss some of these reasons.
A More Personal Connection
Like social media, your blog gives you a chance to connect with your customers on a more personal level. While your website is a static page that simply tells them about your business, your blog is interactive. It’s a way to start a dialog with your readers; they can utilize your comments sections to give you feedback on your article and you then respond.
Your blog gives your business a human face. It’s one of the many ways your readers can get to know you better. Make sure that you use it that way and reply to each comment your readers leave.
Expertise and Credibility
One of the best things about a business blog is that it gives you an opportunity to establish your expertise and build your reputation. You can blog about things you know. For example, if you’re a law firm, blog about simple legal questions people have. If you’re a cleaning company, share some easy house cleaning tips. Your blog shows your website visitors what you know and this engenders trust in your business.
Blogging offers a much more effective and lower cost way to promote your business than other methods. If you want to place advertisements on other sites, this costs a bit of money. Additionally, other costly methods don’t make the same kind of impact that a blog written by you makes. You also get information on your target market through their reading behavior and comments.
Search Engine Benefits
Adding a blog to your static website is a great way to attract traffic from search engines. The search engines favor sites that have fresh, updated content. If you write just one blog post per week, you’ll see more searches coming your way, especially if you choose a few good keywords for each post. Write two or three blog posts a week and you’ll really see your traffic climb.
Visibility for Your Products and Services
Through your blog, you can tell your customers about your products and services. Let them know about discounts, special offers, new inventory items and online/offline events you’re participating in. You can also add a feed to your social media sites so that every blog you post shows up there as well.
Now, if writing gives you a case of the willies, or worse, sends you into full-blown panic mode, do not despair; you’re not writing the Great American Novel. Focus on the wants, needs, interests, and questions of your customers.
Write conversational posts as if you’re speaking directly to them. Pick something related to your business and share your expertise with them. Your business blog doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel; it just needs to be helpful and engaging.
Getting Started with Your Business Blog
As you know by now, a business blog offers you an ideal way to communicate with your customers. It also attracts new potential customers to your website. So, how do you get started with your business blog? Here are a few things you need to do before you jump in.
I said it before and I’ll continue to beat this drum… you need a plan! These are some of the topics you need to include in your plan for your business blog.
Define Your Target Audience
Before you get started, it’s important to define as precisely as possible your target audience. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are you writing for?
- What do they expect from your blog?
- How do they like to digest information?
Create a profile of your ideal reader and write directly to that person. Chances are you’ll reach beyond your target market, but the point here is to focus on the group you want to connect with.
The fact is, if you don’t spend time on this step, if you try to appeal to too broad an audience, you’ll end up capturing the attention of no one.
Define Your Blog’s Goal
Define a clear goal for your blog and make it as specific as possible. It may be to simply inform your customers and visitors, or to generate traffic for your site. Consider all your goals then pick the overriding one.
Write down this goal and make sure you have a way to measure it. For example, if your goal is to build a list of subscribers, make sure you can track the number of leads per week your blog garners. Keep it flexible and modify it if you need to.
Naming Your Business Blog
The name of your blog is a big consideration and it may take some time to think of a good one. Create a list of possible names then narrow it down. You don’t necessarily need to use your company’s name as the name of the blog.
You could choose something creative that’s related to your company. For example, your catering business’s blog might be called something like, ‘Chef’s Corner.’ Okay, that might be a little lame but you get the idea.
Related… Creative… Memorable. The name of your business blog should stand out and be unique to you and your business. You can include keywords if possible and appropriate.
Choose the categories you’ll blog about. Pick some specific areas within your niche that people might be interested in learning about. One category can be introducing your products or services, or showing customers how they can benefit from them.
You’ll need to write and publish some posts before you actually launch your blog. I recommend at least 2 posts per category to get started. In any case, 10 well-written posts will set you on the right path and get your blog off to a good start.
It always helps to have some high-search keywords in your blog posts. Use Google’s free Keyword Planner tool for ideas or any of the other free keyword tools available online.
You don’t need to spend too much time on keyword research for every post. Just make a list of keywords that get a fair number of searches per month and use them naturally in your posts.
Design and Hosting
Decide whether you’ll hire a company to create and design your blog. Often times, this service also includes hosting. Your alternative is to do it yourself using WordPress or another blog platform.
Doing it yourself is definitely the cheapest way to go with the added benefit of having the flexibility and option to make adjustments to your blog in a timely manner. You don’t have to wait for someone else to make changes for you.
Keep in mind there is a learning curve involved, so be prepared to spend some time learning the ins and outs of the platform you choose. Also, you’ll need to do some research on web hosting services. This is very important but you might as well get started.
The quality of the web hosting you choose is an integral component to the success of your blog and website. You want a reliable service with excellent support should you need to contact them.
Set Your Schedule
Set up a blogging schedule. It doesn’t matter how often you blog as long as you do it consistently. For example, publish a new post each week. Monitor your results and adjust your schedule accordingly.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Start a Business Blog
In this article we’ve discussed the reasons you need a blog for your business. It helps you interact with your customers and brands you as an expert in your niche. Business blogs also draw more traffic to your site.
But are there any reasons why you might not want to have a business blog? There are, and you should consider these three important factors before you get started.
1. Regular Posting and Maintenance
Running a business blog takes time. At a very minimum, you need to be posting once a week, and more if possible. For many people, writing even a short blog post can be an arduous task. Consistency is the key; if you’re not able to keep it up, this could be a problem.
If you don’t have time yourself, delegating and outsourcing are options. However, if you run your own business, delegating the task to someone else is often out of the question. Outsourcing can work, but it’s a whole job unto itself, especially if you’ve never done it before. It also costs money.
2. Too Busy to Get Started
Before you start blogging, you have to invest some time in making a plan for your blog. (There’s that “p” word again!) Without the proper planning and set-up, your blog could become just a waste of your time.
If you don’t have the time to get it started, this is another good reason to wait until you do.
3. No Focus
There are some compelling reasons to start a business blog, but if after reading them you still find yourself wondering why you should bother, this is a sign that maybe you shouldn’t. Your business blog needs to have a clear goal in mind in order to keep it focused. If it doesn’t, it’ll be all over the place and could actually harm your image by making you look confused and scattered.
Before you start a business blog you need a plan and you need time to set it up. When writing your articles, always remember to try and engage your readers. Encourage them to comment and take action.
Think of your blog as a two-way communication tool; use it to inform your readers and give them the opportunity to comment on what you have to say.
A lot of time and effort goes into a blog. I’ve seen many blogs fall by the wayside because the owner isn’t committed to it. Then again, there are those who build their entire business with their blog and make a substantial income.
So, now you need to decide if you are ready, willing, and able to take the plunge. If you do, just know it will be well worth the effort.