Many people think a blog can only be a personal account of what the blogger had for breakfast. That is not true, especially for businesses. A blog is simply an online collection of articles, stamped with a date. Each post is associated with one or more categories. It has “tags” – keywords that appear in the article. Small business owners need to realize the potential benefit of putting a blog on their business website.
Blogs can be personal, but they can also be factual. Every business is related to a large body of information. For example, companies that sell bottled water could write about how the water is tested for safety, the benefits of bottled water, how the municipal water systems work versus the bottled water system, applications for bottled water, water contamination, etc.
Note: You are reading a blog post right now!
Did you know that spending the energy on a blog can actually save time? For example, energy you are already spending on writing emails for your clients can be redirected to your blog. Your newsletter content can start its life on your blog. Then, put some of the blog content into your emails. Treat your blog post as a landing page – link to it from your emails. This is very efficient and makes your content do double-duty.
Try putting part of your blog post into your email newsletter as a “teaser”. Include a smallish, newsletter-sized image from the blog post, the headline, and perhaps the first 100 words. Then, provide a link that entices the reader to click and read the rest of the article on your website. This has many benefits:
- You get more traffic to your website. Visitors come and might stick around.
- You find out what percentage of your readers are engaged enough to click. (This is easy if you use an email marketing system that tracks clicks, such as Constant Contact or MailChimp)
- Your email marketing report should tell you who clicked what. This give you clues about what specific subscribers are interested in. Segment them into a group and send similar content or special offers.
- Your newsletter is not too long. Long newsletters simply don’t get read most of the time. You have just a few seconds to catch the reader’s interest. Long blocks of text are a turn-off. Your email can be a simpler design and easy to read.
Did you know that blogs can allow visitors to make comments? On the one hand, most of the comments will be spam (junk comments made by robots or people trying to get links back to their own spammy websites). Your webmaster should set up spam filtering. In WordPress, the most popular comment spam filtering is provided by ASKIMET. But some of the comments will be legitimate. These should be approved and responded to. This helps build stronger relationships with your customers and prospects.
Blogging extends the life of your content and helps draw traffic to your website. Putting content in your blog is excellent for improving search engine optimization (SEO). Most businesses would love for their website to come up higher in the search engines for related keywords. And Google loves blogs. It’s difficult to do SEO without a blog.
Typically, the business owner hired an SEO expert who provides instructions about how the posts should be written. If no-one at the business has the time and skills to blog, a blog writer is often engaged. The SEO expert will advise on blog length, frequency and content.
However, if you want to try blogging on your own, paying an SEO exert is not required. You can run some tests by getting a blog system like WordPress installed on your website. Start writing, let’s say, 600 words once per week, and see if you start getting more organic search engine traffic. Link your shopping cart or “thank you for contacting us” page to your website’s analytics. If you see results, consider increasing the frequency of your posts to get things moving. If you need better results, find a trusted SEO consultant who uses only white-hat (ethical) methods. Chances are good this expert will be delighted that you already have a blog!