Starting a Business Blog: How and Why
With over 100 million active blogs on the web the popularity of blogs is certainly increasing. Many small businesses have now realised the need for writing their own blog. Business blogs have more benefits than just a communication tool to share knowledge with employees and customers they allow businesses to not only plug their products or services but also give their opinion.
Having a blog increases your online exposure and if implemented correctly it can be a huge benefit to your business. A blog can be easily updated by the busy business professional and in comparison to other media alternatives is an inexpensive way to engage directly with your target audience and to develop your brand credibility online. Not only that but the time taken to write a small business blog is a lot less time consuming than trying to get a message across in a interview for a newspaper or radio and with blogs you have full control of what’s published.
First and foremost the main benefit of having a business blog is that it can help to play an integral part in improving Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Blogs provide a wealth of fresh content for a website and continued updates improves the sites credibility and rankings in the search engines. For small business owners that do not have the budget to employ a digital marketing agency, having a good blog on the site can help to improve SEO.
However it must be updated to encourage search engines to keep returning to the site, a good blog should be updated 2-3 times a week if not every day. Although this may seem like a lot it’s important to encourage staff to contribute to the blog to generate new content. Other ways to help produce new content is through actively seeking other peers in your industry to submit a guest blog. Not only does this provide new content the guest blogger may help to reach the blog out to a wider audience.
The blog must be relevant to the business, providing interesting content about what your industry and business has to offer is essential. Through providing quality information with targeted keywords will help improve organic search traffic to the blog. Once the traffic has been bought to the blog it makes it more likely that the traffic will then explore the business site further. Another way to increase traffic is to build your social media following. Using forms of social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as further interaction with your audience it gives you an opportunity to inform your followers of new blog updates and so drive traffic to the blog.
Within the blog the comments section allows you to interact directly with your visitors once they have read the blog. This communication between your visitors acts as a great way of developing your relationship with your readers and encouraging them to return and read future blogs. It can also act as a "soft sell" of your business and its products or services. Don’t be afraid to be controversial. Blogs are all about an opinion and by voicing your opinion it will encourage visitors to generate conversation and make a comment.
One of the easiest ways to set up a blog is through using software such as WordPress or Joomla! This software allows you to host the blog on your current site and so ensures that the blog updates benefits to your domain’s search engine rankings. There are many external blog software companies such as Blogger.com, however these are more appropriate for personal blogs that don’t have a website. Software such as WordPress or Joomla is easy to install, and simple to use allowing the user to quickly write a blog, attach documents, links or images and publish.
Before small businesses rush ahead and commit to writing a business blog, you must understand the purpose of your blog. If the business does not have any clear objectives and the blog does not have any focus or not kept up to date it can have a negative impact on the business and the brand. When visitors find blogs that have not been updated for a while it significantly reduces their impact and it is more likely that the visitor won’t return.
Overall for a business blog to be successful the blog needs to not lose its focus, the writers need to ensure they keep their personality and give their opinions to create engagement with the reader and make sure its regularly updated to keep improving search engine rankings and increasing traffic to the site.
By Andy Venables of Return On Digital, a leading Digital Marketing Agency based in Manchester.