There’s no doubt that if you’re a business owner, you’ll have (at least) thought about blogging. Maybe you’ve given it a go and have given up because you didn’t see an immediate return on investment? Maybe it was too much of a call on your time? Maybe you didn’t even get to the starting line? Either way, there’s little doubt that blogging is good for business.
But if you still need to be convinced about the benefits of blogging, a recent report from Hubspot, stated that companies that blog have:
· 55% more website visitors
· 97% more inbound links and
· 434% more indexed pages
What’s more, 57% of companies that blog say they’ve acquired a customer through their business blog. I am one of those people. I blogged religiously for a year in 2009 and won myself one of my best clients as a result (who’s still a client, I’m proud to say!).
Here’s 3 great reasons to blog:
1. To win the search engine race. Blogs are search engine friendly. If you blog on a regular basis with keyword-rich content, the search engines will reward you for your effort by hoisting your website up the search results lists. It’s not rocket science really: it’s just effort-related. Think of it a bit like Duncan Bannatyne heading up Kilimanjara, except he did it for charity !
2. To reinforce your brand. Even people can create an effective brand image. A blog is a great way to brand yourself or your business. You can speak in your own voice and you can demonstrate how your product or service operates in action as well as showing a bit of your personality, which serves to gain trust, confidence and loyalty.
3. To reach out to new audiences. With an active, integrated blog that is connected to the social networks, you can reach out to a whole new market that mightn’t otherwise even be aware that you exist. Use your blog to speak to these people and to draw them to your offering.
Here’s my list of Blog must-be’s:
I. Keyword rich. There’s no point in blogging without incorporating keywords in your text. Bearing in mind that one of the reasons for blogging is to win the search engine race, you simply must make sure you have the right keywords in your blog. There are some great free keyword tools you can use to find the right keywords for your business, like Google Adwords and Wordtracker. If you are not familiar with searching for keywords, all you need to do is type in a word or a phrase related to your business and the tool will show you what your potential are customers searching for. Using keywords as your starting point, you’ll get a whole host of blog ideas.
II. Integrated in your website. For most SMEs here’s no point in attracting people to your blog in the hope of being hoisted up the search engine rankings if your blog isn’t integrated in your website. Put bluntly, a standalone blog which requires people to click a link or pay another visit to get to your website will do nothing to help you promote your business.
III. Regularly updated. There are few things worse than a tired blog. What’s more, an active blog attracts the search engine spiders to come back again and again: they won’t come back if your blog stops getting updated. A blog that hasn’t been updated for a few weeks, or in the case of really regular bloggers, a few days, is like a shop with dirty windows; it looks sad and unloved, and will start to be ignored by the search engines. When you start to blog, set yourself achievable and realistic targets relating to how often you will blog and how much time you can commit. It’s pointless starting to blog daily, then going weekly, then monthly, then, when you can be bothered. Your efforts will be completely wasted with this approach. You’d be much better committing to 2 or 3 good posts per week and sticking with it than over-committing, then having to stop.
IV. Interesting, or at least useful. The most popular blogs give their visitors something. Generally speaking they either entertain or educate. No matter which approach you choose, make sure there’s something in your blog to keep your visitors coming back for more and spreading the word about your blog.
All of this is great, but if it’s as easy as that, why isn’t everyone doing it? Everyone isn’t doing it for the same reasons that everyone isn’t climbing Kili with Duncan.
When it comes to blogging, there’s the time, there’s the effort, there’s the dedication. For small business owners these are all things that are in short supply. Thereafter, there’s the question of “what should I blog about?”; “how long does a blog post need to be?”; “how often do I need to blog?”; “how do I link my blog to the social networks?” and “how do I know if it’s having any effect?”, to name but a few.
So if you really want to get started on the blog road, gimme a call. I can either coach you through doing it yourself or do it for you. It really depends on your budget and your time constraints I guess. Yup, you guessed it, just gimme me a shout… .