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Thinking of Starting a Blog? Tips to Help You Start, Maintain & Grow a Small Business Blog!

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Thinking of Starting a Blog? Tips to Help You Start, Maintain & Grow a Small Business Blog!

Published: July 26, 2010 Updated: November 7, 2013

The online social media revolution that has bought us Facebook and Twitter actually started back in the late 90's when the term "blog", short for "weblog", entered the lexicon. Since then the activity of blogging has exploded and it was in May 2005 that BusinessWeek proclaimed that *Blogs Will Change Your Business. They certainly have.

Why are blogs important for your business?

Blogs provide business owners with unprecedented ways of reaching and engaging with large audiences in a way that the traditional one-way information push of a company Web site could never do. Not only this, but blogs can help put a human face to your business while showcasing your knowledge and passion for your chosen field. For example, restaurant owners can share recipe secrets. Just about anyone from a landscaping business to an IT security company can share tips of the trade that connect them with their customer base. And unlike the static content of a business Web site, blogs are collaborative and invite comment - a great way to engage with and solicit feedback from your customers!

Blogs can even be lead generating. If you can create content that's relevant and useful to your audience, your search engine optimization will go through the roof. 

Of course, if you are thinking of starting a blog you need to have an underlying strategy in place to ensure it is a success. Here are four things to consider before you enter the blogosphere:

1. Identify a Purpose, Goal and Intention for your Blog

While you obviously want to promote your business, don't be over-promotional in your blog content strategy. Decide early on what you want to accomplish with your blog - and this should drive your content.

Most blogs are typically centered on positioning businesses or business owners as thought leaders in their space or for sharing information and tips that readers find useful. For other ideas on how to shape your blog strategy, including the use of case studies and interviews, take a look at this article - "*5 Winning Post Ideas for Your Small Business Blog" - from *OPENForum.com.

Once you have defined your goal, be sure to adhere to it. Consider publishing your blog objective on your blog home page. For example, the objective of a hypothetical company - JJ's Landscaping Services - might be to provide tips that help consumers maintain a thriving garden in all seasons, which could be summarized and published as: The Better Garden Blog Tips and Tools from our team of experts to keep your garden looking its best year round!

2. Getting Started - Blog Software

Once you have decided to start blogging, you will need to consider the software options available for hosting your blog. Many social media experts advise businesses to be wary of some of the free blog tools available, since their basic features don't offer integration with existing business Web domains or allow for brand customization.

Truth be told, however, if you are just getting started with a blog, free blogging software can be a cost-effective and easy solution for many small businesses. If your blog does take off down the road, you might want to consider migrating to blog software that is installed on your domain and integrated with your Web site. And don't forget to devise a communication plan to let your readers know that you are moving hosts!

3. Commit to Blogging Regularly and with Relevance

There are two tell tale signs that a blog has lost its way - no posts for two weeks or more, and content that has veered off course. Neither will give a favorable impression of your company.

A good way to keep posts regular is to share duties with others. This also adds a diversity of voices. Having an editorial calendar can also keep you on track. Written in advance (for the coming month or quarter), an editorial calendar should include not just the working title of upcoming posts, but a summary of the objective of each post too. Also include hyperlinks to other resources that can help you craft your post quickly and efficiently when it comes time to write. Don't forget to include placeholders for topical posts that spring up at the last minute. For example, in the case of our hypothetical company - JJ's Landscaping Services - topical posts that address current issues such as protracted weather conditions can keep your blog relevant and compelling.

4. Develop a Plan to Generate Traffic to your Blog

Last, but by nomeans least, generating traffic to your blog is critical. The trouble is, many bloggers either do nothing to leverage the tactics available to them, or they go overboard and saturate their blog pages with links and social media icons to drive inbound traffic.

There are many traditional and non-traditional ways to drive traffic to your blog - from ensuring you have RSS feeds built in to adding a link to your blog from other customer touch points such as your email signature and main business Web site. This article from *Louis Gray - "*10 Pointers for Generating Traffic to Your Blog" - is essential reading to get any blogger started in thinking about ways to promote their blog content and drive inbound traffic.

Happy blogging!

 

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Comments:

cool content i like it
Well, it's true that a blog is a very important part toward getting your website in high search positions, and I agree where you said "free blogging software can be a cost-effective and easy solution for many small businesses." But, let's be realistic. If you want to own a real business, you simply must "own" your website (and blogs are now a section of your core website, not just something off to the side). To truly own your website, you will need your own hosting account somewhere to store the files and the database. When that happens, you will need to find a helper that knows the blog software well enough that you can get help when you need it. And, eventually, you will need the technical help. Just trying to set expectations properly for ya...
great for the post was really good man and van london
I believe that an entrepreneur who has started a business offline, and wants to expand their business online must rely on professional blogger, or a person who deals only with the blog. Managing a business and at the same time maintaining a blog can be very expensive in terms of time and therefore I think that to get the most out of your blog you need to have the resources devoted entirely to the blog. This is a beautiful post, it offers good food for thought for all those who want to start a blog in a serious and professional.
I like the wording of the problems the author. If you can create content that's relevant and useful to your audience, your search engine optimization will go through the roof. and that is the field I was pursuing
Thanks for the advice. Creating a blog for my resell rights website is something I have considered in the past but haven't had the time to make regular posts. After reading the post here made me reconsider and put more effort into it. ---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.
thanks, ................................
This was useful information for novices like me. Thank author
Thavk. The post very useful, thank you !
I'm doin't it now, but still under construction

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