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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:

Nice article. I found the article very interesting Thanks you ^^
This is really helpful as im currently in the process of setting up a blog for our site. some great tips, thanks
We started a blog a while back and have been trying to post to it regular. It's a home restoration blog though ( http://www.trilogyrestoration.com/restoration-blog/ ), and the real challenge is getting people to actually read it. Water and fire damage posts aren't exactly the most exciting topics in the world to read. So, I guess we're at #4 on the list, and I really liked the resource on 10 Pointers for Generating Traffic. There are some great ideas there, and I'm going try to develop an actual plan to drive more traffic to our blog now. Great post. Thank you!
We use http://wordpress.org @ EasyGrant.us - Very easy to install as most web hosting companies have a "1 click" install method. Or you can get the entire site up with a design for under $500 via freelancers online. The most difficult challenge is going to be driving traffic to your blog. Here's a couple ideas to help you jump start your traffic. 1. Google adwords - great for testing keywords and phrases that convert your traffic. 2. social media - requires some work "gasp" but in the end, social proof is mandatory and you'll kill the traffic bird and social proof bird with a little elbow grease. 3. Blog comments - leaving insightful comments on authority blogs can not only draw new readers to your blog, but also engage the author to take notice to your website. To your success,
I found the article very interesting,i created a blog without knowing anything about it and so far it is going well.
how do i bring traffic to a blog
Thank you for the article. I heard there are some services like Blogger or Tumblr that will allow you to easily create a blog. I also heard about some other platforms called content management systems such as wordpress. Any preference?
Nice article, and will add this... a few of the reasons you may decide to start a blog: 1. You have a hobby you are passionate about and wish to interact with others who share your interest. 2. You have an interest in writing and are looking for an outlet for your work. 3. You are going on an exciting trip and wish to document it for posterity. 4. You are about to embark on a significant life change and want a place to record it. And here are some ways to make money from blogging: 1. Selling advertising: once your blog starts to attract a lot of traffic, you will be able to sell advertising space on your blog. 2. Selling products and services: some blogs acts as a marketing tool for real-life products or services. 3. Affiliate marketing: you are getting commission for selling other people’s products and services via your blog. Works particularly well when you have a large, established and niche-focussed audience. 4. Ad networks: advertising networks such as Google AdSense allow you to dedicate space on your blog to sponsored ads. Hope this help!
It's relevant in the USA, as it is for Australia and New Zealand, and it is something that I have taken on board.
I found this blogging article interesting. It's relevant in the USA, as it is for Australia and New Zealand, and it is something that I have taken on board. Our website is http://www.horseracingholidays.com.au

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