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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:

Blogs, specifically wordpress hosted on your on domain I have found to be a powerful small busines marketing tool. When I learned to write post around local key words my local customers would search for and I provided good content and some free material in exchange for their e-mail I increased by local brick an morter business by 20% in this economy.. blog saved my business! Chris Winters Reality PPC Message Edited by NicoleD on 11-23-2009 10:46 AM
Twitter and Facebook are good tools to reach out to your customers, but adding a blog could be a powerful addition. Especially because you are able to incorporate more of your brand into a blog. Even better than a blog would be a website, which can be a bit more difficult, but with online tutorials you can learn how to do it yourself. You can check out this link to get adobe dreamweaver training, if you're interested in learning how to build websites.Message Edited by NicoleD on 12-18-2009 10:12 AM
Blogs offer businesses many benefits such as:*  Targeted web traffic*  Higher search engine rankings *  Opportunities to interact with customers*  Demonstrating your expertise*  being easier to manage than a website
In real Estate the #1 rule is location, location, location in the blogging worl it's content, content, content. If you do not provide value to your readers they will not come back. I suggest for first timers using WordPress because there is so much free information out there. I have found a good resource is YouTube. Search a how to and you would be surprised the number of videos on the same subject. Happy Blogging --this post was edited to remove a commercial link.Message Edited by NicoleD on 02-05-2010 02:26 PM
Personally I'm a little tired of wordpress and here's why: Everyone and their brother are 'Blogging' now because of the ease of WP. I feel these people are overloading the internet with Spammy articles and content. No offense to the Bloggers actually contributing to the cause! Thanks for being part of the D-list
Even though this thread is out dated, I was still thinking about how wordpress has developed into a full fledged CMS from 'just another blog' long back..
I agree, Wordpress was once just a blogging platform. But over the years it has evolved into something lot bigger yet flexible. You can now use wordpress for almost anything!

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