Creating a Successful Business Blog
Writing and maintaining your own business blog, is a fantastic way to attract new website visitors and increase new enquiries. So what should you write about, and how can you get going?....
How Will a Business Blog Help My Business?
A business blog is an online web space, that allows you to express your opinion in your particular trade or industry. It is primarily designed to provide topical information related to the concerns and issues of your customers. Most blogs are written in a more relaxed style than regular web pages (which tend to be written in the third person). Once you begin business blogging, you will find it much easier to create an article, in which you are expressing your own views, (compared to creating a more formal or technical webpage).
Business blogging is a significant part of online promotion. As the subjects are usually topical or controversial, readers are more likely to leave comments on any blog posts. So over time this is a fantastic way of attracting free and relevant content. It is also a perfect excuse to keep in touch with your existing customers. Most professionals are comfortable and familiar with reading blog pages, who see them as a great way to stay in touch with the latest buzz. Search engines also love fresh content. So any new blog posts created, will help increase the trust and relevancy of the material building up on your website. This is ultimately reflected in improved search engine positions.
For small firms, the challenge of creating a company blogging area can be daunting and technically challenging. To make it a success, owners have to be prepared to give up their own personal time, It takes time to produce and maintain a business blog, by writing fresh and relevant content regularly. Unfortunately, many owners simply do not have time to write each day, and struggle to come up with anything new to talk about. Writing is a skill that requires patience, perseverance and expert knowledge of a topic.
Suitable Topics for a Business Blog
To work out what you will write about, think extremely carefully about your audience and their typical profile. How much information do they already have or actually want? What are the most frequently asked questions you already receive when trading?. How old are they and where do they live? Are they consumers or business customers? What are their main buying criteria's? By answering these sorts of questions, you should be able to empathise and speak directly to them while blogging (as if they were actually in the same room with you).
To get your business blog going, you need to have a written plan. Begin by writing out list of fascinating topic headings, much like writing the chapters of the book. Except the focus of this book is interpreting the issues and concerns of your target audience. Do not forget local issues that influence people in your community. These will rank well, and are more likely to receive comments from other local community representatives. There is nothing wrong with being a bit controversial or dogmatic when you post. In fact, 'sitting on the fence' is the last thing you should do when blogging. However, you need to tone down any extreme views you may have, to a business audience. You may accidentally end up, alienating potential customers with opposing views to you.
Your first twenty articles should be particularly relevant 'hot topics' in your market sector. Each post should consider issues affecting customers or suppliers. Try and consider both sides of any argument or viewpoint. Topics might include local events and seminars, charity work, industry regulation, changes in tax law, the impact of new entrants from overseas or perhaps changes in product technologies or product innovation. Avoid self publicising your own business at all costs! Readers will respect and trust a coherent business blogger, that creates an engrossing twist on key facts (rather than 'blows their own trumpet'). Try and get into the habit of writing a short feature at least once a week, on issues in the news or affecting your particular market sector.
There is nothing stopping you writing lengthy articles on other peoples business blogs, which link back to your own. This entices visitors from other related websites (that may have more traffic than yours), to click through and see what you have got to say. Choosing which blogs to participate in is vital. Pick the most respected and popular in your sector. Remember the overall goal here is to attract prospects into your own business blog. It is not to increase the number of links pointing back to your website. Search engines are well aware of this old trick.
How to Set Up a Business Blog
There are many online services providing free blogging services, that will connect your website to a third-party hosted place on the web. This area can be set up exclusively for your own benefit to enable you to post blog content. The main disadvantage is that your company website will not benefit from search engines. Instead, the third party hosting website does. This is why it is more beneficial to create blog pages hosted within your own company website. This usually means installing a third party blogging software script such as Wordpress, to provide the right look and feel of a typical business blog.
Most commercial scripts provide functionality for visitors to comment or create mini blogs. Most scripts also provide administrative functions, to minimise comment spam or any offensive or irrelevant posts. Probably the most useful function of commercial blog software scripts, is the newsletter or subscription functions. Millions of web users now have RSS News readers or are happy bookmarking useful pages via social network bookmarks. By building up a regular newsletter or reader base, you will find the power of suggestion will increase website traffic.
Is Blogging Worth all the Effort?
Many small business owners set up a business blog, write a few articles and give up within a few months. They see no return on investment, from the effort and time it takes to write superior quality blog posts. However as with all Internet marketing, you must be patient and committed to long-term success. There are no quick fixes. Remember that blogging never ends!
To boost self confidence and improve your knowledge of blogging, invest a few hours reading through your competitor's blogs. Take some time to get a gut feel for the issues they have raised. Check the frequency between posts and the average length of each article. Think about the care and time they have invested. There is no doubt that the most successful business websites are those with the most unique, relevant and comprehensive range of content. It helps to involve you own employees in helping to write stuff for the company blog. However, if you are on your own, business blogging is still a relatively low cost method of boosting online sales. It can also be a powerful stress relieve valve when you are working on your own. Happy business blogging!