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How to Build a Blog for your Business
You have probably been told at one time or another that your business website needs a blog. If not - let me do the honors. If you have a business and you want to make money at it, you probably need a website. If you need or have a website, and you want people to find your website, then you need a blog. There you go, all taken care of.
If you are anything like many of the small business owners that I have talked with you probably meet this statement with some of the following questions… Why do I need a blog? What do I post on my blog? I have very limited time, so how often do I need to post on this blog? Where do I find photos for my blog? These questions if unanswered leave many business owners neglecting to add content to their site or having a blog. So I hope to answer them for you here and if you are left with any questions about creating a blog for your business you can always email us your questions.
Step 1 - Why do I need a blog for my business?
A high proportion of business owners will shrug at the idea of a blog. Many consider how burdened they already are and can’t imagine taking the time to put towards a blog anyhow. Many can’t see how it can have that much value, anyhow. I am telling you that you do need a blog, unless you aren’t really looking for additional clients, profit, or business growth. If you are, then you do. A blog is a way for you to add content to your site. Matt Cutts, of Google fame, says “Even if you do brain-dead stupid things and shoot yourself in the foot, but have good content, we still want to return it”. Matt Cutts has spent much of his career focused on eliminating spam from Google rankings and making many of the big decisions about what determines how a website will rank in the search engine. The focus many in the search elite have given to content, certainly points us in that direction. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, every one of us that has done any testing and work in content can see how drastically having content on your website will effect your traffic viewings. Do you need to see it for yourself? Go to the websites that are ranking highly in competitive searches and see if the site you land on has a handful of pages of company information or if they also provide valuable content.
Step 2 - How do I get a blog for my business?
The value of having a blog is to draw traffic to your website with the content contained. So you need a website for your business. If you don’t have one email us for a quote. Once you have a website for your business, you will need a blog infrastructure (app) built into it so you can create blog posts (articles or pages with content). If you have a pre-made website, then it may already have a blog built into it. If you have a custom professional website for your business then you will need one built into the website. Contact your web developer and ask them to build a blog application in to your website so that you can start blogging. If your web developer is not available, then email us and we would be glad to help you out. Once you have a blog application on your website then you can move on to the next step.
Step 3 - How often do I need to post on my business blog?
The key to blogging regularity is not as much the density of your posting but the consistency. Some experts say that you must post at least once per day if you want your blog to have any growth and readership. Some experts say that you must post at least once per month for maximum growth. In reality the answer lies in the middle and also depends more on the quality of your posts and the consistency. A realistic expectation for a small business blog is somewhere between once per month and once per week. You need to decide which you can maintain (or which you would like to outsource), and set a schedule and stick to it. The consistency of your posting needs to remain steady, though, if you would like to grow the readership. The readers will need to know how often to expect the content.
As I tell my clients all the time…. something is better than nothing. If you can do nothing more than a few posts per year, then that is surely better than no blog at all. However, when your readers open your blog and see that nothing has been posted in months, they may begin to wonder if you are even still in business. Posting less than once per month, especially on a new blog, is going to be less than what you should be doing. So if you want to get in to the game, but do the minimum at least to start, then schedule time once per month to post a blog. If you absolutely do not have time to post once monthly, then email us and we will give you information about our content marketing service.
Step 4 - What do I post on my business blog?
Knowing what to post on your business blog can often be a stopping point for many business owners. Thinking up topics to post articles on a website is so far down the to do list of most business owners that if the ideas aren’t obvious, this can often be a reason many blogs do not get updated or created to begin with. The answer, though, can be so simple. Before we get into that - just stay focused on what you do. If you are an attorney, then you probably do not want to post blog updates with movie reviews or travel journals. You want people to come to your blog because they are researching how to hire an attorney, not how to find the best beaches in Florida. Drawing irrelevant traffic is a waste of time, because to get a new lead off of an irrelevant search is highly unlikely. Now - what to post...
Imagine if a client or industry cohort walked into your office and sat in a chair. What would you talk about? What would they likely ask you about? You may have just written a blog in your head in answering those questions. Perhaps a new client calls and asks a question that you hear often, or maybe haven’t heard before. The answer is likely an automatic response or might take some research. If you take some notes or a reminder you can dictate the answer you give this client into a blog post and there you are set for a month!
If instead, you have in house staff who have spare time to write for you… or you hired Foowebs to handle your content management, then you may have more time to brainstorm topics for the blog, since you don’t have to do the heavy lifting. If this is the case a little psychology is on the menu. Sit for a moment and imagine that you are your client. What is the problem that you are solving? Do they have other related problems? Are there aspects of your business that your business would be researching before narrowing down a provider? Are there questions you answer over and over? Are there new products coming out in your industry that you can provide information or background on? Have you completed a project lately that you want to share? Do you have a case study that you want to add? Do you have any tutorials that could help your clients? The ideas are endless and I recommend you do what I do and keep a running list of blog ideas (yes this post was born from this list like many of the foo posts), and add to it when you think of something. If all else fails, read what your competitors are writing about to inspire your creativity.
Step 5 - Where can I find images to post on my business blog?
The best images are original images. Do you have someone on your staff whose meeting doodles should be framed? Do you have a nice stash of photographs of your work and industry related content? If you have someone handy in Photoshop then you can often create your own images, that will really bring the most uniqueness and value to your blog pages. If none of these things are true, then there is still hope for you...
Images are important for blogs. You will still get mega seo benefit from content with no images. But when real people are on your pages and there are no images to visualize the content, and the text is not broken up, then they are less likely to read, and stay on the page, and look around at your offerings. If you don’t have a way to make your own photos, then you can make use of some of the awesome tools on the internet to create or even buy some blog visuals.
- Canva - is a super easy to use website where you can pick backgrounds, images, and text and create images already optimized for the blog. Many of the pieces are free but they do have premium content that is available for purchase. Canva makes it dummy proof to make your own images.
- Fiverr - is a website where you can pay people $5 to do things for you, like create images for your blog post. While it is not free, I think we can all see the benefit in an image you can continue to use in any format you have available that was made uniquely for you - all for five dollars.
- Stock Images - there are tons of sites out there with free stock images and purchasable stock images. I am fond of iStockphoto.com myself but find one that works for you :)
I hope this helps you out. If you are overwhelmed at the idea, call your friendly foowebber at 813-360-0932 and we will take the burden off of you and handle your content marketing. If you are ready to go out and do it on your own - then we wish you all the success your web host can handle!
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Kim Young is Founder, CEO, and a developer at Foo - a web development company based in Wesley Chapel, Florida. She can also be found on Google+. With over 16 years of experience as a web developer, Kim is excited to share with you tidbits that she has picked up along the way. Kim prioritizes continuing education and out of box thinking in order to bring the most valuable solution to Fooweb's clients.