A business blog is one of the most cost-effective and easiest ways to promote your business. Done right, it can drive traffic to your website, increase your sales, establish you as an authority in your industry and also help you to reach new markets. Unfortunately, many small businesses are yet to wake up to the benefits of this tool. Valid reasons range from lack of time for writing the blog posts to a lack of ideas for quality posts. Here are my top tips for writing and building a successful business blog.
Write for your customers
Your blog, like your website, is not for you. It's for your customers, so write for them. Ideally, your blog should aim to either solve a problem for your customers or provide fresh insights into your industry.
Plan your content
Lack of time and ideas are the most frequently cited reasons many small businesses cite for not having a blog. However, with a bit of planning, you can have enough ideas to keep your it running for weeks or even, months ahead.
Your posts can be answers to the questions most frequently asked by your customers. For example, if you are a jeweler, you could write a blog post on what to look for when buying a diamond.
Google Adwords Keyword Tool is another great way of finding keyword phrases that people are using to search for your services. The keyword phrase, once you've identified it, could be your blog title. It's a simple and effective way of driving traffic to your blog and letting the world know about your services. So, for the jeweler mentioned, his blog title, based on keyword volume research via Google's keyword tool, would be 'how to buy a diamond'.
Create valuable content
The key to a successful business blog is giving your readers valuable content. That is how you establish your website's authority in your industry. In addition, if you give your readers valuable content, they will reward you by becoming return visitors and also parting with their money.
If lack of time or lack of writing skills is an issue, you could outsource your blog to a blog writing service. These do exactly what it says on the tin – write your blog to meet your customers' needs and also drive sales for you.
Opinion is divided on how frequently you should update your blog. Aim for a frequency that you can maintain. Fortnightly or weekly is fine. The key is consistency. Don't start a blog and then abandon it halfway.
Search engines like fresh content and the more frequently you update your blog (and by extension, your website), the more likely your website will climb up search engine rankings and also gain visibility for your target customers.
Develop your blogging style
Blogs are meant to be informal, so let your blog reflect the human face of your company. Give it some personality and try to keep the sales pitch down. You'll find that people are more likely to respond to you and also buy your services.
As a guide, a blog post should be about 400 words. If your post is longer than this, think about serializing it. People tend to scan web content, so make every word count.
Just because your blog is not getting any comments does not mean that it is not being read. Think about the number of articles you read or blogs that you visit. Do you always leave comments? Many people don't. However, you will find that you get more comments as you slowly build up your readership.
Make your blog shareable
Links are the lifeblood of the internet, so make it easy for your readers to share your blog. The easiest way to do this is by using share icons. These are social networking icons (see example to the right of this article) that make it easy for people to share your post and consequently, drive traffic and potential sales to your website.
Measure your blog's performance
If you haven't already done so, make sure you have a web stats tool to measure your website's performance. The most popular one is Google Analytics. It's free and literally takes minutes to install. Over time, as you add more posts to your blog, it will give you a clearer picture of how people are finding your blog and, most importantly, which of your posts are popular so you know the kind of content your readers like.
There are many benefits to having a business blog and with these tips, you should well on your way to creating a successful blog that also promotes your business.