I tell small business owners all the time, “You need to blog”. And I often get, “what’s a blog exactly?” Even if the small business owner knows what a blog is, they often have a hard time figuring out how it will help them make more money. So here are a few basics of blogging for business that can be used as part of an overall marketing strategy to get more leads and grow your small business.
What is a Blog?
I found this definition on www.blogger.com and I think it answers this question perfectly:
“A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world. Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, and there are no real rules.
In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what’s new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. Or not.
Since Blogger was launched in 1999, blogs have reshaped the web, impacted politics, shaken up journalism, and enabled millions of people to have a voice and connect with others”.
The only thing I would change is that the blog has become much more than a personal diary and has evolved into a platform for professional and business expression and education as well.
Why Do I Need a Blog? (Most of the content in this section is taken from John Jantsch, “Blogging for Business” from the Duct Tape Marketing System)
A Search Engine Traffic Bonanza
The main reason for a business to write a blog is to increase search engine traffic to your site. Search engines love real blogs. By real blogs, I mean blogs that are set up and run by businesses that offer useful content. As with every successful marketing method, there are people out there setting up fake blogs and dumping keyword-rich garbage into them in order to trick the search engines into ranking the content highly. (Please resist the urge to add this form of search engine spam as it may actually get you banned by a search engine.). So by setting up and regularly posting a real blog, rich with key words, you will improve your ranking and push out the fake ones in your industry.
For more reading about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Blogging check out: http://websearch.about.com/od/keywordsandphrases/a/blogseo.htm
Lots of Pages
Each blog entry is its own web page, with its own unique URL and title. What does that mean? It means that an active blogger can create hundreds of keyword-rich web pages in a matter of months- which helps your ranking and helps you get found on the web!
Change is Good
In order to claim your place at the blogging table, you have to commit to making posts often – some people even recommend four or five times a week – however if you’re a beginner (like me!), once a week will do just fine. This commitment means you are making changes to your website at least once per week. The typical small business website is lucky to receive an update a year. Search engines love change!
It’s a Marketing Conversation
Blog content is more like a conversation than a sales pitch. Readers often feel a greater connection to content that is open, honest, and transparent – the very nature of most blog content. Blogs make it easy for readers to connect and participate in the dialogue through linking and commenting.
Where Do I Get a Blog?
Some website platforms (like WordPress) have blog software built in, so first check with your website administrator. If a blogging option isn’t available on your website and you don’t want to change your website platform check out a free blogging site like www.blogger.com. It is always best to blog on your own site, since the main goal is to drive traffic and links back to you, but using a free blogging site is bettter than not blogging at all.
There are a ton of other reasons for and benefits to blogging for small businesses; I hope this overview gives you a few answers to your questions about blogging. If not, feel free to ask them here in the comments and I promise I will answer them! Click here to leave your comments.