To blog or not to blog?
By Kathleen Aoki
While maintaining a business blog represents an ongoing commitment of time and energy for small business owners, the benefits can be exponential. From increased SEO to building trust and credibility to establishing yourself as a leader in your field, blogging is a great way to promote your business.
So while you're still determining whether blogging is right for you, consider that it can lead to:
- Increased sales.
- Important business contacts.
- Linking from other sites.
- Community building.
- Media coverage.
Now you know the why, the next question is how.
Setting up your own business blog
If you've decided that you would like to start a business blog, here are some tips to get you started:
- Review your business goals and what you are trying to achieve with your blog - i.e. thought leadership, more clients, etc. - as this will drive the kind of content you create.
- Choose who will write content: you, an employee, or an outside content writer.
- Budget how much time and money you are willing to devote to your blog.
- Make a serious commitment to your blog. It can take time to see results.
- Be creative and have fun. Aim for interesting, fresh and informative content that readers will want to share.
- Get the word out. Share your blog on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and in emails.
- Track your blog's activity with Google Analytics.
You will also have to decide where to host your blog. Often the simplest approach is to maintain the blog on your company's regular website. This will also have the advantage of increasing SEO and driving traffic to your site.
Driving traffic to your site with your blog
To use blogging to increase SEO and traffic on your site, your blog posts need to be optimised for keywords - that is, the specific search terms that people are searching on, usually three to four-word sequences, such as "artisan chocolates in Sydney", for example.
To help you narrow down the best keywords for your business and industry, you can use Google's AdWord Tool, which shows you what search terms are popular with users.
Reasons not to have a blog
While most arguments point to the overwhelming benefits of blogging, there are some compelling reasons against having a blog, including:
- You lack commitment. Unless you can commit to your blog, it's probably best not to have one.
- You have difficulty writing. Poorly written content is almost as bad as no content at all, in which case you should hire an experienced content writer to help you.
- You don't want to give away industry secrets.
- You simply don't have the time, or it's not a business priority.
That said, the benefits of having a business blog are many. If you decide to go forward, do so with a sound plan and commitment, and enlist outside help if needed. It can take a while before you see the benefits in terms of SEO and traffic, so the key is to stay with it!