Running a small business comes with a plethora of challenges – getting yourself noticed, establishing yourself on the market, developing a strong customer base, drawing traffic to your website, and the list could go on. Owning a corporate website is of course a must for any business, small or big. What most small businesses don’t realize is that a static website doesn’t do much to increase their traffic to their websites or to engage potential customers. A sure-fire way to influence the online presence of small business websites is to create a blog.
Why is it important to create a blog?
Blogging is still a relevant tool for content generation, and unless your prospects already know your business by name, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll find you based on a random or even a targeted Google search. Setting up a blog undoubtedly increases traffic to your website, facilitates the meeting of supply and demand, lets you build up a reputation for your brand, and it’s an easy way to receive feedback from your audience.
1. Increasing traffic
A regularly updated blog that offers solutions to problems that your potential customers may have, can go a long way in driving more traffic to your website via organic searches. An increase of traffic with blogging also means that you’ll have to invest less on expensive ads or other marketing options.
2. Supply meets demand
Blogging offers solutions to most challenges faced by small businesses including providing a possibility for prospects to find them, and for these prospects to turn into engaged customers. A website with regularly updated content is recognized by search engines, and it’s more likely to be ranked higher compared to websites whose content remains unchanged. A higher ranking of course translates into bigger visibility.
3. Brand awareness
When you create a blog, you also open a door for your potential customers to get to know you better. Blogging lets you assert and shape your identity as a business and puts you on the radar of people who are searching for solutions that your business can provide them. It also gives you an opportunity to become a go-to expert in your field and to turn your readers into leads, and your leads into returning customers.
Comment sections on blogs, much like product review options on websites, allow visitors to express opinions, give feedbacks, and ask questions. This means that business owners can have an instant insight in what subjects their audience is more interested in and which problems they need solutions to. Thus, with feedbacks flowing in, a two-way communication can be encouraged, and business owners can respond to the demands of their audience either by improving their services or generating new solutions to the problems that were raised.
When setting up a blog it’s important that you create it on your own hosting and existing domain, so you can have full control over it. Some plugins and themes may require extra configuration that may not be available on some blogging platforms. Likewise, your website will be better served by the influx of traffic on your blog. Also, consider choosing a blogging platform that is easy to use like WordPress.
Once you’ve decided to create a blog for your website and you’ve chosen your blogging platform, make sure to take advantage of blogging tools that can help you monitor, interpret and analyze the traffic on your blog and website. Some of the best blogging tools include link-backs, trackbacks, RSS feeds, image and attachment handling, and easy integration with social media platforms. Newsletter subscription options are also a good way to steadily build up a loyal audience and even a loyal clientele. It’s important, however, that you don’t abuse this tool by spamming your readers. Sending them newsletters too frequently will more likely drive them away.
Quality Content is the Real King
Content is still king, however, not all content is king. Ideally, you want your content to be genuine and unique. In addition to the writing itself being unique, you should focus on writing about things people care about and try finding your niche. If you write about things people don’t care for, your blog will fall flat on its face.
Try to identify the potential problems that your prospects may be struggling with and offer solutions to these problems. Don’t make selling your main point, try to be editorial instead. Audiences are becoming more versed in identifying marketing ploys. A bad marketing ploy will kill your blogpost every time. Don’t focus on selling, focus on providing solutions by following the stages of the consumer buying process from the problem recognition phase to the purchase decision phase.
There is no magic number for how often you should write a blogpost or update your content. A certain regularity is indeed important, however, quality content is equally important. Don’t write just for the sake of writing, write to say something that matters. Also, avoid keyword stuffing. It not only makes your content artificial and annoying to read, but it’s also sanctioned by most search engines. Take time to understand how search engines work, and try to write within the confines of the guidelines created by these (e.g. Google Webmaster Guidelines).
Becoming an authority in your field and raising awareness of your brand should be one of your top priorities. If people associate your brand with a reliable source of information, they’ll more likely to be open to doing business with you.
Use Social Media Wisely
More followers don’t necessarily translate into more customers. 50 likes or followers who are genuinely interested in your products or services are more valuable than 500 followers who are just for show. In this context, less is more.
Not all social media is a good platform for you to share your content on. Try to choose the platform that will work best for you based on what your particular niche is. For example, sharing make-up tips on LinkedIn will not reach your target audience as well as it would on Instagram or Pinterest.
Being part of the blogosphere is something that every small business can profit from. A well-written, well-kept blog with quality content will put your business on the map. Blogging takes time and effort, but it’s something worth investing in as it can be very rewarding, especially on the long run.
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