How to Start a Blog for a Business
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By starting a blog for your business, you will benefit in multiple ways. Most importantly, it creates an opportunity for you to engage with your target audience while marketing your brand.
By sharing information, ideas, and opinions on topics that you have experience or expertise in, not only can you bring your business to the forefront, you can also help both existing customers and prospects solve problems.
Whether you sell a product or service, blogging has become an essential tool for achieving success. With excellent planning, organization and strategy, you can rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) which, in turn, will drive more traffic to your site, generate leads and ultimately lead to higher sales.
While it is difficult to find recent statistics, experts indicate that as of 2013, there were more than 150 million blogs online. Initially, you might think that with so much competition, there is no way that blogging will take your business to a higher level of success.
The fact is that people are always hungry for information. By providing them with blogs that offer value, you have an excellent chance of achieving your goals and objectives as a business owner.
While article writing has a long history, blogging did not emerge until the early 2000s. At first, bloggers focused on the political arena, which slowly changed to sharing personal experiences about day-to-day activities.
The word “blog” comes from the word “weblog”. Over time, blogs evolved into “how to” manuals on just every topic imaginable. Today, blogs have become a powerful marketing tool.
Blogging starts with writing. After selecting a topic, you should create quality content about your business, industry, product or service. Add links and images, and then share the content on your website.
If you have a well-written blog, meaning it is interesting, useful and informative, you can expect the intended audience to read and share it.
What Is a Blog?
The easiest way to describe a blog is as an online journal or informational website page. What makes blogging so exciting is that there are no limitations as to subject matter. For instance, some people focus on technology while others write about parenting or home improvement.
Although the focus for you is to share views, opinions, advice and experiences on topics that relate to your business, you can connect with your target audience with personal blogs as well.
Starting a blog for your business involves more than just writing. You need to use various tools to help you identify the subjects that online users search for, learn about Google’s latest algorithms and understand the appropriate structure for blogs. With everything combined, you will be well placed to promote your brand successfully.
The fact that there are millions of other blogs online does not put you at a disadvantage. You and other businesses simply share the same playing field.
Although other companies sell the same type of product or service as you, if you create excellent content, you can experience significant growth and, ultimately, success beyond what you ever imagined.
Anyone within your organization who has a passion for writing and a gift for using words can blog. After going through a learning curve, that individual will know how to use the right tools to create excellent blogs for your business. Remember, everyone has a story to tell, and the world is listening.
One of the great things about blogging is that you can focus on a local audience or reach people around the globe. When blogging to promote your business, you accomplish several things:
- Teach other people what you know
- Develop your brand as an expert
- Sell your product or service
- Build an email list
- Engage with current and prospective customers
- Enhance online visibility
One of the first steps you will take when blogging is to identify your topic. As mentioned, it is essential that you focus primarily on things that relate to your business.
For instance, if you have a pet supply company, you can write about things like “dog harnesses versus leashes,” “the healthiest cat food,” “the proper diet for an iguana,” and so on. Anything relating to that business is fair game.
If you have a service-related business, perhaps you prepare taxes or provide legal advice, you too can use blogs to promote what you do. As an example, you could write about “how to choose a tax preparer,” “the importance of keeping receipts,” “ways to get more back on a tax return,” or “how to settle a claim out of court.”
To blog about specific topics relevant to your business, you will first need to identify what people want to read about. For that, you could create an online questionnaire, pay attention to the type of questions asked at your store and conduct online research.
If you have customers who either call, email or stop by your brick-and-mortar location to inquire about potty training a puppy, you could create a blog on this very topic. To identify the best subjects for your blogs, always listen, research and never be afraid to ask.
You can also blog about industry-related news. If you own a travel agency, you could blog about recent airline incidents, new TSA regulations and travel warnings, among other things. Along with topics specific to your product or service, throw in a personal blog periodically.
As a pet supply company owner, you could share a story about hiking with your dog. As part of that, you could weave in information that has to do with one of the products you sell.
This type of blog will allow you to connect with people on a more personal level, which enhances engagement and builds trust.
Although you have a choice of multiple platforms including Blogger.com and Tumblr, WordPress is by far the most popular and straightforward to use. With this platform, you can customize your blog so that it reaches the intended audience.
When first starting out, spend time learning how to use WordPress. You’ll be publishing articles in no time.
When creating blogs for your business, you need a way to track your efforts accurately. For instance, it is essential for you to know if your blogs rank highly in search engines and if people are reading them.
Google Analytics will tell you how many people are reading your articles and will also help you identify the origin of your traffic. Based on the information you gather, you can then make any necessary changes to improve the results.
Google Webmaster Tools
With the Google Webmaster Tools, you can keep an eye on the keywords your blogs rank for but also anything that could affect their ranking. You can also track keyword impressions and click-through rates. When using blogs to market your brand, this valuable information will keep you on track.
Because search engine optimization (SEO) is ever-changing in response to new and modified Google algorithms, you should think about hiring a professional company to help optimize your blogs. While you might do OK with the basics, when it comes to the more complex aspects of SEO, an expert’s assistance is vital.
The right strategy will enhance your SERP ranking, increase site traffic, boost leads, help you build loyal online followers and generate more revenue from the blogs.
For blogs to increase your brand’s visibility, you need to post on different social media platforms. Although Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn rank among the top choices, there are many others to consider.
Using various social media sites allows you to share your blogs and engage with other bloggers, as well as customers and prospects. Along with building a stronger following, this is an excellent way to learn from others.
When writing blogs to build your business, you need to show some patience. By providing your target audience with consistently excellent content, your brand awareness will skyrocket dramatically.
If you do not have someone who is qualified or interested in blogging internally, you can always hire a professional from an outside firm to assist.
Through your blogs, you will introduce your brand and guide people to the products or services that you sell. Considering how competitive online businesses are, blogging is a superior way to promote your business and make it stand out.
For the content you write, you have several options for marketing your brand. For instance, you can answer questions on sites like Quora or Reddit, post videos on YouTube, or add articles to Scribd.com and others. Regardless of the direction you take, make sure that all content is useful, interesting, original, entertaining and problem-solving.
The content is the foundation of your blog. Unless you provide readers with information they want and need, your company could struggle to thrive.
The goal is to introduce readers to your brand in a compelling, original and informative way. Regardless of the topic, it is essential that you replace content with something new on a regular basis.
Be realistic as to the amount of time you can dedicate to blogging. Although you should post new articles weekly, it is better to be consistent than to start disappointing your audience by not posting regularly.
Regardless of the schedule you establish, stick with it at all costs. If you find it hard to keep up, you can hire an expert from a reputable content marketing firm.
The Look of a Blog
A common misconception about blogging is that you need to be an excellent writer. The fact is that unlike articles, blogs have a conversational and informal style.
For that reason, even when blogging to promote your business, you do not need an English degree. With a passion for what you do and by following a few simple guidelines, you will have no problem creating blogs that contain information about your business, industry, product or service.
When blogging for your business, there are two critical things to remember. First, when people look at information online, they initially scan as opposed to reading.
Second, it is harder to follow text on a screen than in print. Keeping those things in mind and make sure that you use the correct formatting for your blogs.
Pay close attention to your blog formatting. When writing blog articles, use a page layout to make them easy to scan.
When posting blogs on your company website, keep the width to about 80 characters or less (including spaces). The difference between this and a full column is remarkably different. This rule will make your blogs easier to read.
Headers and Subheaders
Because both headers and subheaders break up long blogs, people will feel more enticed to read the entire content as opposed to just scanning.
Whether using numbers or bullets, a list makes it possible for people to scan for the specific information they want quickly.
To break up paragraphs into smaller blocks of information use commas, periods, semicolons and so on. Run-on sentences are difficult to read.
By using punctuation, sentences will make more sense, thus prompting people to go through your blog in its entirety. If you need to write a longer sentence, be 100 percent sure it makes sense.
Just like run-on sentences, people find long paragraphs challenging to read and comprehend. Keep your blog paragraphs between two and six sentences at the most.
Font Type and Size
For on-screen reading, Verdana and other sans-serif fonts are best. Times New Roman is also an acceptable choice for your business blogs. As for size, use 14 for the title and 12 for the subheaders and body content.
Bold and Italics
Bolded text is OK in the header, subheader and sometimes to emphasize a specific word or phrase in the body of the blog. However, you should never use italics in your blogs since they are hard to read on-screen.
In the main body of your blog, only capitalize proper nouns and the first letter of new sentences.
People can become distracted when reading blogs. For that reason, make sure they are not overly busy and leave enough white space to allow the eyes to rest.
For blogs, a white background with black text has become the default. If you want something different, just make sure that you stick with a lighter background, like gray or pale yellow, again with black or dark blue text.
Your blogs will attract more people when they include high-quality photos. Especially for emphasizing a message, images are an excellent way to grab attention and make a connection.
Regardless of the topic you write about, keep your blogs consistent. That means you need to follow the same layout, use the same style, and provide the same high-caliber content.
Even when writing blogs about products or services, you want them to tell a story. For example, if you have a hardware business, you could tell a story related to hand tools.
With a well-written blog, you could get a message across about safety, time-saving tips, and so on in an exciting way that grabs and holds the reader’s attention.
Why Are Blogs So Popular?
As mentioned, people are hungry for information. Through blogging, you can provide what they want. Blogging will also help improve customer satisfaction and build trust and relationships.
With blogging, your site visitors have a way of interacting with you or commenting on your brand. That makes them feel important and valued, something that everyone wants.
The money-making opportunities are another factor. Instead of building a massive audience, you want one that is loyal. With blogging, you can make money in several different ways:
No matter what type of tangible products you sell at your brick-and-mortar store and online, blogging will help you align better with your target audience.
For things like graphic arts, photographs, resumes and more, you can use your blogging to sell products that you only create once repeatedly.
Along with tangible and digital products, blogs are an excellent way to promote services. Whether you offer consulting, writing or some other form of service, blogging is an outstanding marketing tool.
You can also use your blogs to build affiliate relationships. With that, both parties make money when one or the other sells products or services.
There are lots of other ways to monetize your blogs beyond those mentioned above. These include doing paid reviews, selling subscriptions powered by various platforms, publishing and selling a book as a tangible or digital product and more.
Your blogs will serve as a second means of generating income beyond the products and services they promote for your business.
Besides the fact that blogging for your business will generate new sales leads, you will benefit in other ways:
With your blogs, you can engage with both current customers and prospects in an informal yet direct way, void of any pressure. Using your experience and expertise, you can reach a broad targeted audience.
With the strengths of your product or service, you can engage with people who are interested in buying what you sell. Blogging allows you to reach out in ways limited by traditional advertising and marketing.
Through your blogs, you have a unique opportunity to gain insight into the needs and interests of your customers. Based on the data you gather, you can either modify what your business currently offers or develop a new product or service. Overall, blogging will make you a better businessperson while also strengthening your brand.
The more approachable you and your business are, the better chance you have of achieving a high level of success. Because blogs are naturally more casual, people find it easier to connect with them.
Even if you have an incredibly successful business, there is no reason to look away from other revenue-generating opportunities. While both the startup and operating costs of blogs are low, this is still an excellent way to make more money.
The Bottom Line
Are you interested in ways of getting ahead of your competition? Do you have a product or service that you believe in and want to share? Would you like to tell others about your experience and expertise?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then blogging is right for you. Along with more conventional marketing strategies, now is the perfect time to implement a blogging campaign.
Within a relatively short amount of time, you will begin to see positive changes. Your online search results will improve, the volume of traffic to your website will increase and the number of bona fide customers will surpass your expectations. Just because there are millions of blogs already on the internet does not mean that there is no room for you.
Keep your blog consistent, exciting and original, and watch what happens.