When you take your business online, one of the first suggestions you will hear is to start a blog. This is after a website, some basic marketing, and a handful of different profiles on other sites like Facebook and Twitter. But, what does a blog entail and how much work will you actually need to do.
First, let’s take a look at what a blog does for your business. I won’t write on and on about the hundreds of benefits a blog has for a business (but there are that many) – instead, I’ll point to just one: trust building. A blog helps you develop trust and rapport with your customers well before they buy a product or visit your storefront.
By offering regular, insightful information, you provide a useful breakdown of what you know and what you can offer those readers. But, to do this you need to write regularly, about topics that are of interest to your average reader and that provide actual value.
Your Blog’s Contents
So, what does a blog need to have to create this trust building essence that will draw readers to you like flies to honey? To start, you need a schedule. Maybe not every day (unless you have a lot to say), but at least twice a week, probably three times is best. This ensures the readers have something new to read every 2-3 days and that your blog continuously gets re-upped in search engines and blog directories.
You should be writing about things that will benefit your readers. News in your niche is good, but don’t write only about news. Your readers want to know about things that affect them, but also how to do certain things. Provide articles that discuss specific areas of concern for your readers. For example, if you own a bicycle shop that specializes in road bikes, you could write about the different ways to repair a flat on your way to work, or how to stay hydrated on an hour long ride.
These details are great because they speak to your target reader, show that you’re a knowledgeable resource, and provide constant, content rich pages to the search engines.
The Blog Itself
How you build your blog is far less important than what you place in it. Personally, I recommend using WordPress on your own dedicated domain. You can create a separate domain such as “www.yourbusinessblog.com” or you could create a directory on your main site such as “www.yoursite.com/blog”. I prefer the second option (as you can see from my site), because it provides the blog as a supplement to your main page.
WordPress is also good because it allows you to maintain the aesthetic appeal of your website on your blog – carrying over the brand. There are plenty of free themes out there, but I recommend hiring a professional to produce a brand-matching theme that fits your blog. You don’t need any special coding; just the graphics and dimensions to fit.
The Bottom Line
This article is obviously a very brief overview of why a blog is a good idea for your business. In the weeks to come, I will go much further in depth about how to use the blog, what plugins to use in WordPress, and how to make your entire website revolve around the posts you write each day. For now, though, sit down and consider exactly what you would like to have on that blog.
It’s a marketing tool, sure, but it’s also a part of you – a reflection of the owner and the brand that drive your business. The more personal you make it, the more successful it will be.