Over the past few years Blogging has grabbed the attention of marketing professionals around the world and has become an essential tool for businesses large and small. ‘What exactly is a blog?’ I hear you ask, well stick around and I’ll explain what a blog is, why your business should blog and how to start blogging.
Short for web-log, a blog was originally an online diary or journal, a log of daily or weekly events presented in chronological order with the most recent at the top of the page. Blogs originally came about during the 1990s and became a popular way for anybody to digitalise their life. This was great for students on backpacking vacations who could now create photo blogs of their travels, expat families wanting to communicate with their friends back home, people or groups who were involved in unusual projects such as restoring an old railway line or building a narrow boat. Like minded individuals then began to link to each others blogs and gain readership. Essentially blogging was the birth of social networking and if you dig deep enough you’ll find millions upon millions of blogs covering any subject you can think of. Despite the rising popularity of blogs the blogging community was largely ignored by businesses despite some Bloggers attracting a serious amount of visitors to their blog and even earning substantial revenue from adverts placed on their successful blog pages. For the past few years however Businesses of all sizes have been falling over themselves to get in on the blogosphere (collective world of blogs) action. Business Blogs are now in vogue
First of all you have to understand some basic concepts here. You’ve perhaps heard me say before that Google™ is committed to returning the most relevant content possible when anybody performs a search. In addition, Google™ owns Blogger™ which is a free platform for creating blogs. Following the introduction of the latest Google search algorithm named “Panda”, blog posts seem to rank much higher in search results than before. If you run your blog properly and stick to the unspoken guidelines then one of the major benefits that you should enjoy is the ability to create valuable contextual links from your blog through to your website. Blogs have much more going for them than just back links however, Lets take a look.
As odd as this may seem, the art of blogging is to not look at your blog campaign through commercial tinted spectacles. Blogging is a selfless activity, blogging is giving, blogging is engaging your readers by providing them with answers or information. Its ok to include links to your business website either contextually or at the end of your blog posts but equally so, where appropriate you should link to other websites and sources of information. Your blog should serve two purposes and these are:
Get it? It’s that simple. Blogs should be viewed as a way to give information away, now this can be done in several ways. Either by providing answers to problems that your potential customers may have or by informing them of new developments. Either way, the search term that they type into Google™ will hopefully match up with the content of one of your blog posts. Once your readers have clicked through to you blog they don’t want to be inundated with adverts for your main website. You need to be more subtle than that.
So maybe by now you understand the answer to the question “Does my business need a blog?” So now you need to start generating regular, original and quality content. How should you do this?
This is always down to personal preference and of course down to the type of industry that your blog is about. Generally though you can be more relaxed on a blog, This helps to show your readers that you have personality, that you are human but most of all it takes away that commercial feel that most websites have and connects better with your readers. So, lets find out how to write blog posts that appeal to the search engines, the readers (your potential customers) and how it benefits your business.
Think of a problem that your reader or potential customer may have. What would they search for? Notice the title of this article? “Why does my business need a blog?” that is the sort of search term that somebody may type. If i’m right, then depending on other factors I’d stand a chance of being somewhere in the search results and the person reading may find the article of interest. Somewhere down the bottom of the article I’d mention that I can create and manage a blog on their behalf (whoops that shameless plug just slipped out) and they would go away thinking either, “what an informative site” or “I might contact that guy and speak more to him”.
I tend to run this site like a blog. It’s laid back. It doesn’t have a rigid structure, I give information away freely and there’s a contact button somewhere on the page if people like what they read and want a price on hiring me. More importantly however, with each blog post you can slip in some fantastic contextual links that will have a great impact on your overall Website SEO campaign. Hopefully you’ll see what I just did there?
I have clients who have blogs, some they run themselves, others have me to create the content for them. Without fail though they all run articles that aim to solve peoples problems or answer questions. The title of each blog post is likely to match up to a search query in Google. Your blog can help to solve customer queries, inform them of new products, get clients to help with research in a fun way. Blogging isn’t just restricted to the written word either, You can post photos of products or events, videos, and lots of other types of media.
“How many driving lessons will I need?”
“What are this years interior design colours?”
“How long will a spray tan last?”
“Can I screw into UPVC Windows?”
“How do I get onto page one of the search results?”
“What are QR codes?”
“How long should I roast a chicken for?”
“Where’s the best place to eat in Merseyside?”
Make a note of some of the questions that your customers ask you on the phone, immediately you have great blog posts just by answering them by writing an article.
Your business blog can be part of your website, this is called on site blogging or alternatively I can highly recommend Blogger by Google™ as an off site blog platform. It’s free, its easy to use and it ranks really well in Google™ searches. There are two schools of thought about whether your blog should be on site or off site. I’ll cover that in another article shortly.
Hopefully now I’ve answered that question for you. If you are serious about promoting your business online then you will by now understand the importance of having a business blog. If you’re interested in learning more then pop along to http://stevegrady.org where I post regular blogging tutorials and tips
If you are too busy running your business to find the time to blog then you could perhaps get one of your staff to blog for you? Failing that….HERE IT COMES!……I can run your business blog for you, ensure that it engages readers and most of all contributes to your overall Website SEO strategy. I’m available to hire as a Freelance Blogger or Freelance Business Blogger not just in Merseyside but in the whole of the UK.
Well, I hope this has given you an insight into business blogging and more importantly answered the question “Why does my business need a blog?” Please feel free to contact me if you need any more information on business blogging or to hire me as a Freelance Blogger for your business.
This article was written by Gwiz
SEO Geek, Web Designer and Online Marketing Advisor. Steve works with businesses of all sizes across the UK and blogs about small business, marketing, web design and SEO at http://stevegrady.org