Blogging is one of the best ways to establish your brand and company reputation with existing and potential customers. It can drive more traffic to your website, improve the credibility and increase your search engine rankings. Here are five simple steps small business owners can follow to build an effective blog to help market their products and services:
1) Choose a good blogging platform
Blogging platforms help you manage your blog posts better. Most blogging platforms including Typepad, Blogspot and WordPress don’t require any coding or development experience to setup your blog. I would advise you to choose WordPress, as it is the easiest to use and has the widest range of options to customize your blog.
Get a good hosting account (if you don’t have one already). Most hosting providers let you install WordPress in an easy way. Get a separate domain for your blog if you want that to be a standalone entity. However, I would suggest you to use your existing domain name and create a separate subdomain for the blog – blog.yourbusinessname.com. That way the blog readers can associate with your products/service better.
2) Get a good theme for your blog
If you are choosing WordPress, don’t settle for the plain blog template that comes with the platform. Use a premium WordPress theme that will let you brand your pages better. Good themes add color and character to your blog and make it easy for users to discover and consume the content. Here are some well designed themes to get yourstarted. If you like to personalize a theme or need help pick the right theme, our team can help.
3) Create consistent, quality content
Take 2-3 general topics and try to stick with them. Use the blog to discuss about your products/services, the company mission, charity and corporate outreach, employee culture, events, contests and so on. Content is king and if you produce unique content that is valuable to your audience, you will build traffic in no time. Also, it’s important to post consistently — at least 2-3 times per week. Here are some tips to help you create good content.
- Find interesting subjects that your audience will care about. You can use a recent article you have read, a controversy involving your industry or a discussion in an active forum as a starting point for your post.
- Create catchy post titles that immediately grab the audience attention.
- Don’t make the post title too long (more than 70 characters) or too short (less than 20 characters)
- Pay attention to the post body and remove unnecessary words from them. Make the post air-tight and interesting for the reader.
- Don’t let your blog go dry for more than a week. Always keep it fresh with new content.
- If you can’t spare a lot of time, do reach out to professional writers in your domain. You can contact us if you need help developing content for your small business blog.
Make sure you search optimize your blog content. If you are using WordPress, you can use a plugin like “All in One SEO” plugin that will help you optimize various parts of your site, so that your blog gets ranked higher for your target keywords.
4) Integrate with social media
To generate more traffic to your posts, you must make it very easy for people share and interact with the content. You could use a social share plugin to create a floating panel that users can use to post your content to their Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn profiles. The next thing you can do is enable facebook commenting with this plugin to get users to directly comment on your content without signing into your website. Commenting is one of the ways to virally spread your brand around.
You can also have widgets to capture your user’s email id and add him/her to your subscriber base. This will lead to further engagement.
Once you have written a post you should share it in your company or organization’s facebook page and Twitter accounts. The blog should be the hub of your marketing strategy, with which you need to integrate all your social media campaigns.
5) Activate Google Analytics
No business process is complete without the ability to track and measure what you are doing. Google Analytics provides you free tools to track your visitors. You can track how many visitors came on a particular time period, what pages they visit the most, how long they spend in your blog, what search engine keywords they used, their locations, etc. This can help you fine tune your campaigns.
To sum up, use a good blogging platform with WordPress, create a professional site with great content and then add social media features to it. However, you need patience with the blogging strategy as it will not bring you immediate results. Keep looking for the long term and keep building great content to stay alive in the game.