If you’re debating whether to start a blog for your small business then let me start by saying blogging can put a local business’s Internet Marketing on steroids. But… here’s the catch… it does require an ongoing commitment to write regularly for your blog.
So if you’re a local business owner who hates to write and really doesn’t have time for all this blogging stuff then you’ll need to outsource it – which frankly many business owners do anyway. But this will be an investment of your money.
How much? At the present time a good English-speaking writer will cost you about $10 per post of 500-600 words.
Yes, you can get a 500-word post written for $3 from an overseas writer, but you’ll suffer on quality and end up spending time editing it.
I’ve had the best success finding writers on Craigslist but you should also check out your local colleges and post an ad on their board. Most students need money and will research and write good stuff for food and entertainment money.
Benefits of Small Business Blogging:
Blogging was once seen as the domain of those who wanted to write editorial comments on their pet peeves and express random thoughts from their lives of interest to their family and friends. These types of blogs still exist today but when it comes to creating a blog for a small business I’m talking about something completely different.
The mechanisms available today to create a blog can be used to write fresh and valuable content for a local business to get more customers and increase profits. After all everything you do has to move you towards growing your business and this includes your Internet activities.
Here are some benefits of blogging for a small business:
- Using blogging software like WordPress allows you to create quickly and easily new content for your web site keeping it fresh and valuable to visitors.
- The search engines – like Google – will index fresh content fast and can include your blog posts in their search results in a matter of hours, which can translate into more traffic to your small business web site and/or blog content.
- Valuable blog posts attract links from other blogs and websites which help your website search engine rankings for targeted search terms, and means more visitors to your site.
- Blogging promotes you as an expert in your local niche which creates credibility for you and attracts more prospects seeking your services.
Creating Your Local Business Blog:
There are pros and cons to hosting your blog on your web site, as opposed to hosting it on a separate domain. I’ve done both myself and recommend you host it on your web site as the pros far outweigh the cons.
The largest benefit to hosting your blog on your web site is the search engines will see the blog as content at your web site, and this provides more opportunity to get increased page rank for your web site. In order to do this you’ll need to set up the blog in a special sub-directory at your site. Your webmaster will be able to do this for you. You can call the sub-directory “blog” or “news” but whatever you choose, keep it short. You can also do this yourself if you have access to your web site hosting account.
Most hosting providers have a one-click installation of WordPress available in their control panel under Fantastico.
The blogging software I recommend is “WordPress.” It’s free and easy to install, and best of all is search engine friendly. WordPress is also the most popular blogging software available and because of this a lot of plug-ins is available to customize and add functionality to your blog.
Content Creation for Your Local Blog:
WordPress out of the box is not very appealing from a design perspective. The default theme is stark and you’ll want to choose a magazine or news type theme and then customize it.
Rather than try and teach you all about WordPress themes and customization I’ll save both of us time and point you to a set of WordPress tutorials you can get here. These tutorials cover the basics and beyond, and will have you blogging like a pro in no time at all.
Creating posts at your WordPress blog is easy. From the dashboard – once you’ve logged in – just click on “add new post” and you’ll be presented with a screen where you can put in the post title and then a section below for adding the actual contents of the post.
Keep the post to 300-600 words although an occasional shorter or longer post is fine. Make the content valuable and engaging and end with a Call-to-Action (CTA). This can be as simple as asking the visitor to click to learn more about one of your services, or signing up for your free report and email newsletter list. You should never write anything without directing the reader to tale a step towards becoming a customer or purchasing more services you offer.
Once you’ve completed your post then click the “publish” button or schedule the post to be published in the future.
Marketing Your Small Business Blog:
All the things you do to promote and market your web site you should do the same for your blog. But there are also specific places and directories you can only submit blogs to such as Technorati and the various Blog catalogs.
I look at promoting my blog as benefiting my web site as posts at the blog link to my web pages, and so every time I market my blog I’m effectively promoting my web pages – sort of promoting the promoter.
Other ways of promoting your blog shared with your web site include article marketing, and other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Remember a blog also has a RSS feed that you can submit to RSS Feed directories – another opportunity to promote your blog and gain valuable links.
This has been just a primer for blogging for a local business and in subsequent posts we’ll cover topics in more depth. Be sure to subscribe to our feed so you know when we’ve published news and information about Internet Marketing for a local Business.
Blogging is one of tools we use to help promote our client web sites as part of our Local Search Optimization service. Done correctly it’s a powerful tool in promoting your small business.
New England Local Marketing
5 Goss Pond Road, Suite 200
Upton, MA 01568