7 Reasons Small Businesses Should Be Blogging

1. Blogging helps with SEO.

Writing posts regularly gives the search engines something useful to index. If the content on your website doesn’t change very often, it’s time to fix that. The easiest way to deliver fresh content without a large time commitment is to start up a blog. Pick a schedule you can stick to–even once a week–and you’ll see that it helps your site look more favorable to the major search engines.

2. Blogging can help make you an authority figure.

If you write intelligent, high-quality posts about your products and services, you can position yourself as an industry expert. As we mentioned above, you’ll have to stick to a regular schedule. But you’ll also have to make sure that your content is well researched and contains valuable information.

For example, if you’re a plumber, you might want to write about how seasons can affect a home’s plumbing system. You could talk about the need for regular maintenance or for special preparations your clients must make before the ground freezes. This would be valuable information to anyone who is searching for a plumber, and if your readers find your content helpful, they’ll want to come back to read more. Perhaps they’ll hire you for their next plumbing job, too!

3. You can build a subscription list.

Did you know that if people subscribe to your newsletter, you get business leads? It’s true: people still click on marketing emails, and they’re still willing to purchase things that are advertised through email. Not convinced?

Then you’ll want to check out these 25 facts about email marketing. People are still gaining leads from the process, and most of them are high-quality. When someone willingly wants to receive emails from you, they’re definitely interested in your products and services. It’s a win-win!

4. Customers and readers can give you valuable feedback.

If there’s one way that people aren’t afraid to speak out, it’s through the comment sections. Now, we know that comments kind of have a bad reputation, but they can actually be helpful, too. When customers and readers comment on your blog posts, they’ll let you know if you’re helpful. You might be surprised at how many people admire what you have to say–sometimes, it’s really difficult to find the exact answers you’re looking for. You might just be the right person to do that for your readers!

You can check out this article on the debate of whether to allow or block comments on your blog and see for yourself if it’d be worth it for you.

5. Blogging allows you to stay caught up on current news in your industry.

This is a benefit you might not have thought of: if you’re doing research for your blog posts, you can stay caught up on current events and developments in your industry–and without even really trying. In your hunt for information, you might find blogs you want to subscribe to, or you may just find a post or two that will help you write your own content. Either way, it’s an almost effortless tactic to make sure you remain a valuable and accurate source of information for your readers.

6. Networking with other bloggers and industry experts can pay off big-time.

If you’re just talking to yourself, you might help your website rank higher, and you might gain a few readers. And of course, that’s always a positive thing! But if you’re looking for more visitors and more subscribers, you’re going to want to network with other bloggers.

You might be asking yourself right now, “Where am I going to find anyone else who blogs?”

And that can be a tough situation to face, particularly if you’re new to all of this, or if you’re pressed for time as it is.

But never fear. This article talks about getting started with socializing. Now, it’s important to note that while this author focuses on meetups and chats via Twitter, you don’t have to do all that. You might also want to try guest posting or simply reaching out and saying hello on social media networks. Whatever you have time for and feel comfortable with–as long as you’re making some effort, you’ll make some connections that can benefit in the long run.

7. You can keep your customers up-to-date with your products and services.

If nothing else, blogging is one of the best ways to keep your customers up-to-date with your company. Do you have a new sale going on? Let them know with a quick post. Do you want to ask them for feedback on your latest menu item? Invite them to weigh in on your blog. Most blogging platforms offer the ability to immediately share your post with your social media sites. You can connect Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus so that when you post an update, it automatically gets sent out to those profiles. Now you have an easy way to let everyone know across all platforms with only a single post. It’s a time-saver!

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to see how we can help you be seen online.

Back to Basics #5: Blogging for Beginners

 

blogging-for-beginngers
It’s really not a question. You must blog.

If you’ve never heard the saying “Content is King” then you’d better get used to hearing it now! When you run your own website, the best way to keep your clients up to date and to keep the search engines happy is to post new blog articles. Frequently.

Now, you may be thinking to yourself that you’re not a professional writer. Maybe you’re worried that that you simply don’t have time to update a blog. While you may be correct about not having formal training in writing, it’s more than likely not true that you don’t have the time to do this. You do. You just have to break it down into small chunks. In this article, we’ll talk a bit about how beginners can overcome the fear of putting their writing out there, and how they can find the time to keep updating regularly.

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Creating a list of blog topics will save you time in the long run.

Blogging for Beginners Step 1: Create a List of Topics

Before you begin blogging, it’s a good idea to have a list of potential topics to write about. You may be tempted to just write about what you’re up to when you’re at work, or maybe something that’s going on with your family. While it’s important to keep that human connection in your posts, it’s also important to keep your customers informed of key topics relating to the services you offer. To help illustrate, let’s take a fictional business and talk about a few good topics they could use in their blog.

Sam’s Pest Control is a small, family-owned company in Anywhere, USA. They want to start a blog to connect with their customers and draw in new clients. They might want to write about things like:

  • What pest control can do for your home or business
  • How you’ll save money in the long run when you use a pest control service regularly
  • How to keep your home protected from pests
  • Innovations in humane pest control
  • How pest control services change with the seasons

And there are probably many more topics to choose from. But as you can see, by thinking outside the box, you can come up with a long list of blog topics that will keep you writing for months to come.

creating-a-blogging-schedule
Keeping a schedule is important to the success of your small business blog.

Blogging for Beginners Step 2: Create a Blogging Schedule

Continuing with our Sam’s Pest Control analogy, we’ll take a look at how to build a schedule that you can work with, even if you’re busy running your own business.

Sam works Monday through Friday, and often, he works overtime. He’s exhausted when he comes home and definitely doesn’t think he has hours to spare on blogging. He’s a business owner, not a writer—so how is he supposed to manage all of this?

It’s simpler than he thinks.

First of all, don’t worry about writing grammatically perfect posts. You can edit and use a spell checker and still make your point. Obviously you should try to edit your post so that it makes sense, but don’t presume you have to craft perfect prose to be a successful blogger for your small business.

Second, set aside 15 minutes a night. Write however much you can—a good goal to start with is 100 words. If you do this five days a week, you’ll have one 500-word post to put up by the end of your workweek. And keeping up the schedule of posting once a week is a very realistic, very achievable goal for small business owners. Whether you choose to do it after dinner or right when you get home is up to you. Just create that schedule and stick with it.

which-blog-platform-should-i-use
There are so many blogging platforms to choose from. Pick one you trust.

Blogging for Beginners Step 3: Create Your Blog

Now that you have a list of topics and a schedule you WILL stick to (we believe in you!), you can go ahead and create your blog. Some people prefer to just update with text on their website. While this can work, it makes it difficult for people to find posts as you start to amass a lot of articles.

The better choice for a small business is to sign up for a free blog at WordPress.com. You can also choose to go with other platforms like Blogger, but WordPress has a lot of support and is widely used. In our experience, it runs more smoothly and has more customization options as well.

For your blog name, try to choose something short and to the point. Remember that this is connected to your company, so you’ll want to choose something relevant; something that conveys the company image. Sam’s Pest Control is, thankfully, a short enough company name that he can probably choose that. (It will end up looking something like samspestcontrol.wordpress.com.) If you have a longer company name (something like Sparkle Power Wash and Window Shine Company) you’ll want to shorten it to something that reflects your business’s services, such as “sparklewashco.wordpress.com” to keep customers from getting confused.

blog-customization
From choosing custom colors to adding your own pictures, you’ll want to make your blog look professional.

Blogging for Beginners Step 4: Customize Your Blog

So you’ve claimed your blog and you’ve prepared lists for post ideas. Good! Now you have to customize your blog and get it set up for visitors to see.

One of the worst mistakes a beginning blogger can make is choosing a terrible layout. The colors are awful, music starts playing when you navigate to the page (hint: NEVER do that; at least give visitors the chance to press play if they’d like to hear the music), and the pictures don’t align correctly.

Thankfully, this is actually a very easy thing to avoid.

When you sign up with your blogging service, they’ll provide free layouts. You can choose from any one of these and make your blog look sleek and professional without having to know a word of coding. Furthermore, most allow you to customize colors, fonts, and pictures, so you can still make the blog look unique without sacrificing utility or aesthetics.

blog-promotion
If you don’t promote your blog, no one will read it. And that’s sad.

Blogging for Beginners Step 5: Promote Your Blog

Once you have everything set up and you’ve written your first post, you’ll have to promote it. You could have the best blog post in the world, but if you don’t put it out there, no one will find it! The internet is a huge place and there are lots of people vying for the attention of clients, including your competition.

So how do you make sure that the right people see your work?

Post it on all of your social media channels. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn—whatever you use, make sure you post a link to your blog. Try submitting to StumbleUpon. Reach out to local press outlets if you have an announcement to make about your company—maybe you’re rolling out a new product, or maybe you’ve hired a new employee and you want to do an employee spotlight. Whatever the news is, you can contact local journalists or blogs and see if they’d like to cover your post.

Finally, make sure your existing customers know about your social media sites and your blog. Invite them to follow you or sign up for a newsletter and you’ll be surprised at how many people will be happy to oblige!

 

Good luck with your new blog! With regular contributions and some effort to get the word out, you’ll soon be seeing new visitors and increased interest in your small business. And if you need help with the marketing aspect of this, don’t hesitate to contact Internet Local Listings. We’re social media marketing experts and would be happy to help you market your site!