By Ray Harper*, Guest author Over the past few years, many small business owners have caught onto the fact that to really compete, a web...
By Ray Harper*, Guest author
Over the past few years, many small business owners have caught onto the fact that to really compete, a website is anything but optional. And now, if things continue to go the way they are going, a website won't be the only thing they need. More and more small businesses are now starting to blog.
The benefits of business blogging are obvious. A well written business blog can provide your business with a human face. A popular business blog can increase awareness of your business and/or brand. A well run business blog can lead to an increase in your primary sites traffic and with it, an increase in your profits.
Unfortunately however, running a business blog is not the same as running a traditional business website. If you are a small business owner and you are interested in setting up a business blog, it's important that you know what you are doing. This is because a poorly run business blog could in fact harm your companies reputation. Here are a few business blogging essentials.
Provide Frequent Updates
The first thing to be aware of when starting a new business blog is that unlike a traditional business website, frequent updates are essential. A business blog that has not been updated in a few months reflects very poorly on a business. A lack of updates implies not only a certain level of laziness on the part of your business but also a lack of professionalism. Therefore, decide upon a schedule for updating your blog and stick to it.
Know Your Audience
As a small business owner, there is no excuse for not knowing who your customers are. Your market research for your products/services should have provided you with detailed information about just who your target market is. You should keep that information in mind when making any decisions regarding your blog. What sort of design are they likely to find appealing? What sort of content are they likely to enjoy reading?
Keep It Light
A very common mistake made by those new to business blogging is failing to understand the difference between blog content and traditional website content. Blog posts are supposed to be written in a conversational tone. While they should be informative, they should not be written in a stuffy, overly formal fashion. You should be aiming not just to educate your readers but also to connect with them.
Don't be Boring
Speaking of blog posts, don't be boring. A successful business blog is a popular one. Every time somebody visits your business blog, they are reminded of your brand. You want people to love your blog and to return to it frequently. Therefore, don't be boring. Don't be afraid of a little bit of humour. Offer useful, informative content about the industry in which your business operates. Focus on giving visitors a reason to return.
Sell with Subtlety
When you write a post to a business blog, there's nothing wrong with trying to sell something. After all, even the most uninformed consumer is likely to be aware that the primary purpose of a business blog is to attract more customers. It's important however to do so with a certain level of subtlety.
While your businesses website might just list your products and services, a blog is supposed to be entertaining. Therefore while you can and should keep your posts relevant to the products that you sell, you must also provide genuine entertainment value.
Respond to All Comments
Many business bloggers throw up a few posts and assume that their work is done but this is sadly not the case. Unlike a traditional website, when something new is added, that new piece of content is likely to be commented on and it's important that you respond.
Such interaction between the blogger and the readers is a cornerstone of what blogging is all about. And if you fail to do so, you are giving the impression that your business does not care about it's customers. As you can imagine, this is the last signal that you want to be sending out.
Encourage Visitors to Subscribe
Finally, the primary goal of a business blog should be to get as many repeat visitors as possible. The more people checking out your blog on a weekly basis, the better. Aside from providing top notch content, the easiest way of attracting repeat visitors is by turning first time visitors into subscribers. Therefore invite readers of your business blog to subscribe and do so in a highly visible fashion.
About the author: Ray Harper an American freelance writer hosts his website on a famous colocation in Orlando. He writes about how to make blogs successful and also about business blogs and how to make the most out of them.