So, you’ve chosen a great domain name and have set up your website. Now what? As a small business owner, you probably have an enormous to-do list and a small team for getting everything done. Can you just set up your website, walk away and hope for some hits?
If you already have so much business that you’re turning away customers, sure! But if not, and if you want your website to eventually pay for itself, then no. You need to grow your online presence.
Blogging and social media marketing are the two easiest ways for you to accomplish this. For today, let’s focus on blogging. Here are some of our best blogging tips for small businesses!
Don’t blog as an afterthought.
When you’ve got a never-ending to-do list, it’s easy to push blogging to the side. But here’s the thing: the only way your blog will have a chance of success is if you blog on a regular basis. Make blogging a priority. Set a schedule in advance of how often you want to post (hint: once a week is plenty to start with). Brainstorm a lot of topic ideas all at once, but try to keep the blog topics timely when possible. In short, blogging needs to become part of the day-to-day running of your business if it is to be successful at all.
Have a clear goal for your blog.
You need a very specific goal to help keep all your blogging efforts on track. Are you trying to show that your business is involved in the local community? Are you trying to make your company more relatable by sharing bits and pieces of the company culture? Do you intend to make yourself known as an authority in your field? Your goal can be anything that makes sense to you and your business. Just dig deeper than “marketing”!
Don’t expect your blog to go viral.
Slow and steady is the name of the game. As cool as it would be to have a blog post go viral, that shouldn’t be the goal of your blog. When people hope for their blog to be very popular, they end up very frustrated after a month or two when no one has commented on their blog posts or visited their site. These people think they have written The Best Blog Posts Ever, and if no one likes what they have written, then their blog will never be successful. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Stay the course.
Your blog may not be an overnight sensation, but you need to start tracking analytics. This means collecting data about how many people visited your site, how they found your site, how many stayed on the page long enough to read your blog, how many people shared your blog, how many commented on your blog, etc. Compare current data to past data, and don’t become blinded by expectations of future data! In other words, if zero people read your blog last month but five people have read it this month, that is an improvement. It may not be the most flattering improvement, but everyone starts somewhere. Now, ask yourself: did I do anything different that may have attracted those five people to my blog? This is where the fun begins! Your blogging journey will be full of making changes and analyzing the results.
Invite guest contributors, but pay attention to quality.
Eventually your fingers are going to get tired from all that typing. Or maybe you will just run out of ideas. Everyone needs a break occasionally! Having a small pile of reserve blogs is useful if you need to go on vacation. Or, you could pay one of your staff members to begin contributing to the blog. Another solution is to invite guest contributors. You can free content in exchange for allowing the author to promote their own site (usually via a link in their author bio). Get ready to be a stickler for quality; reject anything that doesn’t mesh with your site.
Don’t be afraid to get personal.
Audiences like to get to know the people behind the company. If you’re a small, local business, this is especially true. People like knowing that they can be on a first-name basis with the proprietors of their favorite business. They also like knowing that you enjoy your job, that you’re constantly learning, and that you cut loose every now and then. Share personal anecdotes and stories to reel in readers. These blogs often get the most views, shares, likes and comments.
Real pictures are a blog’s best friend.
Each of your blog posts needs an image, but stock photos stick out like a sore thumb. Use real photos instead. No, they may not be the highest quality, but they will make you and your business more relatable. In turn, your audience will be more invested in keeping up with your blog. So, share a picture of a new product that you’re testing, or share an image of the cute dog that someone brought in yesterday morning. Any time you can personally involve other people in your blogs or photos (with their permission, of course), there is a greater likelihood of those posts being shared.
Have you already started your blog, or are you still in the planning stages? Either way, post a link in the comments below!