Use a blog to boost business
Writing regular, well-crafted blog posts to communicate with your customers could potentially position your business as an expert in your industry.
You could use your blog to engage existing and new customers. Blog posts are also great for linking to existing content on your website – allowing older, relevant content to 'bubble up' to the surface for your visitors.
The best blogs:
- focus on one topic at a time
- are limited to one page
- contain new information that's useful for the reader
- are written in an engaging and conversational style
- are updated regularly
Setting up your business blog
These steps will help you ensure you're setting up your blog so that it meets the needs of your business with minimum stress.
1. What will your blog do for your business?
Even the best blogs can't do everything, so before you proceed, be sure about what you want your blog to achieve for your business.
Your marketing plan is a good place to start, for example if you want your customers to engage with and share your blog posts, include social media sharing buttons and a comments box.
2. Blog as website or blog on website?
You may decide that including a blog on your existing website – as a menu item or navigation tab – is a great way to attract visitors or encourage visitor engagement. If you're a solo business owner providing a specialist service, perhaps a stand alone blog is all you need.
3. Free or hosted?
Common blogging platforms offering free sites include:
They all have different features so consider setting up a test blog on each of the free platforms, using dummy content to help you discover which will be best for your business.
You can also host your blog on your website to give you greater control.
4. Decide on your web address
If you're using free blogging software, your default address will include the name of the platform, such as yourbusiness.wordpress.com.
Some blogging platforms offer domain names for a small fee, or you can purchase one from a registry. Consider registering a domain name and using that to link to your blog.
All common blogging platforms have templates available for free – or at a very low cost – so you can choose the look and colour scheme of your blog.
Thinking about your navigation is also important. This means having an 'About' page and choosing what topics, tagging or date range people can browse by. If you're hosting your blog with a hosting provider, or on your own servers, you can also customise your template.
One of the features that makes blogs different from websites is the ability for your readers to comment. You'll need to think about whether you want to look at comments before they go live and be prepared to respond.
You should also have a spam plugin in place to filter out spam comments. These are readily available on all blogging platforms and may require you to pay a small fee.
Managing your blog for success
A blog can be an excellent opportunity to bring the 'personality' of your business to the attention of your customers. Think about what you're trying to achieve and make sure that the design and content align with your goals.
It's also important to blog regularly – so plan the content and frequency of your blog posts in advance so you're able to maintain the flow of posts even in busy times.