Blogging is huge. The internet is chock full of bloggers talking about their lives, their hobbies, their pets, their views – you name it, there’s a blog about it.
But what about blogging for business? This is emerging as a crucial tool for any business wanting to raise its profile online, whether that be via a website, twitter, Facebook, or any other form of social media or online marketing.
Benefits of business blogs
A business blog is something that will take up time, believe me. You can’t just set one up and expect it to run itself. But if used well, a business blog can attract visitors to your website, improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) and win conversions – sales, in other words.
- A blog means your site is constantly updated with fresh, new content – great for search engines like Google and great for visitors and customers too
- Your blog can include information and advice which is useful for your customers – improving the service you provide to them
- A blog is a great way to establish your expertise – blog about what your business does and people will see that you know what you’re talking about
- A blog can generate business – people may find your website via the blog and then ask you to provide a service related to that blog post (it happens on this site a lot)
- A blog gives you something to add to your social media feed – tweeting links to blog posts is less aggressive than tweeting product promotions or sales
Setting up a blog for your business
There are a number of ways to go about setting up a blog. These range from the cheap (even free) and cheerful, to the more expensive but more professional. The main options are:
Free blogging services
- It’s free
- It’s quick to set up.
- Your blog is separate from your company website – so people who find your blog won’t necessarily go on to look at information about your company
- You don’t get your own domain name – a company domain name makes you look more professional and is good for SEO
- You’re limited to the templates that come with the service so can’t design the blog in line with your brand.
Website building services give you more control over the design of your blog and the opportunity to include your blog within your main site. Services include moonfruit.com, squarespace.com, and for campaign websites, campaignbbus.co.uk. Many web hosting providers also provide website builders but these are generally of poor quality.
- You have more control over the design than with a blogging platform
- You can use your own domain name (but will have to pay extra for this)
- These services can be free or low cost
- Your website and blog will be together.
- You don’t have full control over the design, so may not be able to fully reflect your brand or stand out from the crowd
- If you want to add extra functionality, you will probably have to pay more
- You will have to do the work setting up your site and making any tweaks to the design – which varies in simplicity depending on the service you use.
A bespoke blog as part of your business website
Including your blog in your company website will give you advantages in terms of design and functionality, but will cost more.
- You have full control over the design, so the site can really reflect your brand and work in the way that works best for your business
- You can add extra functionality such as e-commerce, online bookings and more
- You can use your own domain name
- Your site/blog can be enhanced for search engine optimisation (SEO)
- If you hire a web designer to build your site, you won’t need to learn how to design or build a site or blog yourself.
- This is the most expensive option – the price will depend on what you need but can cost form hundreds to thousands of pounds
- If you want to redesign or add functionality, you will have to pay your web designer extra to do it
Managing and maintaining your business blog
Once you’ve got your business blog set up, it’s important to keep it updated. Nothing looks worse than a blog that hasn’t been added to for months and months – better to have no blog at all. Some tips:
- Decide on a schedule for blogging and set aside time on your diary to do it – once a week is realistic for most businesses
- Identify what you’re going to blog about and make a list of topics, so you don’t have writer’s block when you come to write
- Blog about topics your customers will want to read about – remember, the blog is there to attract customers first and foremost
- Provide articles in answer to questions your customers have asked you (this blog post is in response to a client who contacted me asking about business blogging!)
- Identify the keywords potential customers will be using to search for the services you provide – and use them in your blog posts, especially in the titles – and see more tips on SEO and business websites here.
- Provide hints, tips and tutorials for your customers which will help them get more from your service or product
- Include videos to bring blog posts to life and demonstrate your service or product.
I could go on!
Blogging and SEO
A blog is a great way to increase your site’s rankings on Google and other search engines:
- Google loves sites that are regularly updated, and a blog is a good way to make this happen
- Your blog posts can include search terms people look for – the most popular post on this blog is about designing a logo to fit on twitter, even a year after it was written, and it’s regularly found via Google.
- If you include your latest post on your site’s home page, that means your home page is changing regularly – even better for SEO.
To enhance this further, make sure your blog is addressing the terms people use to search for your service or product – see more tips on SEO for business websites here.
Blogging and social media
You can make your blog even more powerful if you link it to your social media presence. By posting links to relevant posts on social media, you can drastically increase the traffic to your blog and your website.
- Use LinkedIn groups to add links to blog posts on topics relevant to the group (but beware doing it too often as that will appear spammy) – see how I increased visitors to this website by using LinkedIn Groups.
- Use your Facebook Page to post links to your blog and your site, and also to post shorter updates which don’t need a full blog post.
- Regularly post links to your blog on twitter – this doesn’t have to be the latest post but could be something interesting or popular form your archives. It’s important, however, that this is just one element of your twitter strategy – just links to your site will get you unfollowed, you need to engage with your twitter followers too.
- Make sure you have links to your social media accounts on your blog too, so people can find you on twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn – on this site, we have the social media icons in the header for this.
As you can see, blogging can be a really powerful way to increase your website’e effectiveness, raise your business’s profile, enhance credibility and improve your Google rankings.
So what are you waiting for? Launch a blog now!
If you would like a business website that includes a blog, Compass Design would be happy to help. Please call Rachel McCollin on 07858 378178 or email email@example.com to discuss your requirements.
If you want to set up a blog for a political campaign or campaigning organisation, you may want to read some tips on campaign blogging at CampaignBus.