Any savvy modern business owner will appreciate the importance of having an online presence. Creating your very own business website is vital if you want to keep up with the competition. Homepages, service pages and a contact us page are important, but have you thought about writing a blog? It can be a great way to share any ideas and show your expertise. Promoting your business will also be a good reason to write one. You might be a little scared about putting your thoughts online and wonder how to do it. This short guide will introduce you to the basics.
What is a Blog?
Its official title is a weblog, which better describes its purpose. Basically, a blog, or weblog, is an online journal or informational website. The information is displayed with the latest posts appearing first. A blog is a platform for a writer, or writers, to share views on a specific subject. You may be wondering whether there is any difference between a blog and a website. Nowadays, the lines are a little blurred because many companies integrate blogs into their websites. A blog requires frequent updates, something that is very useful for a company concerned with SEO (search engine optimization).
How Much Does a Blog Cost?
This is a very good question. The simple answer is it doesn’t have to cost you anything. However, don’t think you’re getting off scot-free because there are some things you’ll need to pay for. Depending on why you are using a blog, you may need to seek extra help, especially if you are a small business just getting off the ground, as these initial expenses may mean you need to borrow some money. There are plenty of different financial providers you can approach for some extra cash. Bonsai Finance is one example. Expenses linked with publishing a blog may include buying a domain name, although there may be some solutions you may want to consider to get it for free, together with web hosting.
How Much Time Will a Blog Take?
The actual typing of a blog post can take anything from 15 minutes to an hour. If you’re new to the whole idea, then it may take a little longer for your first few blogs. However, you’re probably going to take longer thinking about the subject matter before you start typing. You could find yourself thinking about your next blog for days before you sit down to write it.
What Should You Write About?
Remember who you’re writing the blog for and direct it at them. A business blog is for your customers not for you, so make sure you’re either solving a relevant problem or introducing new ideas. A good way to come up with topics, in the beginning, is to think about the questions your customers frequently ask. For example, if you’re running an online jewelry business, you could write about the things a customer should be looking for when buying precious stones. If you run a plumbing business, you could provide customers with tips for unblocking a sink.
The key to creating a successful business blog is to provide your customers with content of value. This is how you establish your authority. Your customers will read your posts and come back for more. Hopefully, they will also choose to pay for your services or buy your products. This is, after all, the ultimate aim.
How Often Should You Blog?
There are experts that sit on both sides of the fence when it comes to answering this question. Some say a lot and others say not very much. The important thing is for you to feel comfortable with the frequency of your blog. Make sure it’s a frequency you can maintain. Weekly or fortnightly will be more than adequate. Most important of all is to maintain consistency. There is no value in starting a blog and then abandoning it to the world wide web wasteland. If your aim is to get on the first pages of the search engines, you need to aim for frequent updates, the more frequent, the better.
The Essential Elements Required for Starting a Blog
Starting a blog is much easier than you think. All it takes is 5 easy steps.
Step 1 – Choose a platform, domain, and hosting
The platform is where you’ll design your blog, and there are a number to choose from. WordPress is by far the most popular, as it is free and user-friendly. Next part of the first step is to choose a domain name. Put some thought into making it as relevant to your business as possible. A web hosting service is what allows your blog to be accessible for everyone. All your files, images and content will be stored there.
Step 2 – Pick a Theme
This dictates the look and feel of your blog. There are so many options you should have no problem picking one that looks exactly like you want it to look. You can pick a standard theme for free, or spend a little extra and get one you can customize.
Step 3 – Tweak it
Before you start publishing your blog, spend some time tweaking the theme, so you get the look and feel you want. Think about any additions you want to add such as allowing for subscribers, either via email or RSS feed. You might also want to consider Google Analytics, so you can track the number of visitors, how long they stay on your page and other useful stats.
Step 4 – Plugins
The most valuable plugins to add are Facebook and Twitter share buttons. Giving readers the opportunity to share your blog will be of benefit to your business. They only take a few minutes to install.
Step 5 – Adding Posts and Pages
Now you’ve got all the admin options set it’s time for you to have some fun writing. Time for you to write your first blog. It’s not as hard as you think so don’t panic.
Tips For Writing a Blog Post That Rocks
The first step is the planning stage, and this is the part that will probably take the longest. You should choose a topic, create an outline, conduct some research and check any facts you’re planning to include. Once you’ve done that you can get started with the writing. Creating a headline that will capture readers attention and inform is what you should be aiming for. Next comes the writing of the actual post. There’s nothing wrong with drafting it first and then going back to reword, edit and polish. A way of enhancing your post will be to add images. They will also improve the flow, add humor if appropriate and better explain any complex topics.
The final step is to edit, edit and edit again. Take out any repetitive phrases or words, check grammar and spelling, read it aloud to check how it flows. Give it to someone else to read and ask for feedback. Sentences and paragraphs are best kept short to keep a reader’s attention. Don’t try to be a perfectionist, and don’t be scared about making changes at the last minute.