by Christine Gallagher
I know, I know. I can hear some of you groaning now! Many of you already have a blog and understand its importance in gaining visibility for your business. But I know many others are still resistant to the idea. You believe it takes too much time and effort, you don’t think you are a great writer, you don’t know how to set one up, you don’t know what to write about….I understand all of the reasons that may be holding you back.
If you already have a traditional, “brochure” style website for your business that’s great. You should keep that as a place for prospective clients and customers to visit to find out more about you and what you offer. I use my blog as my main site, meaning I don’t have a separate, static website. That’s a personal choice. Many people choose to have both, with the blog being linked to from the main site.
If you don’t currently have a blog, there are several important reasons why you should consider it:
Visibility: If you are doing even just some of your business using the web then you obviously need to have an online presence. Having a blog that you post to regularly is a wonderful way to capture and keep the attention of your prospects. When they see that you are posting consistently updated content, they are more likely to return to your site.
Search Engine Optimization: This doesn’t mean you need to study up and implement a ton of SEO techniques yourself. But blogs by their very nature are dynamic, meaning the content is updated often. In Google’s eyes, this is a very good thing-it shows that their users are getting fresh information. A blog is a great way to get your business to rank well in the search engines.
Community Building: By allowing comments on your posts you are promoting conversation and encouraging feedback. It can even help you to perform “market research” and find out what it is your target market needs from you. This feedback can also be helpful for coming up with ideas for future posts.
Positions you as the Expert: Something interesting happens once you begin posting useful content regularly and attracting subscribers. You become seen as a thought leader in your niche. This leads to more opportunities, more relationships and more business. It’s a terrific way to communicate the value of what you have to offer to prospective clients and customers.
Personality Sharing: Blogging gives you a chance to be seen as a real person and not just a business. Be willing to express opinions and let your true self shine through. This will go a long way towards humanizing you in the eyes of your readers.
In my opinion, the best thing about blogging is how simple and quick it is to publish a post at the push of a button. It’s also wonderful to be able to track exactly how many people are coming to your blog and where they are coming from. Just install Google’s free Analytics tool and you can see detailed statistics on your visitors and traffic.
Just begin and get it going. Aim to post once a week. They don’t have to be long posts and they don’t have to be earth-shatteringly brilliant. As with anything, you’ll get better at writing the more you do it. Jot down any ideas that come to you for posts as you go about your day. I keep a file of topic ideas that I think of and I find this helpful to look at if I get stuck for what to write about.
Blogging should be something you carve out time for just as you would any other marketing activity. If you really feel you would have nothing to say to people who may want to hire or buy from you, then perhaps it is just not for you. But I encourage all small business owners who are doing business online to at least give it a try. You never know, there may be people out there just waiting to hear your voice.
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