By Lyndsey Hall
If you run a small business, you’ll no doubt understand the importance of marketing. If your potential customers don’t know about you, they can’t buy from you. Simple as that. So, how can you make sure your name is the first one people think of when they need your product or service? By building an online presence that gets your business found on search engines by the right people at the right time.
How can you achieve that? With a business blog.
Why you need a company website
In the digital age, Google is king. If you don’t have a website you aren’t going to be found when people search for your products or services. Social media accounts and listings on online directories can help (ideally with links back to your website), some kind of digital presence is better than none, but if you want to build credibility and trustworthiness you need your own website.
How do you make sure your website appears in the search results when people are looking? You need to keep your website up to date, don’t let it become a static, unloved page in the dusty recesses of the internet. Upload new content regularly with relevant information targeted to your ideal customer. The easiest way to do this is with a blog.Keeping your website up to date for Google searches
How to start your business blog
If you already have your own website, you can probably add a blog without too much trouble, just ask your web developer. If not, WordPress is the perfect solution. WordPress.com is a free web host that allows you to build a website with a blog, and when you’re ready you can move your site over to your own personalised domain, and even upgrade to WordPress.org which allows you to own your site and everything on it, as well as make changes via CSS.
What to write about on your blog
You don’t have to just write about subjects directly related to your products or industry, you can and should write about whatever is relevant to your ideal customer. If you sell furniture, for example, you could write about current interior design trends, DIY tutorials for chalk painting old furniture, tips for hosting family at Christmas (spare seating around the dining table, sofa beds for guests).
You want to find out what keywords your dream clients are using to search for your products and services, and design pieces of content around those search terms. Make sure you get the keywords in the first paragraph as well as interspersed throughout the article, in headers and in the alt text of your images. This will help Google understand what your page is about and improve its authority in the search ranking.
When to post on your blog
The most important thing is to post regularly and have a schedule that your followers are aware of, nothing causes people to unsubscribe quicker than a blog that only posts sporadically. If you can only manage once a month, that’s fine, but once a week is better. The biggest blogs post every day, or several times a week, but it depends what you want to achieve from your blog. Getting views, clicks and likes on your blog posts and building an email list of subscribers is great, as is using your blog as SEO to help your website get found on search engines by potential customers.
WordPress allows you to schedule posts so you can write several at a time and schedule them throughout the week, or just choose the perfect time to reach your audience with each post.
Where to share your blog posts
Once your post is live, you also want to share it on your social media channels in order to reach a wider audience and attract visitors to your website. You don’t have to be everywhere, find out which social networks are the best for your audience (ours are Twitter and Linkedin, but yours might be Instagram or Pinterest).
Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to connect all your social media accounts and schedule posts on each one, tailoring them for each site, and sharing at the optimum times for each network.Linkedin – is it time to get connected?
How long should your posts be
According to Google, 300 words is the minimum for their bots to crawl and recognise what your post is about and rank it appropriately. 500+ is better, and most blogging pros recommend 700 words or even longer. If you have a talent for writing long form content then 1000+ is ideal for ranking high on search engines, as your keywords will be well dispersed throughout and the bots have more chance to understand what your website is about, and you’re more likely to drop a few long tail keywords in, all improving your search ranking.
Starting a business blog doesn’t have to be complicated, WordPress is quick and easy to set up, you can choose a relevant URL (businessname.wordpress.com, for example) and a clean template with plenty of white space, and have your first post up within half an hour. If you post regularly, use a scheduling tool to share your posts (new and old) on social media, and interact with other blogs on your specialist subject, there’s no reason you won’t attract subscribers, followers and potential customers.GDPR: a guide for business
Do you write a business blog? How has it helped your business to generate leads and new customers? Let us know in the comments, or join us Twitter.