It is spring on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, and what that means for those that live here, is a flurry of activity. Seasonal businesses get ready to open and year round businesses get ready… well, to be really busy. For me this means a very full “to do list”, more priorities to juggle and blogging that gets bumped down the list.
Since launching my first small business blog 4 years ago, I have struggled with the time and creative energy demands of a small business blog, versus the attractive benefits. In this post, I will revisit all of the advantages of blogging; and hope to convince a few of you currently on the fence to jump over (as well as solidifying my own commitment to a task that frequently does not find it’s way to the top of the list).
1. Blogging for Search Engine Optimization
The claim that blogging can give your website a boost in the search engines is the first reason that most business owners consider. It is well documented that the blog posts will be indexed by the search engines and improve your site’s visibility for the keywords focused on in your post. This in turn leads to more traffic to your website. In addition, search engines love fresh content and a blog gives you the perfect opportunity to get new information out there that your customers and prospects are likely to care about. One word of caution however – In order to take advantage of this perk, it is important for your blog to be a part of your website.
2. Honing your Business Focus and Skills
Committing to the authoring of regular blog posts means that you will need to stay on top of the subject matter. This could necessitate the seeking out of additional knowledge if you are not yet ready to teach a topic your audience needs information about; or it could simply lead to the refining of your writing and presentation skills over time. Like anything, your blog post authoring will become better with practice; and as your posts improve, you will become a more knowledgeable and eloquent coach or salesperson.
3. Become an Authority
Blogging is a great way to build trust with your prospects and community. If you struggle with making the time commitment to have your own blog, guest blogging is another way to approach this goal and reach a new or broader audience. Through your on-line teachings, your readers will begin to get to know and trust you as a person (although you may have never met). If your readers enjoy your blog articles, they will begin to view you or your company as a place to go for guidance on your subject matter.
4. Improve your Customer Service and Extend it’s Reach
Customer service is at the core of every great business, and smart business owners look for every opportunity to expand or improve upon it. A blog is a convenient place to answer (in detail) the common questions that your prospects or current customers have. Through a blog, you can help them decide to buy from you before picking up the phone or stopping by your establishment.
Another goal with a blog can be to build community. If your readers are willing to engage with you in the comments section, you can learn more about what they are interested in. Feedback (if you listen and react to it) is a critical part of the marketing cycle, and a blog can be another place to gain this valuable information.
5. Strengthen your Network or Team
Blogging doesn’t have to be a lonely job! If you are a “solopreneur”, you can network and gain useful exposure and cross promotion by volunteering to write guest blogs and inviting guest writers to contribute to your blog. If your articles are focused and well written, everyone will benefit.
If your business employs a few people, there are benefits to expanding the blog to a team approach.
- By incorporating more writers, you can expand your posting schedule and gain more exposure for your blog.
- By honing in on the strengths and areas of interest for each member of your team, you will be able to expand your topic coverage (relevant to your business, of course) and appeal to more readers.
As mentioned in reason #2 above, it could also enhance your employee’s training. As they develop their blogging skills, they can benefit from expanding their knowledge of relevant subject matter, and becoming better customer service and sales people. It’s a win/win for everyone!
If you currently have a blog, what is your main purpose for having it? If you don’t currently have one, do any of these reasons tempt you to move forward? What’s stopping you?