Are you looking for ways to increase your website traffic organically? Been thinking about starting a business blog but don’t really know if it’s right for you? It can be daunting and it does take time but if done right, the rewards can be well worth the effort.
A very successful blogger, Dan Zarella, reported that about 50% of people read blogs every day. That sounds like a goldmine just waiting to be tapped by small business if you ask me! So let’s look at some pros and cons of starting a business blog.
By the end of this post, you should have a clear idea which direction you’re going to take. To blog or not to blog for business, that is the question. Here goes…
Pros of a Business Blog
1. Increased traffic
Like your website, it’s not a case of build it and they will come, but if you follow a few simple rules when blogging, you can dramatically increase your website traffic. Our organic traffic is increasing at a rate of between 30-40% per month and it’s largely due to our blog!
2. Increased inbound leads
Effective blogs are a key player in increasing inbound marketing results for business. Thousands or even millions of eyeballs can potentially see your blog thus increasing the exposure for you and your business and increasing leads.
3. Helps sell products
Dan Zarella also blogged that 71.4% of users say that blogs effect their purchasing decisions “somewhat” or “very much.” Use your blog to write product reviews, ‘how to’ articles to explain product benefits or detailed opinion blogs about how competitors differ in your market. This will help sell your products without ‘selling’ your products if you know what I mean.
4. Provides value to your clients and prospects
Use your blog to provide real value to your audience by helping them solve problems. ‘How to’ blogs are great for this. Be a leader. Ask questions and engage your audience. Get them commenting on your posts and even use the comments as market research into what you need to deliver to them.
5. Positions you as the expert
If you’re regularly writing great content on your core area of expertise and your competitors aren’t, what does that make you? The expert! People will label you as one in their own mind and come to you first when they need advice, or are ready to buy what you sell.
6. Improves sales cycle by educating your prospects
Think about all the questions and objections you handle when selling your product or service and create blog posts around them. You’ll soon be moving people along your sales cycle without even talking to them.
7. Lets your potential new customers see the people behind the business
Have a personality. Be unique. Have an opinion. Let your audience see who you really are behind the website front door. People do business with people they like, so be you.
8. Allows you to leverage of other experts by publishing guest blog posts.
If done right, this can be like rocket fuel for your website. For an awesome read about leveraging off experts, grab a copy of ‘Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition’ by Michael A. Stelzner, founder of www.socialmediaexaminer.com
9. Boost your search engine results: Get found by Google
If you’re constantly updating your website content through your blog, Google not only rewards you but it will come back to your site on a regular basis to check what’s new, meaning your content makes it to the search engines and in front of your audience much quicker than if you didn’t publish regular content.
10. Linkable content
If you publish great content, chances are people will want to link to you. Quality links are pure GOLD when it comes to improving your search engine rank i.e. move you to page 1 of Google.
11. More keyword niche opportunities
A business blog is a great way to take advantage of other keyword opportunities. You will have your website keywords but you can’t really expand on them so much unless you’re publishing regular content which is why a blog is such a great avenue.
12. Opens up new opportunities
Use your own blog to establish credibility then set out on a mission to become a guest blogger on other successful blogs that speak to your target audience. This can open up a whole world of opportunities and the cost? A little time and effort on your part. You can’t beat that!
13. Allows more opportunity to build your list
Make sure that when you land on your blog, you’ve also got a way for people to stay connected to you whether it be through an RSS Feed, a subscription to your newsletter or an eBook or guide you offer as an opt-in download. Your list is King, a blog is a great way to build your numbers a lot quicker than your standard website might.
Cons of a Business Blog
1. You have to be patient (not something most entrepreneurs are good at)
With a business blog you need to adopt the ‘It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen’mentality. Be patient. Keep plugging away and over time you will see results.
2. It’s a substantial time commitment
I would suggest, and it’s only my opinion, that you would need to dedicate at least 4-5 hours per week minimum to your blog. That includes writing posts, publishing content, researching keywords, submitting it to sites, working on your blogging calendar etc. You will get quicker at writing posts over time but if you can’t spare at least 4-5 hours, preferably more, then perhaps a business blog isn’t for you.
3. You must be consistent
Consistency is one of the most important things. Publish on a schedule and stick to it. Research shows that most blogs get read at around 11.00am so keep that in mind when you do your schedule.
4. You have to feed it all the time – at least weekly, daily is better
More successful blogs do publish posts daily but as a small business owner, that can be quite a task. We publish 2-3 good posts per week and find that that works for us. I wouldn’t do any less than 1 post per week or you might struggle building your audience. Find what works for you and stick to it. You could sit down on a Sunday arvo and write 3 posts in a couple of hours and you’re done for the week.
5. Once you commit, you MUST dedicate yourself for the long haul
You can’t stop and start with a blog. If you’re a sole trader, and have the sole responsibility of maintaining your blog on your shoulders, you best organise a library of posts to publish if you want to go on holidays for a month. In my mind, it’s not a biggie but it is a commitment.
6. You need to know how to do proper keyword research
There’s no point plugging away every week writing great content for your blog if A) no-one is searching for what you’re writing about and B) people are searching but you’re not using the right keywords so people can find you. We’ve had some great success with long-tail keyword niches we research using Google’s Keyword Tool.
If you want to get the most from your time and energy blogging, spend the time learning about how to find and use keywords in your posts. Make sure your target keyword appears once in the post title and at least once in the body of the post. Can you guess what the keyphrase is for this blog post?
7. Owning a successful blog requires more than just publishing posts
You should also link to other blogs, use clean URL’s, link back to old posts in the body of your new posts, put links to your most popular blogs in your sidebar and try and get backlinks to your blog from other websites. Sound overwhelming? Don’t worry, it becomes habit after you get the hang of it.
8. It requires a lot of planning, strategy and research
Don’t be fooled by those who say, “It’s easy, just start a blog and you’ll make more money”. You could take a carefree approach but like anything in business, the more you research, plan and work on a proper strategy, the more success you’ll have. Plan your blog before your start and you’ll find the transition from business owner to blogger much smoother.
If you’re serious about starting a business blog, I highly recommend you read ‘Problogger – Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income’ by Darren Rowse and Chris Garret. It covers everything you need to know to get off to a flying start.
Remember, keep at it. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Slowly over time, blog post after blog post, you will build an audience and a community. And done right that WILL equate to a better bottom line for your business.
Interested in learning more about promoting your business blog? These blog posts will help you get started.
If you have a business blog already, tell us what works for you? Leave us a comment below.
If you need help with starting your blog or writing blog posts, get in touch with the friendly bunch at Web123. Call us today on 1800 932 123.