Trends come and go but blogging is here to stay, as more and more businesses embrace this exciting (but not-so-new) medium: transforming the way they communicate with their customers and raise awareness of their brand. We explore several reasons why every business needs their own blog, with some advice on how to set up and get started.
Why do you need a blog?
1. It connects you with your customers
Blogging creates a direct connection with your customers. Rather than talking at your target audience like traditional marketing does, blogging opens up a warm and engaging dialogue between equals. As you develop these relationships they also spill over to your social media, encouraging a lively two-way conversation. The power of blogging to “humanise” your business cannot be underestimated.
2. It promotes your business without the hard-sell
Blogging allows you to enthuse about your business without the hard sell. It creates a platform for you to share your passion for what you do, and the reasons why you are doing it. People are drawn to honest storytelling, and if you are able to craft interesting and useful content you will hold the attention of an audience that is keen to learn more – without the pressure of a sales pitch.
3. It helps you find new clients (or they find you)
In addition to creating dialogue and developing relationships, there’s the boring but important tech stuff like SEO (search engine optimisation), increased traffic and converted leads. The bottom line is that blogging will direct more eyeballs to your website, and those eyeballs are attached to potential customers. In short – blogging helps people find you amidst all the noise, and that’s half the battle won.
4. It establishes your business as an authority
Blogging establishes your business as an authority in your industry, and people will look to you as leaders - enhancing your reputation and increasing brand awareness. It can also lead to other professional speaking or writing engagements, cementing your position as the experts in your field. The media might also approach you for comment when news breaks in your industry.
How to start a blog?
It might seem overwhelming at first, but all you need to do is make one simple decision before you can jump in get started. You have two choices: 1) a free blogging platform or 2) a self-hosted blog on your existing website. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s a matter of working out what suits you best.
1. Use a Free Online Platform to Set Up a Blog
There are several free blogging platforms that will have you set up and blogging in minutes. The obvious advantage is that they are free to operate, so anyone can have a blog - even if the budget isn’t there. They are fast to build and specifically designed for the layperson, so you don’t need skills in web design or HTML. It is as simple as choosing a platform and picking a template that appeals.
There are some downsides, and the first is that templates limit your design options. Nor are they good for SEO, because all content is indexed to the blogging platform, not your business. And thirdly – you don’t have your own URL. Rather than directing customers to www.YourBusiness.com, your web address is www.YourBusiness.blogspot.com, which makes it harder for people to find you.
2. Add a Blog To Your Existing Website
Most businesses tend to prefer having a blog on their existing website, which is quick and simple to achieve. Having your own self-hosted blog creates a seamless connection between your business website and your blogging content, and is fantastic from a SEO perspective because all that juicy keyword-rich content is indexed under the same domain.
The other primary benefit of self-hosting is that you have free reign to customise your website to your heart’s content, in order to make the interface for your customers as easy to navigate and aesthetically appealing as possible. Other than hosting costs, there aren’t really any downsides to adding a blog to your existing business website.
Whichever platform you choose, blogging adds that extra “something special” to your business. The beauty of this medium is that you can mix it up: your posts can be funny, entertaining, informative, thoughtful or newsworthy, and you’re only limited by your imagination. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to join the conversation.
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