A few tips on business blogging
If your business is on the web you probably ought to be blogging. It’s a great way to increase your search engine visibility and demonstrate your sector expertise. Here are a few tips on what to do and what’s best avoided.
At ENNclick we have offices in Ireland and the UK. I recently visited the East Lothian Coffee Morning (ELCM) meet-up near Edinburgh, which covered the topic of business blogging.
At my local ELCM meet, most of the businesses in attendance were sole traders and, perhaps understandably, quite a few were yet to utilise blogging as part of their online activities.
So in this, our very own ENNclick blog, I thought it’s perhaps time to re-visit the reasons why just about everyone with a commercial web presence ought to be blogging.
Why blog at all?
Writing about your area of expertise ought to demonstrate a couple of things to people visiting you on the web:
- You know your subject
- You care about it enough to write about it
Remember, if you’re not blogging and a local competitor is, you’re already losing out! The reality is that companies that do blog inevitably gain benefit, in terms of being detected by Google and other search engines, each time new material gets published to the website’s blog. They will rise up the search results. You won’t.
Ideally you want to have your blog living on your website’s domain, so that it’s situated at something like myblog.mywebsite.com or mywebsite.com/myblog.
Blog little and often
We have one client who writes blogs regularly. That’s good. They’re often very, very long. That’s bad!
Fresh material means Google and the rest will re-visit your website/blog and update their search results accordingly. However, remember the medium! The web is mostly read on people’s computer monitors or increasingly on portable devices like iPads or other tablets and smartphones.
By their nature these devices are not good for long dissertations. Leave that for paper. So if you’ve got 1,500 words in you, by all means go ahead and write it. But then take that story and split it into three blogs of 500 words each, breaking it up with sub-headlines for each key point you are making. And a picture or two always helps. Less is definitely more.
This approach means you also get more bang for your blogging buck, with no additional effort, and three bites at the cherry instead of one.
Content does not always mean writing
I’ve heard the phrase many times… “But what the hell am I going write about?” Fair point. If you’re not a writer or comfortable with words, you’ve got a number of options.
- Get someone else in the business to write for you
- Get a copywriter — like ENNclick, for example — to do the heavy lifting
- Do other forms of content
On the last point, just consider that content can be things like audio, or video, or a slideshow or a picture. Really anything that’s relevant to you and your customers has the potential to be a subject you can ‘write’ about for your blog.
So don’t assume you need to write loads of material. It might be a picture or two of some product or service you provide for one blog post, or a video demonstration which you upload to YouTube and then paste into your own blog.
What’s the competition doing?
Still stuck for ideas? The next option is perhaps the easiest. Simply look to what the competition is doing? Have they got a blog? What do they cover? What do you think they lack? If there are gaps there you can fill them on your own blog.
If you’re familiar with RSS then subscribe (using free tools such as Google Reader) to sites you think do a good job of covering your area. Then you’ll always have a ready-made, real-time tool for telling you what the competition’s blogging about.
Also, look at other geographic markets and see what they do there. If you sell William’s wibbly widgets in the UK or Ireland, how do companies blog about their wibbles in the USA or Australia?
Blogging goes beyond your website
Don’t forget that your blog will, over time, give you a bigger overall footprint in search engines and increase your chances of being found. But that’s only half the story. Don’t forget to comment (positively or not at all) on other blogs in your area. And if you happen to have a link at the bottom of your comment leading back to your site, all the better.
When you publish a new blog don’t forget to promote it via any Facebook, Google+ or Twitter accounts you may have already set up as part of the business. It’s the old ‘build a better mousetrap’ metaphor. If you’ve got a great new blog post, tell everyone about it or they won’t beat a path to your door!
A dormant blog is worse than no blog
The line above says it all really. Do not start blogging if you haven’t got a plan to keep it updated — be it daily, weekly or monthly. Fresh blog entries will give you fresh chances to reach people looking for your product or service via the web. No updates subtly suggest that you just don’t care.
And the rest…
Tags – In your blogging CMS, always use tags to add context to your blog entry. For example, if you operate in a particular geography, include the cities or parts of the country you cater to.
Categories – Categorising your content usually manifests itself in the web link to the blog. It can help you to be found in searches, so include a relevant category for your blog. Do not, under any circumstances, just publish to ‘uncategorized’! That’s Bad Juju, looks unprofessional and is best avoided.
Links – Give up some link love. If you refer to other companies or useful online resources, link to them. Links from your blog posts can be just as good for your site as links to you.
Spelling – Need I say this? Bad seling wil get notised and it realie can leav a bad impreszion with peiple so do spell check or beyter stil hav somewon else read it!
Do as I say… not as I do!
And I can now report that the above post was around 1,000 words and quite possibly verging on too long for a blog. But hey, that’s the exception that proves the rule… isn’t it!
Q. What other tips would you add for budding business bloggers? Share your gems below.
One more thing…
Here, for those interested, are the slides which were used at the ELCM event (with thanks to Al Bryce).
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