As more small businesses are starting to acknowledge the importance of online presence, an increasing number of blog posts are emerging about the benefits of blogging for small businesses.
Small business owners are reading these anecdotal success stories from fellow entrepreneurial newbies and industry experts alike and, feeling overwhelmed with power and ambition, decide to take WordPress in a bid to excel in their niche.
Staring at the WordPress Dashboard, realisation sweeps over them like a tsunami – starting a blog isn’t that easy. “What should I write about?” “How do I gain a readership?” “What should my blog look like?” are all common questions which race through a business owner’s mind.
The point is, starting out in the Blogosphere can be a daunting experience for any business owner but with a little guidance and a few pointers you can start your blog as you mean to go on.
Targeting a Specific Audience
When starting a new blog, it all boils down to the basic principles of writing. Identifying your target audience is one of the most important aspects of your new blog to consider if you want concise, high quality content to be churned out. Trying to be a Jack of all Trades can really throw your readers and might even slow your growth in readership. Do you really need a “travel” category on a plumbing website’s blog?
Ultimately, the aim of your business blog is to bring in relevant traffic to your site and have visitors who will perform your desired function. Customers should be your initial audience, obviously as your blog erupts into immense popularity you can broaden your topic horizons somewhat.
Deciding on Appearance
Too many blog owners overlook the importance of their blog’s appearance, yet it could be the difference between a post being read and shared by hundreds or a barely read article which has fallen well into the archives. With so many blogs on the internet nowadays your niche is probably already inundated with blogs covering similar content, so what makes your blog tempting to read?
Much like magazines and newspapers, formatting and design is what initially captures a potential reader’s attention (along with irresistible headlines that proceed with equally juicy content). Although this seems elementary, there are many blogs out there that are incredibly unattractive and off-putting to potential readers. If you’re unsure if the appearance is suitable, refresh the page and ask yourself “would this be a blog I’d be inclined to read?” If the answer’s no it’s time for a quick facelift.
If your blog is onsite (i.e. not an external domain like Blogspot) it’s important to tailor the appearance to the house-style of the rest of the site. If your site is very corporate but you want your blog to have a slightly different feel, maintain the colour scheme and branding but funk it up a little.
You don’t want to be tarred with the “Just another WordPress Site” brush.
Sustain Audience Engagement and Growth
One of the best ways to sustain audience engagement is to elicit interaction between yourself and other readers, this will eventually turn your blog readership into an online community of loyal readers.
Although blog comments have been given a bad name through spammy SEO techniques, with some careful moderation you may notice that you do receive some genuine comments. Always allow genuine comments to be visible and ALWAYS reply, if the reader’s taken the time to comment then show your appreciation by acknowledging them and responding accordingly.
Readers love to be able to get involved with your blog so open the doors for them! By being a part of your blog and blogging community they will feel more inclined to read it on a regular basis. Allowing them to contribute their own stories, how-to tips and advice can be a great way to get fresh content from unique perspectives on your blog.
But there’s so much more to it than that. Allowing an author to post on your blog can really help to create a community, if they guest post on your site they’ll want all their Facebook fans, Twitter followers and blog subscribers to read their post. By sharing their post they’re driving traffic to your site – that’s exposure for your site to an entirely new audience! Some businesses even use their blog as a means of online recruitment, advertising vacancies within the company – the possibilities are endless.
Blogging is already used by many a digital marketing agency and an increasing number of small business owners and start-ups are recognising the impact it can have on their organisation. It has the ability to bring in relevant traffic whilst providing readers and potential customers with useful and interesting information.
Always remember to keep the content interesting and fresh and avoid the temptation to use it purely as a sales tool once you’ve acquired an ample readership – that could be the ultimate setback.
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