5 reasons to start a business blog

It’s one of those resolutions that always seems to fall by the wayside – but adding a blog to your website is worth the effort. Here are five good reasons to start a business blog

Photo of a desk, computer monitor, mug and a vase of tulips, to illustrate a blog post on starting a business blog

Photograph via Death to the Stock Photo

Like most New Year’s resolutions, starting a business blog is something you probably know you should do – but the very thought is so daunting that you keep putting it off. The good news is that, if you already have a website, adding a blog is very straightforward. You’ve already done most of the technical bit and you have your branding in place – so all you need to do is think about your audience, the type of content they might find interesting, and the message you want to get across. Consider your schedule and how often you think you can post – I would say that twice a month is the minimum – then just start writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect to begin with – you can learn as you go along. If you’re still not convinced, then here are five good reasons to make 2016 the year of your new blog.

1. It will improve your Google rankings. No one – not even the experts – agree wholeheartedly on exactly what makes website content attractive to Google (because Google keeps that a secret, so the SEO community can only monitor search results and draw its own conclusions). Debate rages around the level of importance given to keywords, the ideal length of a blog post, and the effectiveness of linking to various social media platforms. But there’s no doubt that adding a business blog will help your rankings enormously.

The bottom line is that, when Google’s algorithms crawl your site, they are trying to work out what it’s about, how relevant it is to various search terms, and what authority it has. You need to prove your relevance by adding keywords to your copy and updating your website on a regular basis (this will also encourage Google to come back and check out your content more often). You also need to prove your authority by publishing original, accessible, well written pages and posts that are – hopefully – read by lots of people, shared, and linked back to. But there’s a balance to be struck – mention your keywords too many times in one article (known as keyword stuffing), and you’ll be penalised. The way to get around this is to have lots and lots of original pieces of copy on your site, with each piece mentioning a keyword just a handful of times – and a blog is the perfect medium for this.

What’s more, in order for Google to find your site in the first place, it needs to be able to follow links from sites it already knows – like Facebook, LinkedIn and, of course, Google+. Every time you publish a blog post you can share it (not the whole thing – just a headline, photo and intro) to your social media pages, from which your readers will hopefully click back to your website to read the rest. This system of “link building” effectively illuminates a path – or web – of links for Google to find and follow, and this should push your site higher up its search index.

2. A blog helps you build a relationship with your audience. Blogs are often described as online diaries, and although no one’s expecting you to pour out your heart and soul on a business blog, it is a chance for you and your team to show a bit more personality. Customers are much more likely to warm to a person than to a faceless brand; reading your blog will allow them to find out what goes on “behind the scenes” and to gather some insight into how your products and services are made or delivered. Seeing the thought and care that goes into what you create will imbue your products with far more worth in the eyes of your customers, make them more likely to buy, and more likely to value what they’ve bought. It’s win-win!

You can even interact with your customers – and they can interact with each other – via the comments section. It’s a really useful way of gauging what people are interested in, what elicits a strong reaction, and of finding out what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. A strong business blog, that people come back to regularly, will keep your brand front and centre in their minds and will allow you to build trust and familiarity – both of which will make them more likely to continue to do business with you. Plus, engaging in direct contact with your readers shows that you care. If you say that customer satisfaction and experience matter to you then blogging is a great way to prove it.

3. It provides an opportunity for showcasing new products or impressive results. Forget slick marketing campaigns or expensive ads – with a blog post you can simply say, “Here’s something new we’ve made/done. We love it and we’re really excited about it – what do you think?” It’s free, it’s easy and, if you share your post on social media, it has the potential to reach hundreds or thousands of people. Customers who then share that post among their friends are effectively saying, “I think this looks like a great product and I really like this brand,”, which is a powerful message to receive from someone you know and trust.

You have complete control over what you show and the format you use, and plenty of space to do it in. You can reveal an entire line of products at once or focus on one really special item; you can photograph products on their own or style a setting; you could even add a video and give a demonstration. The options are limitless and allow you to show your products or services in a comprehensive way at a minimum of expense, as well as convey your own enthusiasm for what you are offering. There is an honesty and integrity to this that can work just as effectively as a costly advertisement.

4. A blog allows you to demonstrate your expertise. The chances are that, whatever your field or industry, you have a heck of a lot of knowledge to share. Owning a business usually means that you are passionate about what you do and could talk about it for days. Well, start a business blog and you can do just that. You’d be amazed at how many tips, tricks and other pieces of helpful information you have collated over the years without realising it. Share them on your site and you might be surprised to find how useful they are to your readers. This will enhance your trustworthiness and professionalism in their eyes, and they will reward your generosity with their loyalty. What’s more, helpful tips are likely to be shared on social media, expanding your reach even further.

Helpful advice has the added benefit of bringing a fresh audience – potential customers – to your blog. How many times have you turned to Google to find out how to do something or where to find something? The more information you include on your website, the more opportunities you are giving yourself to use keywords and phrases that your target audience might type into a search engine – and the more likely it will be that your website will show up in their search results.

5. It will enable you to become part of a wider community. A lot of people are put off blogging because of what they’ve heard about trolling and negative comments in general. Yes it happens – there will always be bored and bitter people out there – but something really positive that has emerged from the blogosphere is the amount of support that exists out there. The personal/confessional nature of blogs has enabled millions of people around the world to reach out and find those who are going through similar experiences – good or bad. From health to parenting to DIY to loss to moving to a new city – advice is given, support is offered and stories are listened to.

The business community is no different. The bitter rivalry synonymous with big brands now seems old-fashioned and out of touch – smaller companies champion each others’  work and collaborate on projects, pooling their talents to produce something bigger and more spectacular than they could manage alone. This creates exciting content, exposes them to a much wider audience and allows them to build a bigger network of links. Blogging – and the interaction it engenders – is a great way to nurture relationships, both real and digital, with local businesses that have a similar customer base.

Of course it doesn’t have to stay local. A blog that really captures people’s imaginations will be read across the world – it’s one of the quickest ways of expanding your audience, raising your profile and making new and exciting connections. Who knows where it might lead?

PS: If you still can’t bear to write your own business blog, check out my blogging service here