Blogging is a really effective tool for building up your business, but it’s so often neglected. These days, ready-made websites usually come with a blog, but when you click on the blog tab, you get a sad, unloved page, empty apart from one cheery post promising weekly updates, dated about 11 months ago.
I understand. You’re running a business, and you’ve got loads to do – how are you going to find time to craft a brilliant post about your week when you’re worrying about everything else? That’s where I come in – with blogging, press releases, newsletters and social media. One of my most popular services for foodies is creating recipes that put their products centre stage, to really get customers’ mouths watering.
But hang on a sec, you might be thinking, why not just take the blog off the website, and solve the problem that way? Here’s why I think a blog is really worth having.
SEO – that’s search engine optimisation, in case you’re wondering. To boost your place in the search engine rankings, you need well-written, relevant content, and you need to update it often. Even if your website is fantastic, if it’s never refreshed, search engines may assume that it’s out-of-date. Plenty of relevant content will tell the search engine what your site is about, so you’ll net more queries that are appropriate to your goods or services. And you might be surprised that search engine algorithms can assess the quality of your writing, but trust me, they’re getting smarter all the time.
Relationship building – once you’ve bumped up your search engine rankings and drawn customers in to your site, you need to build a relationship with them so that they’ll come back again – and recommend you to their friends. These days, more and more people are buying from small artisan companies because they want to feel connected with their food and where it comes from, and using a blog to tell your story will help build that connection. And if they feel like they know you a little better, they’re more likely to recommend you, because they’ll genuinely want you to do well.
Social media – I’m sure you know how important social media is, and what’s more, it’s a super cheap way to promote yourself. But you’ve got to have something to talk about, and some way to get people clicking through to your website and spending their money. If you’ve got new and interesting content going up on your website on a regular basis, then you’ve got plenty to say and plenty of links to share.
Showing off – you know what makes your business great, and why your products should be flying off the shelves, but you need to make sure your customers know that too. A blog gives you a great platform to shout about how fabulous you are, plus any amazing awards you’ve won, events you’ve been to or promotions you’ve got going on.
Reciprocity – links in and out of your site are a great thing as far as search engines are concerned – a link inwards, from a good, trustworthy site to yours, is viewed as an endorsement of your content, products and services. And a good way of getting these links is to start making them yourself – your blog is a great place for shout-outs to other companies you like. You can also set up a guest blogging swap with another site where you write content for each other (a great opportunity to reach a new audience and link back to your own site).
Shop window – if you’re an online business, then your website is the only shop window you’ve got, so you need to make it good. This is a great way to think about your website – if you had a real shop window, you’d change it often, to make it interesting, you’d place your most fabulous and enticing items centre-stage, and you’d make sure gave the best possible impression of your company. A blog helps you to do all of those things. Top tip – spelling and grammar mistakes on your website are the shop window equivalent of dust and dead flies. Avoid at all costs.
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