By Beth Kelly
Does your business website have a blog? A blog can be an invaluable asset to your business when it’s utilized properly. According to SocialMediaToday, 77 percent of internet users read blogs, and 81 perent of all U.S. consumers trust the information they read on blogs. Small businesses with blogs generate 126 percent more leads than those that don’t.
Your blog is an excellent opportunity to establish the “look and feel” of your company’s brand, while also demonstrating your authority in the industry by posting informative, relevant and well-written content. Here are more tips:
Be Consistent: The pressure to create factual, timely AND popular content can seem overwhelming at first. To keep yourself on track, create a blogging schedule and stick to it. Many blogging platforms like WordPress and Hubspot are easy to learn and don’t require a degree in graphic design or web programming. Update your blog often – every time you write a post, it’s one more indexed page on your website. Every indexed page is another opportunity for you to show up in search engines, and ultimately be found by a larger audience online. Studies have shown that companies with a blog can experience up to 55 percent more visitors to their website.
Spark Discussions: Allow for blog comments on all your posts. If you don’t, you miss the chance to learn directly from readers what they’re interested in and what else they’d like to see from your company. The comment section is a great place to build a “community” of customers who will advocate for you and promote the message of your business. On their blog, share.blog.us.playstation.com, Playstation allows all customers to submit ideas as to how their products can be improved upon.
As the owner of the blog, you should encourage interaction, and reply to all comments! Two way conversations with your customers can be enlightening. Going further, blog analytics allow you to track your readers, popular topics, shares and comments. You can even see where most of your visitors live and which days of the week they prefer to stop by.
Social Sharing: Ensure that appropriate – and highly visible – social networking buttons are attached to every post. The important trio of blog/Facebook/Twitter should be a part of every aspect of your company’s communication endeavors. Your readers may be hesitant to share initially, but with time and a few provocative headlines, the comments and shares will come. Oftentimes your most controversial content will be the most-shared, so don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and shake things up occasionally.
Make it Meaningful: Blogs keep you focused on your target audience. They’re the place to build up a loyal following of readers who look to you for genuine knowledge on a specific subject, away from pesky advertising. Your blog is not the place to pitch your products. The readership and engagement within your blog will grow if you present compelling information that is easy to digest and quick to read. Bullet points and bold text, like those on this post about saving energy, streamline your message and keep it from being an eyesore. Repetitive chunks of boring text can quickly divert visitors from your post or cause them to leave your site altogether.
Include Images: It’s a good idea to include at least one image in every blog post. Good images are an effective way to enhance the appearance of your site, attract the attention of new readers, and break up large blocks of text. Graphs, charts, and other infographics are another good way to encourage people to click through to your site and stay awhile.
With a little effort, your business blog can be a powerful tool. Use it wisely!