It had details about products, services, and special holiday packages. It had everything except for two things – visitors… and a “heartbeat.”
And then Tom started blogging weekly for his salon’s website.
Suddenly, the “patient” had a heartbeat – and more visitors than ever before.
It truly isn’t an overstatement to suggest that a blog is like the heartbeat of a business’ website. For the most part, the website of a small business like Tom’s (and perhaps yours) has content that remains the same day in and day out. Unless someone actively goes there in search of information, the website may go unviewed. The posting of a blog adds vital new content, making your website dynamic, alive, and attractive to potential customers.
So how can you jump-start the old ticker of your website?
How do you blog?
Before you strike one key on your keyboard, there is one important thing to consider.
- WHO is your audience? First and foremost, you need to pinpoint exactly at whom you are directing your blog. If you are a small business, you are likely directing it at current and potential customers. Don’t stop there, though. Think about who your customers are. Consider age groups, gender, and interests – anything that will help you understand the people who will be reading it. This takes you to the next step.
- WHAT are you writing? The conundrum of many bloggers is the finding of worthwhile topics. Do not put this off until you are ready to write. Allow yourself some time once a month for topic planning. By this point you already know who will be reading it. Think about what interests or concerns them. Remember to also keep your topics as timely as possible. For example, Tom has a large teenage clientele at his salon. His choice to dedicate an entire month of blogs in the spring to prom planning (hairstyles, nails, etc.) was well timed and well received.
- WHEN should you post? Frequently and consistently. Certainly you are busy running your company, but that weekly (or even twice weekly) blog post is what will help you to have a stronger company to run. Understandably, not everyone is a writer. Some business owners don’t care at all for that part of the job. This is a good opportunity to reward one of your employees (who happens to write well) with an additional job. If that is not an option, there are many talented writers available who understand the ins and outs of blogging. Remember: should you decide to bring someone in to act as your blogger, communicate frequently with this person. This person will, in effect, become the voice of your company. Make sure that he or she knows your targeted audience and is aware of events in your business, ensuring that your content is timely and relevant.
- WHERE will people find out about my blog? The fastest way to reach the largest number of people is through your social media outlets. (If your business isn’t already using them, start today!) Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and others are avenues by which you can alert your friends and subscribers of your blog posts immediately. The content is viewed while it is fresh and relevant.
- WHY is content important? Volumes could be written in answer to this question. For now, let’s boil it down to this: Content is king. No matter how often you post it, advertise it, or shout it from the rooftops, people will not want to read a blog that does not effectively address their concerns and interests. Give your content value. Rather than re-posting statistics that readers could find anywhere (“55% of Women in their 30s Color Their Hair…”), offer an approach that actually teaches something of value. “How to…” formats and lists are very effective (“5 Ways To Decide if It’s Time To Color Your Hair”). Content is also very important from an SEO standpoint. Strong content with phrases that are frequently used in searches will help give your site a boost in rankings on search engines. Finally (and this always elicits groans), spelling and grammar are important! They do matter. A blog post that is rife with misspellings and poor grammar will be noticed, and not in a good way. These “little errors” send out a message (unfair though it may be) of carelessness and ineptitude. Don’t do your business a disservice by failing to proofread your content.
- HOW can I avoid offending readers of my blog? The plain and simple truth is that occasionally people may disagree with what you have posted in a blog. Some may choose to comment. Address these posts with respect, and be open to learning new sides of an issue. That said, you should not feel ashamed to politely and pleasantly defend your point of view. We can disagree without being disagreeable. Remember, the ultimate goal of this small business blog is to attract customers. Mature discourse will do that. Defensiveness and vitriol will not.
If your website does not already have a well-written, consistently updated blog, now is the time to consider it. Get that heartbeat going! Don’t let your beautiful, well-crafted website be D.O.A..
This post is from Bola Olonisakin, Creative Head & Online Strategist at GTechDesigns LLC. Bola specializes in web design and development techniques, standards and methodology. She works to enable organizations to grow their web strategy and increase the visibility of their websites. If you’re interested in improving your web presence, feel free to contact her at [email protected], or @gtechdesigns on Twitter. This post was originally posted at www.gtechdesigns.com.