Welcome to the world of small business blogging!
Google has added many SEO changes in the last year, and the face of the blogosphere and the way in which it operates has completely changed during that time.
Simply starting a small business blog does not guarantee success. You need to go beyond the conventional method of blogging.
Today I am here to offer you the blueprint to create a business to promote your offline or online business.
A business blog is different from conventional blogs like ShoutMeLoud.
The target of a conventional blog is to gain subscribers and more revenue from advertisements or via Sponsored content.
The target of a business blog is to create brand awareness, engage users, get users on their sales funnel & eventually convert them into a customer. While also attaining more search engine visibility over time.
Overall, a small business blog is an integral part of inbound marketing. The strategies offered in today’s post will help you to get your small business moving in that direction today.
Most of the time when I talk to small-business owners who have an online presence, I find that they are spending thousands of dollars on AdWords and Facebook marketing, which is a good strategy.
But the downside of such a marketing campaign is that it offers one-time traffic. If you are not tapping that traffic in the form of actual subscribers, it is not a cost-effective strategy.
Update: In 2016, Re-targeting can yield great results for your business.
With a blog, you will be driving more targeted traffic from search engines (without spending a penny).
Starting a small Business blog? Read on:
There are many ways to obtain success for your small business in the online world. This can happen very quickly (if something related to your business goes viral), or slowly and steadily over time. With a social media presence, the ability to go viral is a very real possibility. You can even do so right from your online launch if you launch in such a way that makes people remember your name.
If you are already online but are only getting random visits to your site, it’s time for you to re-plan your strategy, optimize your online presence, and take full advantage of the opportunities that presence offers.
A conventional blogger can incorporate various aspects of business into his blog and treat it like an online business. Our previously published guide on How to Make a Business out of Blogging will help you to get started.
Set goals for your blog
First, you need to define the goal(s) of your small business blog.
If you are working on your online presence and wish to create multiple paths for inbound marketing, setting goals now will help you to develop that presence over the long haul.
Here are a few goals to help you to begin the process of goal-setting toward the growth and development of your small business:
- More email subscribers
- Drive targeted traffic from search engines
- Outsmart your competitors in search engines and social media presence
- Develop brand awareness
- Create an active community in your niche
Once you have defined your goals, you can set up your blog.
Here are a couple of articles offering you some guidelines you can follow to create a well-optimized blog:
Set up a business blog for optimum experience and performance
The initial setup of a small business blog is a one-time thing, so it is important to take care of all aspects of your blog’s design including usability and performance.
Setting up can be a somewhat tedious process for business owners who have little knowledge about websites and blogs. My suggestion would be to start with a WordPress blog.
This approach will get you more search engine visibility and give you more control than any other CMS.
If you already have a static website for your business on the main domain (domain.com), I suggest that you move it to WordPress or install a new WordPress blog at the domain.com/blog level.
Gearing up for content
My suggestion is that you set up a proper road map for your blog’s content, while keeping keyword research in mind.
Target more long-tail keywords, keeping problem-solving in mind. For example, if you are selling house cleaning products, start working on content such as
“10 Quick Ways to Clean a House” or
“A 5-Minute Guide to Making your House Presentable for Guests.”
This approach will get you more targeted readers, and thus more conversion.
In the below image, I have highlighted all keywords that is driving traffic to a popular online service site call Instamojo:
- Maintain a proper schedule for posting (2-3 times a week)
- Hire quality content writers (niche specific)
- Maintain a good mix of text, image, video, presentations and infographics on your site
Your target with content is to set yourself apart as an expert. Your content should not only be informative but should also be geared toward problem-solving. Get onto the radar of your readers, and use their problems to generate content ideas.
Educate readers about your services and products in particular. Help them to understand how your product or service works and why they need it.
For example, a blog for e-commerce sites in health niche can offer products that help with certain health issues, ailments and the maintenance of good health rather than only giving information about certain health issues.
This not only helps to improve their search engine visibility but also helps to increase their e-commerce sales. Remember also to keep soft promotion of your products and services in mind.
For example, if you are a dentist, you can add a banner or text to your site offering your services at some discounted price, and so on.
When you are hiring content writers, make sure you hire quality writers who have in-depth knowledge of your field (topic), and who can write SEO optimized content.
Alternatively, you can have a team or writers and a team of editors who are doing the final editing and publishing work. It all depends upon your blog investment capacity and goals. Here is a list of websites for freelance writers, which you can use to find writers.
The most effective means of generating content on your blog really depends on your niche and your way of marketing. Another example could be taken from an SEO company setting up a blog. They can use case-studies, marketing research, and reviews to create unique content that will help establish them as experts in the field.
However you choose to make it happen, your small business blog must add value in terms of quality and uniqueness.
Social media presence
Let’s talk about establishing a presence in the social media sphere:
The term “social media” refers to sites like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn, Delicious and many others. Having your profile on multiple social media sites is not only important but is truly essential these days.
If you do not have a presence in social media, then you do not have an online presence geared to bring success to your small business.
When establishing your social media presence, here are few things you must integrate on your blog from day one:
- Multiple social media buttons
- Facebook Fan page
- Twitter profile
- LinkedIn profile
- Google Plus business page
These are only some of the elements you need to incorporate into your blog. Certain social media spaces may be more applicable to your small business.
Exploit those particular spaces to their fullest potential for the benefit of your business. For example, if your blog’s marketing is more targeted toward Facebook users, you need to integrate Facebook’s commenting system into your blog’s social media presence.
If your goal is to move in the direction of potentially taking your blog and your business viral, then you need to work hard on blog promotion. One of the easiest ways to set your business apart as the business to go to for expertise in your niche is by guest blogging.
My previously published article on article marketing campaigns will help you to set an actionable strategy.
Also read: Ways to Promote an Online Business Offline
We have recently shared a viral video blogging guide here on ShoutMeLoud. Because Google gives such prominence to YouTube videos where their search engine is concerned, I strongly suggest you to try to incorporate video blogging into your plan.
Create a YouTube channel and tend to the branding of it, and hire a dedicated video editor and producer. All of this not only creates content but helps in setting up your YouTube channel as an authoritative channel.
Treat your YouTube channel like a blog, and maintain a schedule for publishing your videos.
Create content on your blog using those videos. This not only allows your video to reach more people but also creates more quality content on your blog.
As noted earlier in this article, social media is an aspect of blogging toward the development of your inbound marketing plan and is one opportunity which you really must fully leverage.
You can target multiple social media sites or you can choose a community which you wish to target specifically for the benefit of your particular business.
For example, Facebook is one of my all-time favorite social media sites because it can take your business promotions viral, and getting fans and followers is easiest on a Facebook Fan Page than anywhere else.
Similarly, create a marketing strategy for Twitter and Google Plus.
You can use tools like HootSuite, BufferApp for keeping all your social accounts active and engaging.
You can use contests on your social media sites to get more fans and more engagement. (Remember that your target is not only to get fans but also to engage them!)
If you are a business owner who does not have either the time or the in-house support to tend to this important aspect of your business’s marketing plan, you can hire a social media promotional company to do it for you.
If you are putting your business into the online market, optimal branding is the key to long-term success. A website can be made memorable by its logo, color pattern, and name. Of the three, a logo (Gravatar, Icon, Mascot), is perhaps most helpful.
Choose a memorable image optimized for a profile pic on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites which you are tapping for your website’s promotion.
(When you are planning your small business blog design, make sure to keep your brand logo and other factors in mind. Go for a clean layout with proper call-to-action buttons.)
Again, SEO in 2016 has changed completely. You can no longer simply use the old methods of link-building toward improved search engine ranking. You must target all aspects of SEO to benefit your site and your business.
- Quality on-page optimized content
- On-site SEO
- Link-building from authority sites (guest posting on other blogs)
- Social media votes and giving an edge to Google Plus votes
- Targeting the keywords of your competitors
- Read: SEO in a Post-Panda Era
If you are hiring an SEO agency to tend to the SEO of your blog, I suggest that you make sure the company you choose for this purpose not only considers link building and directory submission but also Schema, social media signals, page speed, mobile site to name a few.
FYI: The algorithm change by Google (Penguin update), wiped out many business blogs which used cheap SEO services to buy links. Remember to stay away from cheap and quick search engine visibility schemes. Achieving #1 status on Google is not impossible, but there is no shortcut to this achievement.
Email newsletter and blog subscription
Relying on a single form of subscription to your blog is always a bad idea because the Internet is constantly changing.
Some time back, Twitter was the holy grail for marketers, but today we have Facebook and Google Plus.
Also, there may come a day when you lose your search engine traffic and having a way to communicate instantly with your readers is an important factor.
An email newsletter is one of those aspects of business blogging, which I highly recommend.
Your target is to get more subscriber in the form of Email subscription, RSS feed, Facebook, Twitter, Google plus fans and so on.
In a nutshell, when you are starting your small business blog, you need to write down a proper business plan for your blog and use the power of outsourcing to run your blog in auto mode.
All that is required is the initial time in planning, selecting the company to build your site, hiring people who can contribute, hiring an editor and tending to promotion.
Once you have completed the setup of your blog, you will be leveraging the combined power of blogging and social media to double your sales at a minimum.
If you have any ideas or thoughts to add to the information in this post, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below!