Welcome to the world of Small business Blogging. Google added many SEO changes in last one year and face and way of BlogSphere has completely changed since then.Just starting a small business blog, doesn’t guarantee success, you need to go beyond the conventional method of Blogging and here are some strategies which I often discus with my Blog consultancy clients, that you can in-corporate into your business blog for success.
When ever we talk bout Business blog, it’s way different from conventional blog like ShoutMeLoud, Mashable, and any other blogs in the blogosphere. A normal blog target is to get more subscriber and more revenue in terms of advertisement and affiliate sales, where as a business blog works on many fold like: Creating brand awareness, engaging users, converting readers into client and more search engine visibility. Overall, a small business blog is created as a way to promote your inbound marketing, and below strategies will help you to get things in the right direction.
Most of the time when I talk to small-business owners, they are one of those who are spending thousand of dollars in Adwords, Facebook marketing, which is a good strategy. But downside of such marketing campaign is: It’s one-time traffic and if you are not tapping that traffic in form of subscribers, it’s not very cost-effective.
With a blog, you will be driving more targeted traffic from search engine (Without spending a penny), and different blog subscription options like Facebook, Email newsletter will help them to quickly subscribe to your blog.
Starting a small Business blog? Read on :
There are two ways to get success, Instant success by going viral and second is by slow and steady method. Talking about social media presence, it’s always a good idea to go viral with your online launch and make people remember your brand name. If by the end, you are just getting random visits, it’s time for you to re-plan your strategy and work on it. Before, we move ahead I suggest you to read: 8 things to work upon before starting online business blog.
A normal blogger can incorporate various business aspect into his blogging and treat it like an online business, our earlier guide on How to make a business out of blogging will help you to get started.
Set Goals for your Blog:
Very first thing, which you need to define is goal of your small business blog. If you are working on your online presence and creating more tunnel for inbound marketing, settings up a goal will eventually help in long run. Here are some of the goals, which I can think of:
- More Email Subscribers
- Drive Targeted traffic from search engine
- Outsmart your competitor in Search engine and Social media presence
- Brand awareness
- Community in your niche
Now, once you have defined the goal, it’s time to set up part. Below are some of the guidelines and link, which I suggest that you can use to create an optimized blog.
Set up a Business Blog for Optimum Experience and Performance:
Setting up small business blog is one-time thing, and you should take care of all the aspect in terms of design, usability and performance. Setting up part is very tedious for business owners, who have little knowledge about Websites and Blogs. My suggestion start with WordPress blog and Thesis theme. You will get more search engine visibility and control over any other CMS. There are many other benefits of WordPress, which we covered here on Why WordPress article. You can also refer to my WordPress guide and get a complete how-to knowledge of it.
If you already have a business Website (Static site) up on main domain (Domain.com), I suggest you to move it to WordPress or install WordPress blog at domain.com/Blog level.
Gearing up for content:
Earlier, content at any level could rank with the help of backlinks, but now you need to have high-quality and unique content. My suggestion is to set up a proper road map for your content and keep Keyword research in mind. Target more long-tail keywords, keeping problem-solving aspect in your mind. For example, if you are selling house cleaning stuff, start working on content like “10 quick ways to clean house” “5 minutes guide to make your house presentable for guests”. This way, you will be getting more targeted readers and more conversion.
- Maintain a proper schedule for posting. (2-3 times a week)
- Hire quality content writers (Niche specific)
- Keep a mix of Text, Image, Video, Presentations, Infographics
Your target with content is to set yourself as an expert. It should not only be informative, but should also be problem solving. Get into radar of your readers, and use their problems to generate content idea. Educate your readers about your niche, service, products and help them to understand how it works and why they need it.
When you are hiring content writers, make sure you hire quality writers who have in-depth knowledge of your field (Topic) and also one who can write SEO optimized content. If not, 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 and goals. Here are list of websites for freelance writers, which you can use to find writers.
For example, a blog for E-commerce sites like Healthkart can also give cure to diseases, instead of only giving information about certain disease. This not only helps in improving the search engine visibility but also helps in increasing their E-commerce sales. Also, keep Soft-promotion of your product/Services in mind. For example, if you are a dental doctor, you can always add a banner or text offering your services at some discounted price and so on.
Your content generation tip, all depends upon your niche and your way of marketing. Another example could be taken from an SEO company setting up online blog, they can use case-studies, market research and reviews to create unique content that will help them establish as an expert. Key is: Your small business blog should add value in terms of quality and uniqueness.
Social media presence:
Talking about Social media, we are talking about sites like Facebook, Google plus, Twitter and many more. Having your profile on all these sites are not important but essential now. In 2012, Social media plays a major role in ranking of your site. Specially, sites like Google plus, Twitter, delicious helps a lot in ranking. There are few things which you need to integrate on your blog from day one:
- Social Media buttons
- Facebook Fan page
- Twitter Profile
- LinkedIn Profile
- Google Plus page for Business
- Email Subscription
These are just some of the elements, which you should be integrating on your blog. If your blog marketing is more targeted to Facebook, Integrating Facebook commenting system will help you more.
If you are taking care of On-page optimization and high quality content, by the end you will be driving more traffic from search engine, but since we are talking about making it viral, you need to work hard on blog promotion. One of the easiest way to set your blog as market expert, is by guest blogging. My earlier article on Article marketing campaign, will help you to set an actionable strategy. Read: Ways to promote online business offline
We have recently shared a viral video Blogging guide, and the way Google is giving importance to YouTube videos, into search engine, I highly suggest you to take that route. Create a YouTube channel and take care of all branding aspect of it. Now, hire a dedicated video editor and producer, which not only creates content but helps in setting up your YouTube channel as an authoritative channel.
You should treat your YouTube channel like a blog and maintain a schedule for publishing videos. Create content on your blog using that video, which not only helps your video to reach more people but you are creating more quality content on your blog.
Blogging is one of the medium for your inbound marketing and Social media is real place, which you should leverage. You need to pick a community which you are targeting the most. For example, Facebook is all time favorite for me, as it can make your promotion go viral and getting fan is easier on FB fan page than anything else.
Similarly, create a marketing strategy for Twitter and Google plus. You can use tools like Bufferapp for keeping all your Social account active and engaging. As I mentioned above, you can use contest on your Social media sites to get more fans and engagement. Your target is not just to get fans, but also to engage them. You can always hire some of the social media companies, which can take care of social media promotion.
If you are putting your brand into Online market, branding is the key for long term success. It’s easier to remember a website by it’s logo, color pattern and name. Out of all, it’s always a logo (Gravatar, Icon, Mascot), which helps the most. Pick one image optimized for profile pic design of Facebook, Google, Twitter plus, Gravatar and other Social media profiles which you are creating for your Website. Similarly, when you are planning for small business blog design, make sure to keep your brand logo and other factors in your mind. Go for a clean layout with proper call to action buttons.
- 6 Useful tips to Brand your blog
- Why Bloggers must build a brand?
Again, SEO in 2012 has changed completely and you can’t stick to those old fashion of link building for better ranking. You should target all the aspect of SEO signals in 2012 for example:
- Quality OnPage optimized Content
- On site SEO
- Link building from authority sites (Guest posting blogs)
- Social media votes and giving an edge to Google plus Votes
- Targeting Keywords of your competitor.
For the last point, as we say “Somebody loss is somebody gain”, and when you are creating your SEO content strategy, you should make sure you are keeping all high traffic driving Keyword of your competitor in your mind.
- Read: SEO in Post Panda Era
If you are hiring a SEO agency for looking out SEO of your blog, I suggest you to make sure that company not only talk about link building, directory submission and other methods, but also talks about Schema, Social media signals, Page speed, Google Authorship and other recent SEO changes added by Google. Just for information: Recent algo change by Google (Penguin update), wiped out many business blog, which have used SEO services to buy links. So, keep yourself away from any such cheap and quick search engine visibility scheme. Getting on Google#1 is not impossible but believe it it’s not a shortcut either.
Email Newsletter and Blog Subscription:
Relying on one form of subscription is always a bad idea, as Internet is constantly changing. Some time back, Twitter used to be holy-grail for marketers and now it’s Google plus. Similarly, some day you might lose search engine traffic but having an instant way to communicate with your readers is always a plus.
Email newsletter is one of those aspect of business blogging, which I highly recommend. Select any professional Email marketing service like Aweber, Getresponse and integrate it in your blog and FB fan page. Your target is to get more subscriber in the form of Email subscription, RSS feed, Facebook, Twitter, Google plus fans and so on.
In nutshell, when you are starting your small business blog, you need to write down a proper business plan for blog and other strategies, use power of outsourcing to run your blog in auto mode and all it requires is initial time in planning, selecting the company to build your site, hiring people who can contribute, become an editor and take care of promotion. Once, you are done setting up part, you will be leveraging the power of Blogging and social media to double your sales.
I have tried to cover as much as I could, which is essential for success of any blog (Business or non-business), but if you believe I missed out on something, do let me know via comments. If you wish to cover, any point in detail, do let us know on our Google plus page. Also, if you find this post informative and useful, don’t forget to share it on Google plus and LinkedIn.