In this article:
- Why you need a blog for your small business
- Do’s of writing an effective small business blog
- Don’ts of writing a blog for your business
Blogging can be an important facet of any content marketing campaign. From providing value, to attracting new customers, to helping your website show up better online, there are several ways that writing a blog can help even truly small businesses.
As you begin planning your blog strategy, you should keep a few things in mind along the way. There are right and wrong ways to blog, so let’s go over what those are and discuss how to get started.
Why you should consider using a blog to help market your small business
Starting a blog for your small business can provide several benefits for your online marketing, SEO, and customer experience.
Blogging can improve search engine visibility
Blogging is a great way to enhance your search engine visibility, or in other words, SEO for your small business. Google and other search engines place a high value on fresh, new content on websites and social media.
Posting regular content shows Google that your website isn’t stagnant and that you are trying to provide constant value to your (and by extension Google’s) users.
A quality blog positions you as an expert in your field
When you write blog articles on your website, they help set you apart as an expert in your field. Your blog articles should be relevant to your industry and help others to learn more about it.
A good blog will provide value for your readers and current customers
Along with making you the expert, a blog helps to provide additional value to your customers–like how to use your products or additional information about your services.
A blog can increase traffic to your website and social profiles
As you post your blog articles and share them on your social profiles, they provide more opportunities for you to increase traffic to your website and social channels. This can also help your search engine visibility as more people find and view your blogs.
The do’s of writing an effective small business blog
Several things are necessary for writing a good blog post beyond just the writing itself. You need to have it well-organized and easy to read and consume.
Follow these do’s for writing a blog to give yourself the best opportunities to succeed.
Have a clear focus
Each article you write should have a definite focus. Before writing any blog article, think about the topics that would best benefit your customers and readers.
Rather than try to cover too much, choose a specific topic for each article to keep your readers engaged and help them easily follow the article.
Use relevant headings and subheadings
All blog articles should be easy to read and follow. One thing that makes for better readability is separating the different sections of the article by using headings and subheadings.
Most people have low attention spans when it comes to reading through large blocks of text, so using headings to help break the article up will allow them to easily scan it to see what it is about. And then if they choose to dive deeper and read the full article, they have that option.
This technique also helps with SEO, as your H1/H2/H3 tags help search engines determine what your blog is about. Learn more in our article about free tips for better SEO rankings.
Post updates frequently
If you are going to start a blog for your small business, you should commit to a blogging schedule. Posting frequently and consistently will be important, especially if you start picking up regular readers. A good beginning goal to shoot for is 1-3 articles per month.
Determine what your team is capable of handling and work up from there. (More is generally better, but make sure every post is valuable and relevant.)
Look for keyword opportunities
Your blog is a great place to try ranking for new keywords, especially long-tail phrases. Long-tail phrases are the longer phrases people type when searching for something online. They are usually 5 or more words.
Some examples of long-tail phrases are “how to write a blog for small businesses” or “where to find the best restaurants in NYC.”
Strategically plan keywords that each of your blog posts could go after and then stick to that plan as you write your articles.
Use effective, high-quality images
Images help enhance your blog posts. People are visual by nature, so adding a compelling image to your blog post will help grab their attention and keep them interested throughout the article.
Learn more in our guide to getting professional-quality photography for your small business.
Choose your blog article length strategically
A blog article is drastically different from a social media post. On social media, it’s important to keep your posts very short and to the point. But blog articles can (and should) go a little more in-depth and provide additional value.
More and more frequently, we are finding that long-form blog posts perform better on Google. They provide more value to users by answering their questions within one post. Long-form blog posts can range from 800-2500 words (and sometimes more).
The important thing here is to make sure you provide a well-rounded article that stays to the point. If you can write everything your customers need to know in 500 words, that’s great. Don’t try to stretch it out to get a certain word count.
And if you feel you need to keep adding additional sections and the article starts to creep beyond 2500 words, the subject may merit being separated into multiple, more specific articles.
Review, review, review
We cannot express enough how important the review process is for your blog. After each blog post is written it is crucial to have another set of eyes (preferably multiple sets) review the article for any misguided facts, spelling, layout problems, non-functional links, grammatical errors, etc.
Your blog is an extension of your brand and represents your business. Make sure it represents you well.
Promote your blog articles
Once your articles are written, it’s important to share them everywhere you can. Share your content across all of your social channels and be sure to include keyword-rich anchor text links back to your blog.
(For example if you want your business to rank well in searches for local pet services businesses, you would select some keywords and use those as the “anchor text” to your article, thus: local pet services.)
You may even decide that some blog articles are important enough to boost as a paid ad on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. That’s a great way to get more readers for your blog.
The don’ts of writing a small business blog
We’ve outlined the right ways to do create and promote small business blog. Now here are the things to avoid doing if you want to do well in the search engines and keep your readers engaged.
Don’t set unrealistic goals for your blog
It’s important not to set goals that you can’t achieve. Let’s say you want to post 5-6 articles every month, but you don’t have the time to do that yourself, and you don’t have any other writers on your staff to help you out. You’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.
Set realistic goals for yourself as you start your blog writing endeavors. Start small and grow as you are able to.
Don’t copy others’ content or plagiarize
This should be an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many small businesses just copy some content they like from another website and post it on their own without giving any attribution to the original source.
Plagiarizing large amounts of content on your website, even if you do give credit to the original publisher, is illegal, unethical, and can hurt your search engine visibility.
It’s important to write unique content on your website. And if you do need to copy some content from another site, make sure to give them proper attribution and try to keep this to a minimum and only when absolutely necessary.
If you want to mention other people’s blogs or social media and link to them, recommending them as another good source of info, this is usually perfectly fine (and actually desirable for the other party).
Don’t post inconsistently or infrequently
Don’t start a blog on your website, post once, and then leave the blog stagnant for several months. Your website should be a living, breathing thing that you are consistently feeding new content to. Determine a realistic frequency to post blogs and try to stick to it.
If you don’t apply real effort to creating good, relevant, fresh content for your blog, you will see practically zero benefit from it.
Don’t post irrelevant content
Your blog should be relevant to your business. If you run a veterinary clinic, you’re not going to want to post blog articles about interior decorating (unless it somehow relates to a pet’s health).
Keep your blog articles relevant to your business and the needs of your customers.
Rambling is a big no-no. No one is going to want to read an article that rambles on and on about any given topic (or gets way off topic). Rambling usually doesn’t have a clear focus and tends to take away from the overall impact and value of the article.
Keep your articles well-organized and concise.
Don’t use long spans of text
Going back to consumer attention spans, it’s important to avoid long walls of text within your blog articles. Keep your paragraphs short.
Three to 4 short sentences is a good goal to have. This will make your articles easier to read and skim through.
For most people, if they see a long wall of text when they land on an article, they will go back and find a different one that is easier to consume quickly.
Don’t forget to proofread
Proofreading and reviewing all articles before they get published is an important part of the process. Don’t be in such a rush that you publish mistakes or poorly crafted content just for the sake of posting.
Remember that your blog represents you. Show that you care by publishing quality, well-built articles.
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