Having a blog can be one of the best tools for promoting your business and staying in touch with your customers and prospects. It’s not difficult to start a blog; there are many free and low cost platforms where you can get started in a few minutes. Creating and managing a compelling blog, however, takes time and perseverance. If you take it step by step, though, you can build a blog that helps your business grow.
Using the Right Blogging Platform
There are many choices when it comes to blogging platforms. The simplest ones, that require virtually no technical skills, are free blogging sites such as Blogger.com, Tumblr, WordPress.com and similar ones. These are sites where you don’t even need a domain. You simply register, follow the instructions and create a blog using the site’s user friendly site builder.
If you want to use a blog to promote your business, however, you should really have your own domain. This is better for optimizing your blog with the search engines. It’s also better for branding purposes and for having a website URL that’s easier for people to remember. You can still use these free blogging platforms with your own domain. You simply have to pay a small monthly fee to do this.
Many experts recommend bypassing these third-party blogging platforms and using the self-hosted WordPress platform, which can be installed in a few clicks from most major web hosting companies. To do this, you first purchase a domain name, install WordPress, choose a theme and begin blogging. You can learn the finer points of WordPress as you go on, but it’s easy to get started.
Use a Combination of Original and Curated Content
You may have heard that it’s important to publish unique content on your blog, both in order to establish your expertise and to rank well in the search engines. You may have also heard of the power of content curation, where you ethically and legally republish content from other sites on your own site. The advantage of curation is that it gives you a way to publish quality content without always having to create it yourself. You do this by inserting the link to the content on your own site. The best strategy is to use both. Even when you curate something, whether an article, video or infographic from another site, you should introduce it and comment on it in your own words.
Publish a Mixture of Text, Images and Videos
The most interesting blogs usually have a good variety of media, often within a single post. When you use text articles, interesting images, videos and other types of content such as infographics or perhaps podcasts, you make your blog more diverse and appeal to a wider audience. While you can curate this type of content from other sites, you should consider creating some of it yourself. For example, by publishing photographs that you’ve taken yourself or videos that you made yourself, you are creating original content that helps to brand your business.
Integrate Your Blog With Social Media
In addition to your blog, you can gain a great deal of leverage from social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others. Any professional can benefit from proper blogging and social media procedures, even a doctor from a Mercy health system. You can combine the benefits of blogging and social media marketing by cross-promoting and illustrating your skills. Use social media buttons on your blog that encourage people to follow you on Twitter and Facebook. You can also publish links to your blog posts on social media sites.
Consistency is one of the most important rules of successful blogging. You should update your blog several times per week, even if some of the posts are short. If you don’t have time to create a long post, find a relevant video on YouTube or an interesting article from another site you can recommend. Blogging regularly is vital if you want to attract a wider audience and build up your reputation. As your blog grows, you will also find it easier to rank in the search engines.
Build a Mailing List
One of the best ways to use a blog is as a tool to build your mailing list. The advantage of having a list is that you can connect with your audience whenever you want, without them having to visit your site. That’s why you should have an opt-in form on your blog that invites people to sign up for your newsletter. A newsletter doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can even be a collection of your most recent blog posts, perhaps with some engaging images thrown in. You can use your blog to promote your mailing list and you can also remind people to visit your blog in your newsletter.
A blog is a powerful way to build your business and stay connected with existing and potential customers. Having a successful blog takes a certain amount of commitment. Don’t expect to have thousands of followers overnight. If you provide great content, however, you can gradually attract a growing readership that can help your business grow.