Running a successful business is all about finding that edge. You’ve got to generate substantial interest in your products or services and then convert that interest into profit. How can you generate more interest in your products/services than those of your competition? If you have a website for your business (which you should) there’s a simple way to gain a competitive advantage and pull in more prospective clients than the next guy. Besides advertising and word of mouth the best way to direct people to your website is by blogging. You’re probably saying to yourself, ‘Blogging? How is blogging going to help my business?’ Before we discuss the ways blogging benefits your business it’s useful to define blogging and understand a bit of the history surrounding it.
A blog (short for weblog) is an informational or opinion based site made up of any number of separate ‘posts’. Blogs may often be a part of a parent site and function as a feature of that site. For example, this article is one post from our blog, which is a function of our site EVLiO. Blogs are typically interactive, allowing users to join a community and discuss issues raised in each blog post. Blogging gained popularity in the late 1990’s with the advent of blogging tools like Open Diary and Live Journal. The number of blogs in existence today numbers well over 250 million.
There’s a reason so many people use blogs. They’re a wonderful tool for expression of opinion and interest. They’re community based and therein encourage discussion in an open forum. They can function as a portfolio for writing, pictures, video, and much more. The benefit of blogging for business then can be seen as a combination of these benefits and much more. We’ve condensed the myriad reasons for a business to start blogging into the most significant five.
1. Blogging will improve rapport with clients– Prospective clients desire transparency. They want to see you for who you are and have a chance to communicate openly and honestly with you. Starting a blog will allow you that transparency. It will provide an open forum for you to comment on issues regarding your business, or to advertise new ideas your business is entertaining. In turn it will give clients and consumers an opportunity to respond to these ideas and propositions and let you know how they feel. Businesses spend so much time and money trying to figure out what consumers are thinking and what they want. Why not just give them the means to tell you exactly?
2. Blogging improves SEO and gets your business noticed– Google heavily favors websites that post regularly. By ‘heavily favors’ I mean you will rank higher in the search results than a comparable website that does not post regularly. They use the term ‘freshness’ to describe the frequency and quality with which you post material. Your ‘freshness’ rating will improve significantly by posting articles of moderate length and varied content regularly. A blog is perhaps the best way to improve your freshness rating and get your website ranked higher in search engine results for a variety of queries. The higher you are in the search results the more likely prospective clients are to click on the link to your webpage and become customers.
3. Blogs have a great benefit/cost ratio- BCR is “the ratio of the benefits of a project or proposal, expressed in monetary terms, relative to its cost”. If you’re a businessman you probably already knew that. Anyhow, blogs are great projects in terms of BCR because they are inexpensive to maintain and have great potential to draw in new clients. Professional bloggers can be hired on a contractual basis for anywhere between $20 and $100 depending on the length of the post (feasibly some posts could and would be more or less expensive than that). Spending $100 to $2oo a week on blogging services can pay huge dividends over the short and long term as your articles become indexed within search engines and bring unique users to your site. These users interest will already have been piqued by your article title and content and will be primed and ready to buy.
4. Blogging is a great way to show off your expertise- If your business is cars you can have an entire post dedicated to how an alternator works. Not only will readers be informed and impressed by your mechanical know how, but they will now see you as a trustworthy source for anything auto. The same goes for any industry. If you sell flowers write a post on the history of the rose and it’s connotations with love. Readers will swoon over you and your business and be much more likely to buy from you.
5. Blog posts can be shared on social media- Think about the content on your website. You’ve probably got a homepage (kidding, of course you do). There are probably some main sections which drop down to some subsections, all containing very useful but very boring information about who you are, what you do, how much it costs so on and so forth. These pages aren’t the kind of pages people are interested in sharing on social media because… well because it’s rather silly to share a businesses homepage unless you’re explicitly promoting it. People like to share cool and interesting stories, anecdotes, pictures and video. A blog is the perfect place to put all of these things on display, all related to your business of course. Remember to use keywords as often as you can (without sounding silly) and include well written engaging content and you’re well on your way to a successful blog, and implicitly a successful business.