Small Business Blogging
This is a worthy topic and deserves serious thought. For an existing or even a new business it is a smart move, and it doesn’t need to be difficult. The intention of this post is to break down the process into manageable steps.
1. Figure out a domain name. From the very outset, one needs to think in terms of SEO. If you’ve not learned what that is, check out my simple definition). For this step, it’s good practice to have a domain name with one of your SEO keywords/keyphrases.
Also, you need to see if that given domain is even available. You can use the domain name availability tool by SiteGround (my recommended web hosting company).
For those with a larger budget, one can look into the purchase of a domain name which is owned currently. Check it out and if the domain is not parked, or seemingly a part of a project that’s been abandoned for some time (i.e. there are some blogs which have posting dates of a year or longer ago), then the price tag is likely to be comparatively friendly. That said, don’t go so far as to agonize over it. Simply pick something fitting, and take your time and take care in doing it.
2. Get a web hosting account. SEO is a factor for this step also. You want to be hosted by a reputable and high performing company in terms of speed of performance and reliability. There are a lots of hosting companies out there, but for my money I like SiteGround (for whom I chose to become an affiliate, which is how much of a believer I am). SiteGround has a high percentage of uptime (any decent web host should be at the high end of 99-something percent) and great support (the latter is crucially important also, as you will soon see).
Don’t take only my word for it, research for yourself, SiteGround rocks the house. For some data-based info supporting said rock-and-roll status (and itself a great example of an solid blog post), check out Noor’s detailed, evidence-based article comparing Bluehost and SiteGround.
3. Get WordPress for your site. There is a distinction to be made here: there is both a WordPress.com and a WordPress.org. Even though it’s tempting to make use of any number of free blog sites, you want to have your own domain and upload WordPress to it. If you want to know more about just why that is, feel free to email or tweet me Follow @ubercoolnerdly, asking for said reasons. WordPress.org is what I use and what most bloggers use. WordPress.org can also provide you with free themes to use, keeping your new venture budget-friendly.
4. Plan out your blog (and get writing). If you are blogging to market your own, pre-existing business, this already goes part of the way of deciding for you the subjects about which you’ll blog. What I mean by this is you will be well-advised to market your content (which is what a blog is, it’s a vehicle for content marketing) by blogging.
If you have a painting business, you might blog about what sorts of steps a homeowner might have to go through in order to get find a good painter (you know, you!). If you’ve done charitable work in the community, a blog post about that is in order. Is there a better way to present yourself to your audience than showing how you care and, by logical extension, that you are an asset to your community?
Blogging and SEO
One thing to keep in mind, and this is a subject all to itself, is how your blogging can boost your SEO, both for your overall website, and for your blog posts in particular. Rachel Thompson of Bad Redhead Media sells a 99¢ e-book on the latter subject. For those of you asking yourself what is SEO, you can read either my own post on just that subject, or take a look at what the SEO experts at Moz have to say on the subject.
Another consideration for before you begin writing is to pin down what sort of “voice” you will employ. Do you want it to be business-like and professional? Or, do you want to maintain a more casual tone throughout? Consistency is important. In order to make this call, you’ll want to consider who is your target audience.
Also, and this gets more to the nitty-gritty of day to day blogging, make sure to create a system for getting the email addresses of your readers. This last point is itself a subject for another blog post, but make sure you have some sort of call-to-action on your blog that is designed to lure your audience to relinquish their email addresses, as this is a near-mandatory component of blogging for business.