Posted by : Amanda Stein Monday, July 2, 2012

As you have probably already heard, blogs are a great way to increase your exposure online and find new customers. So what is it that makes it difficult for some businesses to have a blog?



The answer is content. Some businesses have the fortune of having a wealth of content to pull from, but even then there are challenges that prevent them from creating great blogs. Photographers, for example, can create blogs with all of the beautiful images that they have captured. Even then, there is the challenge of finding the right words that will captivate an audience. The information that you provide within your blog will be essential to the success of your blog. If you want to make a great blog you will need to learn why it is a good idea for your business, how they work and the content that you should use.



Why is a blog a good idea for your business?
A blog is a way for your business to increase the amount of information there is about you on the internet. Great blogs are packed full of information and keywords. Great bloggers write everyday.



Take, for example, you are searching for information on how to replace the brakes on your car. You would begin a search on the internet for instructional videos and information. You find a blog written by a company that sells how-to books for car repair. That business has just increased the odds that you will 1) be able to find them and 2) you just might buy one of their guides because you can see they actually know what they are talking about. 



A blog gives you the opportunity to show that you know what you are talking about! Remember not to get discouraged if you don't receive the response that you are looking for or if you are disappointed by your writing skills. Blogs take time and your writing skills will improve as you begin to feel more comfortable!

How does a blog work?

A blog is free and there are several different options available for you to get started. 



There is always the option to attach the blog to your individual site. The disadvantage to this, it that you are decreasing the amount of visibility that you will experience online. Mistakes on your website can harm your search engine ratings which is one of the main reasons you want to start a blog in the first place. Blog platforms are made to be search engine friendly. Another great point to address, is that this option is not a very user friendly option for beginners. 



Here are three blogging platforms:




Blogger






This is Google's very own blogging site. With a variety of templates, the ability to be paid for ads, statistics and a wide array of additional features; Blogger makes it easy to start your blog and make it look professional. The main advantage of Blogger is it's ease-of-use for a beginner. If this is your first time blogging for your business, this is the one I would recommend.






WordPress






WordPress also offers a wide array of additional features. Over 100 different free templates and statistics, make it a top choice for bloggers. The interface is a little confusing at first and can feel overwhelming to a new beginner, but the outcome is a great looking blog with a great variety of features.





Tumblr.






Tumblr. is a little different than the two blogs above; basically because of it's more modern layout and Tumblr. does a great job of connecting you with other Tumblr. members by showing you a feed of new blog posts. It is week on the statistics side and depending on the type of business you have, it is not exactly ideal for business. It would be great for a business like a tattoo shop that has the ability to take a lot of pictures that could be shared with the Tumblr. community.






What content should I use?

My favorite question! Use content that applies to your industry and information that will be useful and/or interesting your customers. 



I'll use my self as an example. My business is marketing to small business, primarily businesses with <30 employees (at least that would be my goal, but it is not always the case). I take care of business's social media pages, websites and advertising campaigns. My blog has become a very useful resource in helping me find more customers. The very information that I write about pertains to the information that my customers are searching for. I make sure to include the appropriate tone for those customers as well. My target customer is the micro small business customer, so to reach out to those people I keep the information simple and easy to understand. I try to never use complicated verbiage. 



When considering the information that you would like to include take a moment to find the questions that your customers would like to have the answers to. Many people experience writer's block or have no idea where to start. Visiting a forum or joining a group in your field can give you the content that you want to include.



In the past I have been asked if a blog is just a place where you can copy, change a few words and paste information to the blog. The point of the blog is to reach out to your customers, let them know you a little better and show them that you have the knowledge to be proficient at your job. Take the time to write information for your prospective while researching information to support your words. Don't ever fabricate! Write the information in your tone of voice - in the way that you would speak it to someone else. This will add a special flavor to your work. Even if you have a post that is similar to someone else, yours will be uniquely you.



How to share your blog?
 Social media is a great place to start. If you have a Facebook, Twitter or Google+ page, make a mention or post each time you have written a new post. Include the link on your advertising, "Information to help you... available on our blog at...."



Your blog will take time to grow, so be patient and keep writing!

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