Starting a blog can be a challenge, so learn How to Start a Blog for your Business right now!
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you probably already know that we think blogs are one of the best gifts you can give your business. But it sounds like a lot of work, and you’ve never been that great at writing, and what’s so great about blogging anyway?
We’re glad you asked.
In this 3-part series, we’re breaking down the biggest obstacles to blogging (finding the motivation, getting started, and keeping things interesting) to show you exactly how (and why) you should join the blogosphere for yourself, your family, or your business.
Today, we’re discussing the top 5 reasons why your business needs a blog.
1. Blogs Build Trust
When you write a blog—whether it’s simply about your tried-and-true cleaning techniques or about your business—you come across as an expert in your field.
This may sound sneaky, but the truth is you are an expert. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have the information required to write about a certain topic (or start a business about it) in the first place. You already are an expert; a blog just proves it to the people that matter (a.k.a. paying customers).
In case you didn’t click it, the above link takes you to CleanMySpace.com (no, not “Clean Myspace,” that ship has sailed). Started by Melissa Maker, the owner of a Toronto-area cleaning company, Clean My Space is my new personal favorite site for tips and tricks on getting my house sparkling clean.
Now, Maker could have remained perfectly content with owning her cleaning company and satisfying her Canadian clients, but she chose to branch out on the Interwebs and let the whole world see how much she knows about cleaning.
Now, I don’t know Maker personally, but I’m willing to put money on the fact that her blog is one of the number one ways Toronto-ans find and hire her cleaning company. Yes, even though the entire blog is about doing it yourself. (Because, honestly, who wants to clean their own house? Probably not even Maker.)
Because she has established herself as an expert in the art of cleaning, people want that expert in charge of their own homes.
“Well, that makes sense for Toronto,” you might say. “But where’s the use in an Orlando-based company reading all of her inside secrets for free? They’re not going to hire her.”
That’s true. I don’t live in Toronto, so I can’t hire Maker’s cleaning company. But I did link to her site. And I did rave about her. And there’s a bit of magic that goes on “behind the scenes” of the Internet, so to speak, that’s doing more work than you think.
2. Blogs Build Your Google Credibility
For many years, Google has been the undisputed King of Search Engines. I honestly don’t even remember what I used before Google came along (probably Yahoo! or something else that has long since died), but I know what I use now.
No matter how many times you say to yourself, “Look at all these commercials for Bing! I should give it a shot” you find yourself right back in the Google circle with the rest of the world (your customers included).
But Google’s success comes from more than just a clever marketing campaign or a nice design. They pour their hearts and souls into making Google the best search engine it can possibly be, constantly revising and releasing algorithms that bring you better quality search results.
The latest algorithm change, Hummingbird, has turned everything about search engine optimization (SEO) on its head. Where making your site searchable used to mean a bunch of sneaky tactics involving keyword stuffing, Hummingbird now asks only one question: is your content (the words and information on your site) good?
Google no longer cares so much about how many times you say “Toronto cleaning company” on your About Us page. They want to know whether your About Us page or blog is well-written, informative, and interesting.
Now, technology has come a long way, but not so far that a machine can pass judgment on your writing skills (not yet, anyway). So Google makes this determination between “good” content and “bad” content by seeing how many people are reading your site, creating a backlink on their own site (like I did above), sharing it on social media, or even “+1”-ing it on Google+.
“Wow! All I have to do is post a link to my site somewhere?” Well, yes and no.
Because Hummingbird was built to combat sneaky, underhanded SEO tactics like keyword glut, they’re going to pick up on “linking” glut and “liking” glut and “sharing” glut, too. In short, you want your site to spread like wildfire, but you can’t be the one holding the match.
So take a look at your site. Is there any valuable (i.e. sharable) content on there? Do you really think your “Testimonials” page is worthy of a retweet? No, probably not.
That’s why you need a blog. Blogs offer the perfect platform for fresh, interesting information that gets people talking. My backlink to CleanMySpace.com will boost her Google ranking, which means that Melissa Maker will be one step closer to being the top Google result for “Toronto cleaning company.” (If she isn’t already.) Starting a blog with valuable content can do the same thing for you.
3. Blogs Act as a Virtual Salesperson
You have a great product (or offer a great service), and you know people would love it if they just knew more about it. Enter: your blog! This goes hand-in-hand with “promoting yourself as an expert,” in that you need to make sure your content reflects your expert status. But there is another level to this that boosts your popularity (and income).
Blogs can act as a virtual sales rep (but without the salary), while you maintain full control over the message. Say you don’t have the funds to have a full-time worker telling everyone how great you are. Or maybe you do, but would love to get your marketing out on a different platform. Blogs allow you to give your full sales pitch in a creative and far more interesting way.
People quickly tune out anything that sounds too much like a sales pitch, but they love to hear about ways they can make their lives better. Your blog, with its valuable tutorials and insightful information, will do just that.
Besides, no one uses the Yellow Pages to find businesses and information anymore. They don’t dial 411 or randomly walk from storefront to storefront until they find what they need.
They use the Internet.
Having a blog that’s been properly targeted and optimized for current search engine algorithms will ensure that, the next time your customers go online, you’ll be waiting for them.
4. Blogs Give You a Platform to Receive Valuable Feedback
Like social media, blogs allow you to start a conversation and find out what the people want.
Customers (and potential customers) probably won’t bother to send you emails with their kudos or suggestions, but you’d be surprised how they come out of their shell when you give them the right platform. When you offer a comments section on your blog, bad ideas will be called out, good ideas will be praised, and new ideas will pop up that may give you ideas for new blog posts or even new services.
Remember a few months back when we gave you the tutorial on curving text with PicMonkey’s photo editing software? I knew I couldn’t be the only one who wanted to learn how to do that, and I was right. I’ve seen quite a few comments, tweets, and the like from people who were looking for that exact feature. Turns out, not even PicMonkey had figured it out. But now that I’ve mentioned it and they’ve seen the feedback, it might be in the works. (And before you ask, yes, I did include the link to my post in a comment on PicMonkey’s blog.)
This is why you should enable comments on your blog posts and delete nothing but the spam. No one likes to hear criticism, but negative feedback is what fuels future progress. Besides, you don’t want to come across as the “Blog Nazi” who squashes any critique from the people. Give your readers the soapbox and sit back and take notes.
5. Blogs Create a Constant Stream of Fresh Content
…which keeps all those visitors coming back to your site.
Let’s say Mr. Browser visited your moving company’s website a few years ago, before you started a blog. He didn’t hire you, and then he left and forgot you existed. Three months later, he suddenly needs to move his 5-bedroom house across town. But he has no idea where to go, so he has to start his search all over again. He may or may not find you this time.
Now, let’s say Mr. Browser stumbles across your recently created blog. He’s not really in the market for a relocation right now; he’s just browsing around. But it’s after the holidays, so he reads your post about storing and packing Christmas decorations. He reads your suggestions for the most valuable home renovations. Mr. Browser is (still) not in the market for a relocation, but he keeps coming back for the advice and keeps your company on his radar.
Not only has the blog gotten (and kept) his attention over a period of time when he would have otherwise forgotten about you, but it kept him visiting the site. He came back every week to see what the new blog post was. He’s familiar with you. And people like familiarity. Let’s say a few months pass and now Mr. B is looking to move. Who’s the first company that’s going to come to mind?
Yes, blogging takes time (at least, it does when you’re doing it right). But just because something is time-consuming doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. (In fact, that’s probably the best indication that something is worth doing in the business world.)
Now you know how to get started with your blog and the top reasons why you need a blog now, so start writing and use these Blog Booster Tips to take it to the next level. Your business will thank you.
Clarity Creative Group is a web design & internet marketing company located in beautiful Orlando, Florida. We weren’t gonna mention it, but one of the best arguments for blogging is that it’s fun!