Given we have just finished a series here on Small Business Blog about SEO for small business, this guest post from Dana Flannery of Talk About Creative is a timely one. You see, incorporating a blog into your business website is search gold. By their very nature, blogs are keyword rich, and result in content being added to your website on a regular basis – two things search engines LOVE. Want to know more? Here’s Dana …
Far from being “online hipster diaries” about unrequited, angst-y love and holidays in Japan, the modern blog has burnt its training bra and become a seasoned and wise source of…everything. From social commentary through the eyes of the emo-tional to a hands-on “how to guide” to your industry, a blog in the right hands is a powerful thing. If you’re not harvesting that power, it’s time to get that blog working for your business. Here’s 5 ways you can make a blog work for your business.
1. Blogs get found in more places…
There is a statistic floating around, that businesses with blogs get 72% more traffic than those without. Truth or myth, cleverly formatted, quality blog posts get your business found in more searches. Without realizing, you’re probably optimising a keyword in a blog post. For example, this post has an awful lot of mentions of the word “blog” so Google will figure out that people searching for blogs may find it interesting. With some basic understanding of on-page optimisation (aka content optimisation) your post can be found for all sorts of new keywords. Some bloggers go a step further and find great keyword opportunities, and then write about them! However you do it, without great content, nobody is going to link or like you. Without links and likes, Google won’t keep indexing your blog post, so content must come first.
2. You are the expert…
Everyone is an expert. If you ask most people, they’ll tell you that they know everything. It’s hard to cut through all the noise and rubbish online, so a blog is the perfect way to showcase your knowledge by providing insightful and helpful information to interested readers. And you don’t have to brand yourself the expert, you can brand yourself as funny, as daring, as cheap and cheerful, whatever your business is all about, you can showcase on your blog.
This can in turn, result in real world marketing and promotional opportunities such as expert speaking and media engagements, quotes in the media and on other blogs and even blogging and writing work.
3. Blogs grow your website
It’s vital to integrate your blog with your website, on your business domain. If your blog is hosted at a site like blogger.com (so its URL is www.YOURNAME.blogger.com) you won’t get the full benefit of your content as all the content is sitting on the blogger.com domain. The more you grow and build your site, the more powerful it becomes, and the more powerful it becomes the better your search engine rankings. It pays to get help establishing your blog, including advice on internal linking for indexing purposes, RSS feeds and other useful promotional tools.
4. Blogs As Bait
There’s nothing like pictures of your most recent project to convert sales. There’s nothing like commentary on recent events to inspire reader interaction. There’s nothing like video clips to gather clicks. Using rich and diverse content gets people excited about your blog but you can go one step further. “Link Baiting” is where you post items to your blog that are purely designed to get lots of links.
Amazing content that pulls out all stops to excite, impress or even offend will get people linking to your site, and that gets your site racing up the search engine results. Using your blog to showcase what’s original or even what’s popular is a great way to attract links and also to get your site listed on Social Bookmarking applications like Stumble Upon or Digg. You can help push that along by getting friends to give your content the “thumbs up” with their Stumble Upon accounts, by having an RSS feed set up and by promoting posts via social media; but again, the best marketing is great content and the best salesperson is a great content writer.
5. Blogs that shake their money makers
It’s not for everyone but a popular blog can earn you a tidy little income through a variety of different means. The more traffic and “authority” your blog has, the more potential money you can make from it.
- Putting ads on your blog
This is the most obvious way to make money blogging. You can sign up for Google Ads and Adbrite. The best thing about Google Ads and Adbrite is that you don’t have to have lots of readers to put their ads on your site. You can also sell links in your articles with companies like TNX.net or Text Link Ads.
- RSS feed advertising
If you use Feedburner to optimise your RSS feed you can easily include ads so people who read your blog through RSS will see ads.
- Pay Per Post
This is where you accept payment to review products or make mention of other brands in your blog.
- Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves adding products to your blog that your readers would find useful and then claiming a percentage of the money when they purchase.
Once you have a hit on your hands, you can sell merchandise that advertises your blog for you.
If your blog is a key part of your business, these may not be good options for you. You will need to weigh up whether the extra money you make is worth the credibility you lose.
Blogs are hard work, they’re time-consuming and if you’re not the chatty type, they can be terribly intimidating, but if you enjoy writing and chatting, a good blog is one of the best free online sales tools you’ll ever have.