An owner of a small business and I recently discussed whether she should start a blog for her business. Like virtually all small businesses owners, she is resource constrained and wondered if the time investment would really pay off based on the benefits that would be realized. While the answer to that question is not necessarily "yes" for all businesses, it is for most. Here are some of the benefits of a business blog:
1) A blog provides an opportunity to communicate depth of information about policies, products or services.
2) Blog content delivers search engine visitors based on long tail search terms and obscure phrases.
3) Search engines often give a significant short term rankings boost to fresh content from established sites.
4) Comments attracted by blogs are an effective method of promoting interaction with visitors
5) Having a blog offers a great opportunity to provide information about and links to products and services that are not getting significant visitor traffic.
6) A blog can be one of the most effective methods of building an e-mail list. As Mavis Nong points out, "List building is very powerful as it gives you the opportunity to build trust with your subscribers (who open your emails).". Read more via her list building with blogging post.
7) A blog will enhance site freshness and lead to more frequent indexing of your site.
8) Adding new content on a regular basis provides a signal to search engines that your site is trust worthy. Spammers seldom build deep sites over an extended period of time.
Over at Weblogbetter, Liz Krause posted good advice on adding value to your business blog. If your blog does not provide value to readers, it will not capture the repeat visitors and incoming links that are critical to success. Obviously, a key goal of the blog is to promote your business, but here are four questions that Liz suggests question to ask if the goal of the blog is to add value to your business
- Does your blog offer useful information?
- What does your blog say of you?
- Is there an even balance between information giving and the sales pitch?
- Are you writing respectfully to your readers?
For the detailed version of this post, read Add Value to Your Business By Blogging.
The above points are particularly useful to consider if writing a blog post about a new product or service offering. Don't just write about the features of the product or the service, add information that will increase the readers knowledge about the problems solved by the product or service and how it will benefit them.
Also, adding "talking head" video posts can often be an easy method of adding useful content to a blog. Having both text and video posts on a blog increases the number of visitors that will click on a link. The article More Views On YouTube offers a number of tips on how to make YouTube an effective distribution channnel for your blog'svideo posts.
For those that find the idea of starting a blog a bit daunting, it can be outsourced to an experience professional. Check out the blog management services offered by Gerald Weber's Search Engine Management Group
After our conversation, my business friend decided to test adding a blog to her company's site. She has decided that it is a tactic that she should gain experience with in order to have an understanding of the benefits to her business. Ultimately, it is challenging to answer the question of whether blogging will be effective for a particular small business. The best way to find out is to go ahead and launch a blog. The other side of the coin is that if a blog does not generate sufficient results to justify the resources required to keep it up to date, there is little downside to discontinuing it. Thus, the potential upside of starting a blog is usually much greater than the downside. Go for it!