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Business Blogs – Should You Have One?

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“A blog, when used strategically, not only can directly generate revenue, it can be an effective way to communicate with prospects and customers and offer a call to action.” Susan F. Heywood, founder of SellingStuffOnline.com

Blogging has seen such rapid growth because people enjoy expressing their opinions and communicating with others, whilst it’s also free depending on the blogging service that is used and is straightforward to set up. Unsurprisingly businesses surveyed this blogging phenomenon and identified it as a channel which could be utilised to grow their companies. Today many of the most informative and insightful blogs are those that are updated by businesses.

A business blog has a number of benefits. Through communicating and interacting with customers it can build loyalty as well as attract new customers because it’s an excellent way to illustrate your expertise in a certain industry, thereby establishing your credibility. Many companies also use their blog as a tool to create additional income, often through Google Adsense.

However, quotes such as creating a business blog will ‘turbo-boost your sales’ or ‘bring in huge amounts of additional income’ are extremely misleading. Building an insightful, interesting and ultimately a business enhancing blog is a long time-consuming process. Rarely updated business blogs can do more harm than good, as can blogs with incorrect or poorly researched posts.

The amount of time required to research and write each blog post should not be underestimated, and is the downfall of many new bloggers. If possible, dedicate the job to a member of staff with excellent writing skills; otherwise decide if you have a number of hours each week that you set aside to update your blog.

There is no doubt that when done properly blogs are excellent marketing tools. They foster relationships, enhance loyalty, and can become ranked highly in search engines, but think long term – instant results will not be forthcoming.

If you do decide to go ahead with a business blog then we’ve put together a number of tips to help you get the most from your blog:

Regular Updates – no one likes to read a blog that seems neglected. Aim to update it at least twice a week and don’t launch your blog until at least 5 posts have been written. Before this any people that visit your blog will see it as being neglected or lacking information and are unlikely to visit again.

Great content written in your own voice – avoid using corporate wording. Blogs are not like business presentations. They are being written for the general public who are reading it out of interest, not to be confused with the use of high-level technical terms. Think of your blog as an interactive forum, the human face of your business. For the content write about the latest news in your industry, product updates and interviews. Shorter, more frequent posts tend to work better.

Add social bookmarking tools – have a list of bookmarking tools at the end of each post to enable your readers to publicise your content. You can even do this yourself for some of your best posts. Popular bookmarking websites include…

Feed subscription buttons – allow users to subscribe to your blog by providing a Feed Subscription Button that they can use. This means that they will be notified every time you update your blog. As Susan F. Heywood, founder of SellingStuffOnline.com, says, “RSS gives customers control. As many consumers and businesses feel their e-mail boxes are out of control, even messages that customers subscribed to may be ignored.”

Submit to blog directories – this will help to increase the visibility of your blog, particularly in the search engines. See our Blog Directory List for a list of all the directories that you can submit your blog to.

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