Small business owners take on many roles including manager, customer service rep, and marketer, to name a few. Some are adding “blogger” to the list. That’s because a blog can be a great way to build a community of potential customers. Over time, you become their go-to resource. And they can become your next customer. But starting a blog can be tricky. Start with these simple steps to launch your own business blog.
What’s a blog? It’s an online publication with content presented in a friendly, conversational style. Often, it’s geared toward a specific topic or audience. The content might include an article or an essay, a video, a photo or a podcast.
5 Steps to Start Blogging
Want to add a blog to your marketing efforts? Start with these five steps and get off on the right foot.
Step 1: Sketch out a beginning.
Decide what you want to blog about. It helps to think about a segment of customers or prospects. What keeps them up at night? What insight can your business offer to help solve their problems? The idea is to become a trusted resource that people can turn to for answers.
You might tweak your target once you get going but starting with a specific audience helps provide focus. Readers from that group will relate to you and want to come back to learn more.
Step 2: Select a platform to build your blog.
A “platform” is the software you use to create your blog. There are a number of popular options including WordPress, Blogger, SquareSpace, and Wix. Most offer templates, so you don’t need to be a designer. Factors like ease of use, options available, ability to expand, and cost are important to consider. It can be difficult to switch to another platform so study your options carefully before choosing. Look for reviews to help you learn more.
Step 3: Find a host where your blog can live.
Once you’ve built your blog, it needs to live or be “hosted” online. To accomplish that you need to purchase space on a server. Check with your website professional to see if you can host it on your current webpage. If not, there are a number of companies that offer server space. As part of the process, you’ll need to register a domain name (or web address) for your blog. Typically, you want the name to relate to your business.
Step 4: Set up measurement tools.
As a blogger, you will want to measure how your blog is performing. One way to do that is to add a snippet of code to measure traffic with Google Analytics. Then you can monitor stats like how many people visit your blog, where they are coming from, and how long they stay. With this feedback, you can tweak your blog to improve results.
Step 5: Publish engaging content.
Think back to the target audience you selected in Step 1. Now offer them something of value. For example, a health-foods store might target new parents looking for all-natural remedies for common problems. One blog post could describe how to treat diaper rash without using potentially toxic ingredients.
Successful blogs often use eye-catching images with their posts. Several websites offer free or inexpensive stock photography. Or you can take your own photos with your smartphone. There are a number of online classes that can help you learn how.
Then share your images on social media sites like Instagram. Include a hashtag with your share so others will discover your post and drive traffic to your blog. Consider following people who follow other bloggers on Instagram. You’ll get some great ideas, and they can share your posts with others.
Adding “blogger” to your title can be a great way to introduce your business to more people. Attracting readers takes time and consistent effort. Start with these simple steps and establish your business as a go-to resource for potential customers.