A blog is not just a way of sharing your thoughts with the world; it is an important marketing and branding tool. Blogs invite potential customers to begin fans of your brand who check in with you on a regular basis. They can increase your search engine ranking because of the constant flow of fresh, keyword-rich content. In addition, they offer a platform for you to share information about your brand. However, many small business owners do without this important marketing tool because they simply don’t know how to begin. Here are five easy, time-effective tips for starting and maintaining a blog that will build your small business brand.
- Host your own blog. While there are many websites, like Blogger, that would be happy to let you improve their popularity, the best way to blog is on your own website. There are several programs that make this easy. You have probably heard of WordPress, which is one of the more popular and, with absolutely no cost to you, one of the cheapest as well. A good blogging program will make your blog easy to maintain and update while allowing you to personalize with podcasts, videos, and other media.
- Research keywords. It’s important to have an interesting, well-written blog, but it needs to be full of keywords in order to attract relevant traffic that will fuel your brand. There are several keyword tools that allow you to research which keywords in your field are hot right now. Pick one or two for each blog post and use them several times in the text and in the tag. You’ll almost immediately see your Page Rank go up. It’s really that easy.
- Be your brand. It’s important to use your logo design and other visual elements of your brand—but you probably already know that. However, you should think hard about what kind of language, images, and posts will work best with your brand as well. If you have any questions, talk to a branding consultant before you start your blog. This will keep you from making embarrassing and/or brand-breaking mistakes.
- Stay relevant and organic. There are two blogging crimes that we see all the time in small business blogs: keywords stuffing and off-topic posts. Don’t start cramming keywords into every nook and cranny of your blog; use them where they make sense and fill the rest of the space. Search engine crawlers are good at identifying this behavior and even better at penalizing it. At the other end of the spectrum is the owner who blogs about their favorite foods and where they are going on their next vacation. Make sure your posts are relevant to your small business brand and that all keyword usage is natural in sound and feeling.
- Link. Where should you link to? Anywhere relevant! Your blog should be linked to related pages of your website as well as your social networking pages and vice-versa. Creating this interconnected web of media will make it easier for customers to find you while possibly improving your search engine ranking. This also gives customers the opportunity to interact with your brand in a variety of ways, hopefully to become lifelong fans and customers.