Websites, Social Media and Mobile devices has dramatically how customers and businesses interact. Online interaction is the norm but customers needs more than just sales page to stay engaged. In the traditional days the customer would walk into the shop and say “hello” to build rapport, trust and a relationship; in the online world we need to rely on channels such as blogging, social media, podcasting and video.
Blogging has emerged as one of the best solution to
- Engage a following
- Provide Value,
- Build trust,
- Invite action.
Here are some fundamental steps for starting a blog.
1. Define your Mission
What Business are you in?
Believe it or not you blog should not be focussed on your products, it should be focused on your industry. What type of solutions are out there?, What matches what? What are some of the methods available? The aim of the blog is not to “sell”, the aim of a blog is the step before, it is to engage and provide useful information.
2. Create a Content Plan
Your content plan will naturally fallout from your mission and you business. I have used a Wedding company as an example.
|- Venue Management
|- Wedding dress
The quantity and the quality of the content matters. The ideal quantity of articles for a small business website is about 40-50 articles.
Google new search engines algorithm “prefers” websites with good quality content
3. Have the right template
WordPress is the defacto standard for blogs. If you website is an older website built in a technology like ‘dreamweaver’ or pure html – it is time to switch over to a content management system such as WordPress or Joomla. Once you have chosen in the technology make sure you invest in a good quality commercial template. The advantage of a commercial template is that it will work with a variety of browsers, devices such as mobiles and tablets. Allow for a variety of layouts to represent different page types – Checkout the Netology Sample to see what I mean.
Some of the templates that we have used and are associated with include
Website – www.elegantthemes.com
Netology has built a number of websites using the DIVI template. In fact this website is built on the DIVI theme, As mentioned before works great on mobiles because the “responsive” design will automatically move the elements around to display in either 1 or 2 Column layout automatically and will display a mobile friendly menu instead of a “pinch and tap” menu.
website – www.woothemes.com
Has a number of great themes they are better known for their ecommerce solution – woocommerce. Woothemes also has a number of free themes that could be worth looking at.
Website – diythemes.com
Has only 1 theme – Thesis. It is a favourite amongst bloggers that require a highly customized look because you can customize every aspect of the theme.
Website – themeforest.net
Finally Themeforest offers a variety of Themes for all CMS. ThemeForest is a portal owned by a company called Envato. It has the largest ranges of templates in the marketplace. The portal can help you choose a theme type eg Business, Blog, Personal etc and gives you good information about the theme before purchase. We advise you to purchase themes from Template designers that have demonstrated a history of support. There are bound to be problems with themes as technology changes (new IE browser or Mobile Phone or CMS version) and what you want is to purchase a theme with ongoing support.
4. Create Content regularly
This is the most difficult discipline. I have blogged almost every week for the blog – www.emotivateme.com and the traffic has been good as a result. eMotivateMe is currently ranked on the 1st or 2nd page of Google for Keywords such as “5AM Wake Ups” or “5AM Club”. This was achieved with no paid advertising, just consistent action and providing valuable content.
The best advice to get over writers block include
- Use a writing tool like Ommwriter – plug the headphones in a smash it. Don’t worry about making mistakes – just write and let the words flow out. Use other editing process later like cut and paste into word or wordpress.
- Write in the morning – it is when the mind tends to be most creative and therefore the best time to write
- Create a Mind map to map out your content and to generate new ideas
- Write for a particular audience. It could be the small business owner or a first time bride.
5. Images for Business Blogs
You need to have great images to have you business blog come alive. In the past I have used istockphoto , Shutterstock and GettyImages, they all offer a great selection of photos and images. Recently I have moved over to DollarPhotoClub. As the name suggest it is only 1 dollar per photo and they have a great selection.
Hopefully I have convinced you of the value of creating a business blog. It can help you engage with your customers, create value and Drive traffic to your website. Your customers will have a reason to come back on a regular basis.
I would be interested on how you get on. If you need some further advice please reach out.