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A Guide To Creating A Successful Small Business Blog

In recent years blogging has become one of the easiest to use, yet most innovative tools for any website, small business or personal, to gain an audience. A blog garners attention because it enables you to get your voice out there. Whether it is a personal blog or a small business blog, the desired effect is essentially the same; to gain attention and get you or your business noticed.

Why should I bother blogging?

The principal is simple. You want to generate traffic into your small business or website. The easiest way to do this is to give your clients or potential visitors something that they will come to your website for, this is where the blog comes to the fore. The blog is simply a piece of content that will cause your clientele to want to read it on a regular basis, and therefore return to your website to do so.

How to creating a personal or small business blog.

The first step is to physically set up your blog page. If it is a personal blog then word press is a very easy to use site for setting up a new blog. You will need to purchase the domain name, these are usually fairly cheap. If you already have a small business website that you wish to relate the blog to, then you can just add a blog page to the existing site.

Visit this Wikipedia page to find out more about the origins of blogging.

Engaging content is everything.

The next step is the content. The key to a blog is that it must be either informative or witty. If you run a small business, then an informative blog that offers interesting advice within the field of your business will be beneficial to that business.

A blog can also set the precedent for how clients view your small business, as it gives them an insight into the workings and methods behind the business.

For example, if you were to have a marketing or P.R firm, a good blog would be one that gives advice to business owners on how to market their small business. If you were an information technology firm then you may wish to demonstrate your knowledge of the latest technologies by reviewing the latest products, a good example of this can be found on our it departments support website. This will in the long term bring you more clients as it shows firstly that you know what you are talking about, and secondly that you are willing to impart that knowledge and help others. It puts you on a good morale standing with your clients because before you’ve even spoken to them, they already have a feel for your company simply from your blog.

What writing tone should I use?

Funny blogs have an obvious lure to them and tend to be the blogs that attract the biggest audiences. Funny blogs tend to be seen more in personal blogs, however they make a very good platform from which to launch a marketing campaign. For example if you were about to launch a book, then you could create a blog in the months running up to the launch. By creating this witty blog and capturing an audience, you have a waiting client base into which the book can then be directly marketed.

When it comes to writing the blog you need to keep the tone on a friendly yet professional level. You have a website that no doubt already shows the professional front of the business. A blog allows the client more of a personal insight into the business, so although you should remain professional, the personal touch is important.

The importance of good content structure.

You need to ensure that as well as quality content, you also structure your blog with clear concise points. You do not want your readers to get bored, so don’t ramble.

In terms of content, you need to provide value to your readers. What questions do your customers ask you? What are the key words that will bring people to your site?

Search engine optimisation is something you should be considering if you are serious about the marketing of your small business. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a simple case of incorporating a certain word or phrase into a piece of content, in this case the blog. For example if you run a boarding kennel, you might include the phrase ‘look after my dog’ several times in a blog post, or across several blog posts. If someone then types this phrase into a search engine then your site would be optimised by the search engine for stating this phrase several times.

The importance of a blog title.

The title is everything, and possibly the most important part of the entire blog. It is a handful of words that will either blend into the endless streaming background of words that is our news feeds on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, or it can be that catchy little caption that lures in your potential customers. Think hard about the title to each blog.

The association between blogging and marketing.

Another aspect of blogging is the marketing. The modern method of marketing is of course social media. Blogging is no different. There is absolutely no point in writing a blog that nobody knows about. Sure a few people might happen across it by chance, but if you want to generate real numbers then you need social media.

If that’s the case, then why not just advertise the small business through social media and forget the blog, I hear you say. Simple… advertising is boring. If you look through any twitter feed you will see hundreds of advertised businesses with links to their sites. They’re tedious and no-one wants to see them quite frankly.

When a blog is linked to a twitter feed, you see only the title. The title is catchy and appealing, most people will read it, even if it’s just out of curiosity. They click the link and voila you have gained a viewer into your website.

You can also use an email subscription whereby readers who like your blog may subscribe to receive email updates when a new post goes live. This keeps readers coming back to your blog and site. Email subscriptions are also a crucial marketing tool. If you are able to get people’s contact details from them willingly then you can send marketing material to them that is relevant to your small business. Google Feed burner is a popular email subscription service and is added to any site by simply copying and pasting the code provided by Google into the html box on your site.

A blog then is a valuable marketing tool, and a great way to project a company image. There is a certain art to creating a good blog, but if you follow these basic principles then you should have a successful blog.

Helpful resources:

The art of blogging – http://taoblogging.blogspot.co.uk

Featured images:
  • License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.bigstockphoto.com/

Lucy is a serial blogger that loves to blog about blogging!!! Lucy runs numerous blogs for various clients across the United Kingdom.

Trade Tricks That Will Benefit Your Small Business SEO For The Long Term

Over recent months, the changes that have been rolled out across most of the world’s biggest search engines have been huge – Google of course leading the pack with Hummingbird. Each of the changes implemented has of course taken its toll on some sites and businesses while others will have barely noticed any difference at all. As far as SEO professionals are concerned though, we’re only just seeing the very tip of the iceberg and the changes still to come will completely overshadow those that have taken place in terms of abundance and significance.

This inherently leads to the question of what exactly you can do right now to protect your small business SEO interests long-term – if anything at all. Well, you can certainly tip the balance a little more in your favor, despite not being able to see what’s around the corner with any real certainty.

What follows is a brief look at five tricks of the trade that could, if implemented correctly, assist your long-term SEO as of right now:

1 – A Full Website Spring Clean

When a website functions effortlessly with speed, efficiency and smoothness, any search engine of importance will see it as a site that matters. Well, at least one that matters more than another site that’s pretty much falling to pieces or going to seed. Google likes to point to sites that give the user the best possible experience, so if this isn’t a description than befits your site, it’s a good place to start

Over time, it’s inevitable that your website will get a little untidy and cluttered, so it’s important that you do a decent spring clean/audit to see what’s what. From getting rid of broken links to removing defunct content and so on, make sure that your site serves its purpose as well as it can and you’ll be rewarded for it.

2 – Go the Extra Mile

Once you’ve addressed the above, think about going one or two steps further by making the user-experience even better than it already is. This isn’t just important for the sake of Google, but will also ensure that when a reader finds his or her way to your site in the first place, they’re more likely to stay there and hear what you have to say.

Take into account the speed of your site, the quality of the navigation system, the caliber of the content on EVERY single page and all of the other sites you offer links to/recommend.

3 – Get Involved with Google Authorship

Right now, Google Authorship doesn’t have much an impact on the way your site ranks or your SEO campaign as a whole – this is expected to change in the future, big time. Some of the very best tips of all for making Google Authorship work in your favor include finding guest writers of authority to contribute to your site, getting all writers you employ to work on your site to activate authorship and, most importantly of all, making sure the content and copy you come up with for any page, site, blog or forum anywhere is as flawless as it is compelling and unique.

4 – Promote Your Winning Content

Don’t just sit by and let your incredible content gather dust – get out there and promote it! Get your name, your brand and you message out in the wild by any means necessary – Facebook, Twitter, forums, blogs and news sites being prime example of where to start. And of course, this means coming up with sharable content in the first place.

5 – Embrace the Community

And finally, it’s not in your best interest to sit idly by and hope the masses will flock your way unless you yourself are willing to reach out to them in a similar manner. Regardless of your industry, niche or profession, there’s a gigantic community out there just waiting for your input and your involvement, so make now the time that you break free of your confines and start building connections with your peers, rival, clients – pretty much anyone of interest to you.

Featured images:
  • License: Image author owned

The Author

Rocky John Tayaban is an internet marketer for more than 8 years now. Among his expertise are search engine marketing, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, online reputation management and web development. Rocky is currently the managing director of iSolutions Media, a company that helps businesses with their online marketing needs. Follow him on Twitter: @SmartOnlinePros to stay updated on all the latest in internet marketing.

#iahsfb, tweets and the “news”

Twitter

Twitter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My previous job to Clickstop was in “the media”.  At Source Media group in the web department team – to be exact.  Back in those days I used to have what may be referred to as “spirited discussions” with colleagues about social media and twitter and the like.

Its funny how some people still have an aversion to Twitter.  I really see more and more uses for it everyday and how it has become an integrated part of my everyday life.  There is so much good information, which of course also brings unwanted crap.  But – in reality, if someone is using a medium for SPAM…doesn’t that kind of validate the idea it is popular?

Tonight is no exception, the town I live in – Solon, Iowa is in the Iowa High School Football Playoffs.  It was raining when I got home and it just didn’t feel like fun to go to the game and sit in the rain.

But I really wanted to know the score and updates…we’re a small town – did I mention that.  We don’t have a radio station (although – I am pondering the concept of a internet based concept)  and there is no TV coverage.  So – how do we figure it out?  That’s right…the Twitter.

Athletic Director Keith McSweeney is at the game and he is kind enough to tweet updates.

tweet

He had 2 more updates, most times at a score and then gave an update at halftime.

tweet

Again, a couple more updates and we’re all over folks.

tweet

Earth shattering news…no – but its the news I wanted, when I wanted it.  Oh – and also, because I am usually at the game or on twitter 3 others txt’d during the game for the update.

So what – what does it prove.  Well, it proves there is a ton of great information out there.  It also proves, there is almost always someone somewhere watching or wanting to watch the thing I want to see or am seeing…so – Twittter fills a need for people who want and seek.

Now fast forward a few years when the smartphone becomes a diction device and automatically documents the entire game…and broadcasts that on twitter.  Maybe with video, or pictures and/or audio.  Its not a stretch – its possible and makes sense.  Its may be a little creepy…but interesting, none the less.

But what does it mean?  It means news and information is happening – and the speed at which it travels is increasing.  How soon can I get that game in real time…who knows – but I think its petty cool.

And thanks for the tweets Keith.

How To Maximize Your Profits From Facebook

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

If you are doing Internet marketing, and you want to succeed, social media should be part of your overall plans. We are not just discussing advertising on social media sites by purchasing ads. For your business to succeed, you need to have profiles and pages. Publishing regularly on these pages needs to be done – this is how you interact with your visitors. When it comes to success on the Internet, social media is now something that is very important to do. You know, even if you wish you didn’t, that social media isn’t going to go anywhere. It’s so important to use social media, yet how well you use a website like Facebook to promote your business in a successful way? The following paragraphs will tell you if it’s possible or not.

Write on Your Wall

You have a wall at Facebook where you can write your posts related to your business. So what you do is just talk to your audience because the people interested in your wall will be from your audience. The ideal strategy is to communicate about your business every day and this will hardly take long at all. You want to tell people what you are up to as well as keep your followers updated as to your progress on improving a product or developing something new. If you start a new campaign, then mention that or anything else.

Respond to Messages

When anyone leaves comments on your page or sends you a message, make sure you respond to them promptly. It is okay to leave a comment posted on a Saturday unanswered until Monday, but it’s not okay to let something posted on Tuesday morning go ignored until Friday night. So be sure to keep track of any activity on your page or profile. When on social sites, you have to be sociable if you want to reach people.

They will be more likely to see you as a human and not just a brand. This, in turn, means that they will be more likely to buy from you. It’s easier for people to relate to other people than to corporate entities.

Run a Contest

Run a contest through your Facebook page. It’s best to create contests that are targeted to your page’s main theme. One tactic is to encourage people to spread the word about your page, and then choose a winner at random once you get a certain number of "likes." Rather than picking the winner randomly, you could make the winner the person who is able to recruit the greatest number of new fans for you. The only way to make this work, though, is if you know how to track visitors to your page, or if you have someone doing this for you. You can think up any type of contest, and tailor it to your particular audience. This is an interactive method to motivate people to return to your page frequently. There are so many ways to use Facebook to your advantage. You could buy a little bit of advertising and hope for the best if you wanted to. If you really want to do well, creating a page for profile will help. By operating in this matter, your clients and fans can have more interaction between you and them. The page will greatly increase your chances of success. If you use the strategies we have recommended, you can have a successful Facebook page in no time at all.

Mathew is an internet Marketer and currently working with Joe Russell on an upcoming product called sitebildz – A Multi platform marketing software which totally automates and streamlines all of the manual processes.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Social Media For Small Business

As competition continues to get fierce in the business landscape, social media comes to the rescue of those business owners who are desperately seeking means to float their boat. If on the one hand, social media has the potential to turn any business into a money-making machine, on the other hand, there are certain dos and don’ts associated with social media as well. One wrong step can bring a brand down on its knees. Therefore, it is crucial to use social media carefully to avoid any hassles.

We will now take a look at the do’s and don’ts of social media for business.

 Do Set Realistic Goals

Social media can amplify the effect of your efforts. However, expecting it to bring your business overnight success is not going to get you anywhere. It takes time to build a social media campaign from scratch. Similarly, it will take some time before you will be able to see the profits pouring in. Don’t get restless for results and don’t let anything encourage you into taking desperate measures you may regret later on.

Do Update Regularly

Social media is about putting your business on auto-pilot mode. In the business arena, the key to success is reminding customers of your existence frequently. Going out of a customer’s mind is tantamount to going out of business. Have an active presence on a variety of social media platforms for things to work the way you want.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Let’s face it. In a world where every other individual is on the go, who has time to read an overwhelming amount of text? Use pictures or videos instead. Give your creativity a chance and get the gears going in the right direction.

Don’t Confuse Customers

One of the biggest mistakes a business can make is to send mixed messages. You have to be clear and concise about what your business is all about. If you are present on three different social networks, the content on every platform should be in sync. In fact, the color schemes, graphics and layout should also be consistent. Uniformity facilitates the creation of brand-awareness.

Don’t Ignore Customer Comments

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Social media has empowered customers to immediately scream their opinion of your goods and products. No matter how hard a business tries, there will be unhappy customers. It is crucial to address their disappointment at once. Ignoring them will give everyone the impression that your business is only concerned with happy customers. This can be devastating for your business. It will be a bit difficult not to lash back at negative feedbacks but one has to remember that a business needs customers more than customers need a business.

Don’t Ignore Your Stats

Unless you find out whether or not your efforts are paying off, you won’t be able to make the most out of social media. It is crucial to keep track of how a business is doing. These stats not only provide the desired motivation, one finds out the most effective strategies to attract desired client base with them as well.

Use the tips listed above as these are the little details that can make a big difference.

Mark is Social media consultant, currently working in Globalserve an International company formation firm, providing fiduciary services for Business