Small businesses that blog receive significant advantages when compared with businesses that do not. Google, for example, places a premium on websites that regularly provide original content, and offers incentives such as higher organic search rankings and improved visibility.
Yet despite the advantages blogging offers, many small business owners simply do not know where to start.
Businesses that already have a WordPress website can easily start adding blog content through their dashboard, while adding a blog to an existing non-WordPress site requires significantly more technical work that may require the assistance of a web developer or designer to complete.
For businesses starting from scratch, however, here is a simple guide on how to start your own small business blog today.
Pick a Blogging Platform
By far one of the most important decisions you face when starting a blog is which platform to use. While selecting poorly won’t doom your blogging efforts, it can make the process a lot harder than necessary.
There are a variety of different blogging sites you can select from, but by far the most user-friendly and versatile platform available is WordPress. Two different types of WordPress platforms are available and it’s vital you pick the correct one. The first is WordPress.com, which allows users to set up a blog and register its domain in a matter of minutes. But for a whole host of reasons outside of the scope of this article, I don’t recommend using this platform for your small business blog.
Rather you should select WordPress.org to create your own self-hosted blog. Dot Org is simple enough to use, although those who don’t consider themselves tech-savvy may have a higher initial learning curve.
Both versions don’t cost anything to use. However, they both carry a fee for the hosting and registering of a domain.
If you want to further explore your options, there are a number of other platforms that are entirely free to use and provide you with the ability to set up your site in a few easy steps; they include Drupal, Joomla and Weebly. However, you should consider that most of these sites won’t work for a business blog over the long haul. Design limitations, SEO compatibility and functionality all make it very hard to use these platforms for a successful business blog.
Select a WordPress Theme
One of the most compelling features of WordPress is that it allows you to use different themes to easily customize the look and feel of your blog. The WordPress Theme Directory provides a long list of themes that are free to use, or you can check out premium themes at sites like ThemeForest.
When selecting a theme, keep the following in mind:
- Is the theme responsive? Does it properly display on desktop, tablet and mobile devices?
- Does it provide some level of customer support and/or a support forum?
- Does it provide the ability to customize the blog (e.g. widgets, buttons, navigation menus, changing colors, etc.)?
Register Your Domain Name
Once you’ve selected your blogging platform, you need to choose a domain name. This will be your website’s URL (e.g., www.yoursite.com). You can register your domain name through sites like GoDaddy, 1&1 or NameCheap.
In most cases, your domain will cost roughly $10 a year. Try to select a .com domain (as opposed to .biz, .net, etc.), when possible, and use your trademarked business name if it’s available. Make sure your domain is easy to remember yet specific enough to separate your business from sites with similar names.
Purchase Web Hosting
While a WordPress site may be free, you still have to pay to have your blog hosted, which costs more than renting the domain. You can purchase your web hosting services from a variety of companies, including Local Fresh. Click here to learn more.
Create a Writing Plan and Get Started
Now to the fun part, and the reason why you decided to start a blog for your business to begin with. But before you begin, it’s important to understand what’s the purpose of your blog?
- What is your primary objective? Is it to develop leads, expand your email subscriber list or demonstrate your expertise in a given field?
- How often do you plan to publish content? Two to three times per week is ideal, but blogging at least once a week is mandatory if you want your blog to have any impact.
- What voice should your blog have? Fun and casual? Academic? Authoritative?
- How will you attract readers, and get them to take action once on your website? An opt-in button to subscribe to an email list in one option. You could also provide a link on the blog to your sales page. Maybe you provide a call to action requesting a quote? Whatever you select, make sure it’s the most relevant option for your business.
Once you have a plan, start writing. Select topics that you possess a unique insight on that you can articulate and share, or on topics where you can offer valuable insight or perspective. Don’t just recycle what others have already said. Be original and write about topics that your audience will find valuable.
Local Fresh can help you with creating a blog for your business. We offer WordPress design, website hosting and a variety of other services that will meet your blogging needs.