Αre you a small business owner or freelancer? Then unless you already have a blog, you’re seriously missing out — and hurting your business in the process.
“But haven’t blogs gone out of style?”, you might ask, and “isn’t it all about social media this and Facebook that, now?” Not really. While personal blogging faded out since its mid-naughties peak, business blogging remains as strong, and as relevant as ever.
How do we know this? Well, for starters, you’re reading this on a blog, aren’t you?
The truth is, a blog makes for great complementary material to your brochure style business website, and can do wonders to your SEO ranking — and that’s natural, organic, SEO ranking, the kind that Google prefers and promotes.
In fact many small business owners became not just well known, but also sought after experts in their field thanks to their blogs — people like videographer Phillip Bloom, productivity guru Tim Ferris, web designer Jeffrey Zeldman, and many more, from cooks to plumbers. We advise you to take the plunge — it’s never too lateto start your own small business owners blog, even if there are 100 other blogs from people in your particular line of work.
After all, adding a blog to your website can only add value to your business, never subtract from it (unless you do something really stupid, like posting your political affiliations on your business blog. Of course that’s easy enough to avoid).
Convinced? Nice — let’s see what you’ll need to get you blogging as soon as possible:
1) A blogging platform
Blogging doesn’t require you to have some special software installed on your computer. A simple browser will do. You will, however, need to have a way to serve your blog to the world.
If you already have a business website, you can ask the people who developed it to setup a blogging software on it.
If you know your way around computers (especially Linux) you can even set it up it yourself (we suggest the popular WordPress open source blogging platform). Alternatively, you can host your blog elsewhere (it doesn’t necessarily have to be on your business page, linking to it can be just as good).
If, on the other hand, you don’t have a business website, you should get both that and a blog (hey, it’s 2016, get on with the program!).
There are several excellent platforms that support and can host both. If you want a turn-key solution and you rather not have to setup anything, you can try WordPress.com, Medium, Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly.
Prices for a full-featured, turn-key blog service account range around $5-$10 per month, although some services also offer free, usually limited or ad-supported, tiers. Oh, and WordPress also comes in a open sourceversion that you (or you tech-savvy nephew/niece) can install and use free of charge.
2) A domain name
Domain names are the main part of what you may call a “web address”. In our case, for example, our domain name is elorus.com.
You can always start blogging without your own domain name (in which case your blog will share the domain name of your blogging service provider, e.g. mysite.wordpress.com) but having one looks more professional, and allows you to change blogging services down the live will keeping the same address.
Registering a domain name for a year (think of it as a kind of renting it, as you can’t outright buy a domain name), will cost you around $10-$20 per year. Two popular options for domain registration are GoDaddy and Name.com — but there are numerous others.
3) Something to write about
Getting your own blog setup is really not a big deal. As of operating it, it’s almost as easy as using Facebook. Any line of work offers myriads of opportunities to write about.
Even something as seemingly mundane as accounting has inspired numerous high traffic blogs. It’s all about giving your audience valuable information (e.g. how to pick the right rainproof coating, for a color shop or furniture blog), and/or telling some nice stories about the business or the industry in general.
Oh, and try not to copy other blogs — it’s OK to be inspired, but copying their posts outright is not only in bad taste, but very easily discoverable on the internet.
Be honest, be funny, share your experience, and people will start flocking in.
And that’s pretty much all you need to get started with blogging for your business!
In future posts we’ll delve more into the writing part — which can prove the most challenging for some — , offering tips and advice on writing well and growing your blog’s audience.