Date: 19 August 2016
Beginner blogging tips for small businesses
If you have you been thinking about how to get more visitors to your website, you should think about blogging. Are you pondering how you can improve your ranking on Google? Consider blogging. How do you add value to your site visitors’ experience? Blogging. How can you generate more inbound links for your site? Blogging! How can you attract more visits from social media? You guessed it! After optimising your site, starting a blog is a great next step to up your game.
How to begin
Writing blogs takes time, and time is precious for small business owners. We’d suggest you block off 30 minutes a week to work on your blog article. Alternatively, you could delegate the task to one of your colleagues.
Most businesses won’t be able to update their blog weekly, so give yourself a target of one blog a month. Write down potential blog article subjects in a document, so you always have something to come back to if you need inspiration.
Focusing the topic
The best advice is, focus in a specific subject that you believe your readers will be interested in. The reason being that whilst you potentially have a larger audience with a broad topic, you also have more competition. As a small business, you’ll not be able to compete with the volume of blogs on that topic, so it’s better to narrow it down.
For example, if you own a pet shop, you may want to write something about pet toys. You could go in a lot of directions with this topic: the health risks of pet toys, the best catnip toys available online, how to use dog toys in training, a list of indestructible dog toys, and so on. Choose one of these unique angles rather than the broad topic.
Extra tips for topics:
- When you’re thinking about topics, it’s always a good idea to save all ideas in a document, so you can refer back to it for future blog articles.
- Ask your social media audience for advice or a choice on what to write on. Perhaps open a Facebook or Twitter poll.
The different types of blog posts
You may have noticed that blog posts are often titled in a certain way to draw visitors in. If you know Buzzfeed and websites like it, you’ll see titles like “You won’t believe how she [….]” or “5 guaranteed ways to succeed in [….]”. These sensational headlines are called “clickbait”, because they bait visitors into clicking on the article.
We’re not advising you to use clickbait titles, but we’re showing you this to show the effect of an engaging headline. It is important to choose a title that draws people in and sets the right expectations.
Topic 1: the question/answer blog post
“How do I Fix a Leaking Tap?”
“What Are the Best Circular Saws for at Home?”
“Top 10 Things to Check Before Buying a Car”
One of the most popular ways to structure your blog post is to answer a question that your readers might have.
The question can be title of your article, and the content should answer it. As you are the expert on the topic, you’re the right person to give them professional and helpful advice. Another way to answer a question is by creating a “Top 5” list, like in the third example above.
The reason these type of blog posts work so well is that people put these exact questions in search engines, giving your blog post a good chance to end up high in their search results.
Topic 2: the industry blog
“An Analysis of the Newest Technology for Laser Levelling.”
“Google Changes Search Layout: What Does It Mean for SEO?”
This blog article is mostly for businesses who work b2b. Establish yourself as an authority in your industry by sharing industry-related news and commenting on it. Add your thoughts and criticism to make it interesting to read. Don’t forget to share your blog on LinkedIn for maximum exposure.
Topic 3: the product promotion
“5 Tips to Start Your New Fitness Routine”
“How We Design Our Handmade Statement Necklaces”
Usually, blog articles that shamelessly promote a product or service, don’t go down well with the public. You can still promote them, but you need to be sly about it. There is a rule that the ratio of content for social media and blogs should be 80/20: 80% should be interesting, useful or entertaining to build your following, and 20% can be about levering your existing following by actively promoting your products/services.
Write about a problem the customer might have, and bring in your problem-solving product or service in at the end. For example, if you sell fitness equipment, write about starting a fitness routine. You can give four general tips, and the fifth tip could be your recommending your fitness watch. That way you still give valuable expert advice, rather than just promoting your own product.
Another way to do it is to teach your readers something about your product. For example, if you design jewellery, show your readers the process from the first design ideas to putting together the necklace.
Topic 4: the business promotion
“Meet The Team: Ricky”
“How We Got Where We Are Today”
Another reason to write blog posts is connecting with your customers, and a great way to do that is by writing engaging stories about your business. Interview one of your colleagues or customers, talk about the history of the business, or about events that you’re going to. Show in your articles how much your colleagues enjoy working there, and how much current customers love your service.
The structure of blog posts
The minimum length of a blog post should be 300 words, and most types of blog posts shouldn’t be longer than 1000 words. Start off your article with a captivating introduction to the subject of the blog. Then write your content in an organised manner, using sub-headers, paragraphs and bulleted lists. Add images to break up bits of text and illustrate your points. Always try to add a related call-to-action at the end; either to link to another blog article, to your online shop, or the contact page.
Promote your blog posts
Just posting the blog on your site is not enough. You need to share your article on social media to promote it. Do some hashtag research to find relevant tags for your article and industry and use these in your update. If you send out a regular newsletter to your customers, add a link to your blog in there as well. You could also share your blog posts on websites such as StumbleUpon, BizSugar, Blog Engage and on a Reddit sub forum specific to your niche.
Preparation for the next blog
It doesn’t stop after one blog post, blogging is something that’s only worthwhile if you keep it up. When you have just started your blog, try and upload three articles at once. A blog page with just one blog article looks a bit sad!