Why Have a Business Blog?

blog-artWhat exactly is a blog? A blog (weblog) is a type of website with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are typically displayed in reverse-chronological order. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic.

Why should you consider having one for your business? Simply put, it’s a powerful and cost effective way to communicate regularly with your clients and prospects, without a heavy sales pitch. Businesses that have embarked on blogs report positive reviews of both the blogging process and the results of their business blog. We’ve compiled a list of ten advantages of establishing and maintaining a business blog.

1. It’s quick and easy

A blog is simple to use even for the technologically challenged. Blog software itself is free, and setting up a blog is relatively simple. In the worst case scenario you’ll have to install blogging software on your web site and tinker with a few settings.

2. It’s inexpensive to create

The only word more popular than quick and easy is inexpensive. To integrate a blog into the page of your site costs little. In some cases, someone within your organization may be able to do it. If that’s not possible outsourcing the task is very reasonable. A blog could become one of the most powerful weapons you have in your arsenal and the money you spend might just pay a salesperson for one day’s work.

3. It builds brand awareness

The more a customer hears the name of your company the greater the chance of remembering it. It takes, on average, around seven items of direct communication between you and your customers to make a sale. A blog with many posts gives you the opportunity to mention your company name and ensure that your readers think of you next time they’re looking for a particular product or service.

Blogs also give you an opportunity to link to pages on your main web site to promote other products and services. Promoting your blog via email and social networking sites also helps extend your reach to new potential customers.

4. It provides easy access to company news

A business blog can be written in one of numerous styles, or a combination of these. One huge benefit is the ability to inform your customers about new products,  benefits, latest offers and much more. Providing your audience with compelling content on a regular basis can help you grow a list of potential market leads.

In the past, companies have used newsletter and e-newsletters to offer this kind of regular contact. Using a blog is easier and it can be updated more regularly than a weekly or monthly newsletter.

5. It positions you as an expert

Blogs allow you to give your views on the latest events in your industry, offer reviews of related items and comparisons of several items, and providing helpful information on topics important to your industry. In short, a carefully crafted campaign can give you the appearance of authority. Customers will be much more likely to use your service or purchase your goods if they see you as an authority on a particular subject.

6. It builds relationships

Another difficult aspect of building a relationship with your customers online is building a rapport with them. A blog enables you to speak more freely and in a more informal and personable style than your Web site does, and your readers will soon feel like they know you. The more they know, like and trust you the more likely they are to visit your main site, click your links and purchase your product.

7. It’s search engine friendly

Search engine optimization is a particularly beneficial form of online marketing. It can be used to gain search engine traffic for given keywords or search terms. Your blog offers the opportunity to promote your Web site for hundreds or even thousands of different keywords. Search engines particularly like promoting blogs because they offer a large amount of content that is updated and added to on a regular basis. Most blog software systems have built-in tools for search engine optimization, keyword tagging, and viral marketing.

8. It makes you accessible

It doesn’t matter whether you are not, but you and your company will appear to be more accessible especially if you allow freedom for all your visitors to post comments. Accessibility is often a stumbling block for many potential customers that still prefer to deal with companies offline. A blog makes you more approachable and so alleviates this concern.

9. It helps you gain insight into your customers

A business blog enables you to gain insight into your customers. It does this in several ways. Predominantly, by allowing your customers to leave comments on your posts, you get a sense of how they react to what you say. You can also track which posts are being read more often and which generate a greater number of clicks, emails, and much more. As far as market and customer research goes this is important information.

10. It reduce calls and emails

You can use a blog to pre-empt questions that customers might have. By sending readers to your blog you can gain all of the above benefits and you may reduce the amount of niggling questions that you get asked by customers.

Maintaining A Successful Business Blog While there are free blogging services available they generally offer ad-supported blogs with a restricted amount of templates and options. To truly take advantage with a business blog your best bet is to install an application on your existing site. This will enable you to integrate the blog into your own domain incorporating your own design. This ensures that you offer the full benefit to site visitors while making it easier to point blog visitors toward the appropriate pages of your site.

Regular content is imperative to the success of any blog. This content needs to be informative, accurate, and written in a way that will appeal to your visitors. Every blog demands different content and by producing the right content on a regular basis it will pay dividends.

For more information about how to create and maintain a blog, please contact Lyn Nielsen at lynn@desktopsolutions.com.