As published on Hybrid Mom
Probably the number one question that I get asked as a web designer is, “I have a website, but do I need a blog?” This is a good question, and is usually followed-up by a host of others: “Why should I have a blog? What good will it do for my online business? I’ve heard it’s a great way to get more hits and higher rankings with the search engines, is this true?”
Are you ready for the answers? Here you go…it depends! I know, what a great vague answer, right? Fortunately, in this article, I’ll go into detail of how it can be beneficial for your online business presence.
I’m only going to discuss this from a website owners standpoint. We can later add social or mommy blog articles and how to gain viewers and revenue at a later date if there is interest.
First off, you might be asking “what IS a blog?” Blog is the shortened name for a “Web Log”. Blogging can serve a variety of purposes; it can be used as an online diary, a place to inform your customers of sales or new products, or it can just be a way for you to satisfy your urge to spread knowledge, wisdom or humor.
If you plan on starting a blog that is linked to your business, then be prepared to write VERY often, because your Search Engine Rankings will improve only if you actively use it. You need to actively visit other blogs, commenting and leaving your blog’s web address in your signature–there’s usually a place for that on comment submission forms on blogs. I talked more in depth about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips and tricks in my last article on Hybrid Mom.
Blogging has a very loose etiquette of “you comment on mine and I’ll come and comment on yours”. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve met some wonderful online friends and look forward to their new blog posts and the comments they leave on my blogs.
A blog can help your online business in a variety of ways. It’s free advertising, search engine friendly, a great marketing tool and it creates those valuable link-backs that help determine your page rank. Leaving your address in comment forms on other sites creates a link back to your site, which helps make you a “popular link”!
Once you’re blogging regularly, make sure that you’re blogging about things that people want to read. Create content that makes people want to come back for more; find a target audience and participate on their blogs and hopefully they’ll return the favor. Just because it’s a “business blog” doesn’t mean that it also can’t be a fun blog. There is no rule that says you can only talk about your business. Find material that you’re comfortable writing about and have fun with it! I write about my boys all the time on my One Stop Boy Shop Blog. They’re my inspiration for the majority of the articles that I write on that blog but I also use it as a way to announce new products and sales.
As you come to know other bloggers, an additional step you can take is linking with each other. Keep a blogroll of the blogs you like best or swap button ads and people who like yours will do the same. This creates a permanent link back to your site from theirs…. that’s another show of popularity and another way for others to find your site!
Since we’re assuming here that this is a blog linked to a business website, you will want your blog to be taken seriously. Consider having a WordPress blog using your own websites address. Attach your blog directly to your website and don’t redirect it to a blogging network.
When you establish your blog, make sure you set up a news feed (RSS) so that your regular readers can keep track of when you’ve posted a new update. I use FeedBurner myself. By letting people know right away that you’ve posted a new article, you ensure frequent returns to your site.
As you take the first steps to set up your business blog, remember: blogging should be an enjoyable experience. Articles from your heart will come most naturally, and tend to also be the most therapeutic and entertaining. People will be able to tell if you’re not really enthused about your subject matter.
Can a blog help your online website? Absolutely. But you’ve got to use it to it’s full capacity to reap the benefits. Your website designer should be able to help you set it up if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself. It shouldn’t be an addition to your website, but an extension of it.