Should I be blogging?
When I meet with clients regarding website projects, I am often asked what I recommend regarding blogging. When utilizing WordPress as a Content Management System, blogging is a natural complement to a small business website. Some clients are clearly not ready to commit to keeping up a regular blog, but when you examine the benefits of blogging to your business, it’s hard to not want to make the commitment to writing about half a page once a week to keep a blog updated. (frequency recommendations vary greatly based on who you talk to)
1. Establish yourself as a trusted voice.
You’re an expert… whether you realize or not, your clients trust your for expert advice in your area of business. Maybe you don’t feel like an expert, but you know something specific about your field in your community that is of value. Rather than hiding that expertise behind a logo or slogan asking people to trust your reputation, why not give them a little free taste of that wisdom? Great blog content can be tips, tricks, insider info, analysis, opinion or even humor relating to your business experience. As your audience reads your words, they grow to trust you more when they need a service that you provide.
2. Enable two-way communication with your client base.
Making business decisions in a vacuum is dangerous. Why not elicit some feedback from clients and industry partners while driving traffic to your website? Blogs are a great place to allow others to join in a conversation about topics relevant to your business. The discussion can be useful for adjusting business practices, informing new products and providing valuable insight into how your customers view your business or industry.
3. Create dynamic content on your website.
Every blog entry on your site becomes a new page that search engines recognize and index for keywords and phrases. While one aspect of your business may not have much of a presence on your website, you can dedicate pages of space to discussing the ins-and-outs of it in a blog that is organized and archived for easy access and future use. You also give people a reason to come back to your site by publishing new blog entries on your front page.
4. Republish and distribute content easily.
What makes a blog a blog is RSS. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a super flexible way of taking the content on your website and making it accessible to people in a machine-readable format to be read on-demand in a program or on a device of their choosing. RSS offers the most choice to your audience of how they will access the content of your blog. As a blog administrator, you can make your content available through a feed reader, by email, by text alerts and even by an iTunes podcast. If you have multiple websites, you can even cross-publish content between sites easily with an RSS feed. If you’re feeling really generous, you can even provide widgets for people to include your content on their own web sites.
5. Allow easy archival and searchable access to your content.
Where was that article about industry practices on that web site? Well, with a WordPress blog, archiving by date, category and keyword is automatic. With keyword tags, the possibilities are limitless to provide flexible organization of your blog content on the conditions which you think people will be looking for it. Why not enable a rating system to let the public decide what is valuable on your blog and organize access to content based on popular opinion? With each blog post creating a page with the option to have a unique page title, meta descriptions and meta keywords, search engines have much better access to indexing the material on your website. So whether clients utilize a search engine or the search function on your site, they are more likely to find the content they are looking for.