Update: This article was written some time ago now. It still holds true but some things that have changed are the way that Google rewards good relevant topical and location appropriate content, even more than ever before. So blogging is a clean and easy way for businesses to keep their articles relevant and fresh. This is critical.
The other big change? Mobile. With mobile and tablet searching expected to overtake desktop computers for accessing the web by 2015 it is past due, the time to make sure your website or at the very least your blog (connected to your website), is a readable in mobile format.
Slowly small business owners are starting to 'get it' that being online is something their business needs to do even if they are not sure how to go about it.
Aside from a brochure-style website that lists all the usual details about the business: what you do: where you are; when you're open and how to contact you, it is important to know that you need fresh content that is updated regularly. The best way to do that - the easiest way to do that - is with a blog.
In fact the old days of the static webpage are pretty much over and many websites now are just an upscale blog with some additional static pages. The beauty of this model is that it is easy for non-technical people to just add their new content and not have to fuss too much with knowing how the 'behind the scenes' parts work.
When we think about content being added it raises all kinds of questions that may have not been considered before and chief among them may be "What will I write about?". Not everyone is accustomed to writing for the public and this can seem like a daunting prospect.
Here are some questions I've been asked about this and hopefully this may shed some light you can use in finding topics for writing content for your business.
Write about what you know.
We can be blinded by the things that we take for granted and assume that everybody knows what we know. That's not true though and what seems simple to you with your experience, can seem like arcane magical voodoo for me who has never had to know about the inner workings of a magneto or the finer points of painting a house.
What you know about your specialty, if I am in the mindset for needing that thing, is madly interesting to me right then. People go searching for very specific information when they have a need for something and if your article is on target for that thing of which they seek, then your article (blog) will come up and be seen. This is where you can stand out from all the other businesses who do what you do. I may have no interest at all in mixer taps - until my kitchen sink is flooded and I need to buy one. Then I want to know what I need to know before I buy.
If you say it - then you own it. Even if everyone else in your industry does the same thing only the one with the information out there for me to find will get the credit.
What does your blog say to us? We know you know your stuff - and that's evidence right there on the webpage that you have some experience, knowledge and enough savvy to put it out there for us to see.
I don't want to tip off my competition.
This is a common fear and the reality is that they already know part of what you know. That doesn't matter. Focus on what customers will find useful not your competitors. Frankly most businesses are doing zilch about marketing effectively and carving out a slice of the market to own. Be there first and seek to own your little corner of the patch.
You don't have to 'give away the farm' but you can provide background information that makes it easy for me to know what I need to know to make a good decision.
Developing a strategy for your online presence and your blogging means that you can work through all the informaton that you want potential customers to know about your expertise and your service offering. Over time this will add real value to your website and attract targeted buyers to your business.
With a strategy, and a schedule to follow you can streamline your writing and ensure regular updates without taking too much time away from your other activities.
So - what's the message you'd like to share about your business?
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