According to eMarketer, by 2013, 128 million people in America will read blogs on a monthly basis. Businesses need not only have a static website but a blog as well. A blog is good for business. Why?
Effective Blogging Practice #1
A business website gives information about the company, products and services, but there rarely is a place customers can leave feedback and share their thoughts. When creating a blog in addition to a website, you must be an active blogger. Google loves blogs because they are not stagnant; it also increases your search ranking. Nothing is worse than creating a blog, adding content, receiving feedback from readers and customers alike and then disappearing for six months. Readers are waiting to hear from you and if they don't they may not return.
Lesson: Blog Often.
Effective Blogging Practice #2
Your website shows what you sell/offer. Your blog should not be a direct selling platform, used to market and advertise your products and services. Instead leverage what you sell to facilitate creativity. For
example, T.J. Maxx's website hosts a blog called The Maxxinista Corner. Here shoppers can post comments about their finds in their local T.J. Maxx and share fashion tips with other readers. The goal is to house a community of like-minded people who will attract more readers. This will in turn create more business.
Lesson: Leverage your business to facilitate creativity amongst readers.
Effective Blogging Practice #3
Allow comments. Some businesses keep comments closed due to fear of negative feedback. However, they are missing out on the positive feedback that can boost business. Take the negative with a pinch of salt and use it to better your business practice, service or products. Address comments, be friendly and on a first name basis. This shows that you, as the blog administrator, are human and approachable. Also, readers like to share ideas with each other and talk about your new products and services.
Lesson: Let their voices be heard.
Final Effective Blogging Practice #4
I saved the best for last. The layout of your blog can attract or turn people off at first glance. A two column layout is easy to manage and keeps your posts visible and readable. Your Twitter feed and Facebook Badge/Fan Box should be on the sidebar and not too much at the top. Also an About Us page should be part of your navigation bar. Three column layouts are cool but the contents must be placed strategically. If not, too many words, pictures and links may confuse the reader and they may close your blog and go to the next. There are many templates to choose from, so choose wisely :)
Lesson: Keep it clean
Other Tips/Wrap Up:
- Use your blog for crisis management: Inform readers when a site is down or services or products are no longer available. Also if there is any confusion in the media about your business, your blog is where most readers may go for answers and feedback.
- Your blog does not have an expiration date: If you know you have the time and personnel to update your blog periodically/frequently, blog away. If not, don't bother.
- Choose a layout based on your geek gene: If "font-size: 17px;"><span style="font-size: 17px;">" confuses you, stick to a pre-made template you can work with.
- Add descriptions and tags to your blog content: Link your blog content and pictures to a source. Add descriptions when necessary. This is all apart of SEO.
- Spell/Grammar check: That speaks for itself!
Happy Blogging! :)