You’ve no doubt heard about Blogging. Some reading this article will already be converts to the blogoshere but most – if intrigued by this article’s title – will be teetering on the edge of maybe playing with the idea of perhaps starting a business blog. My advice to you is stop teetering and get on with it. Blogging is one of the easiest, fastest, and cheapest ways for businesses, large and small, to engage their customers, build relationships and gain trust.

Why have a business blog?

– Blogging is easy

– Blogging builds your online reputation

– Blogs can increase traffic to your business site.

– Blogs can increase your search engine ranking

Lets examine those claims one by one:

Blogging is easy

You can sign up for a free blog right now, is one of the biggest, but in the very best traditions of the BBC I must inform you that other platforms are available. Typepad, and WordPress are two other major blog providers. The facilities are very much the same and all provide everything that you would expect to see on a blog so it is very much a case of you don’t pay your money but you takes your choice.

But having said all that, we don’t actually want you to that. Current thinking suggests that hosting at a dedicated domain is the better way to go about blogging for businesses. A related address such as looks more professional and will be more effective in helping with SEO.

This isn’t as complicated as you might think. Many domain packages come with blog software that can be installed in minutes. Somerset design and web-building agency martyndaviescreative recommends Compila as a cost-effective solution. Installation is a question of selecting one of the two programs on offer, B2Evolution or WordPress, and filling in a few details. And Bob, as they say, is your uncle.

Blogging builds your online reputation

Having a business blog tells your customers and members of your business community that you are serious about your industry. That you have expert knowledge. That you a ready to help and inform.

Your blog will also provide you with material you can tweet about in your social media campaign or link to your Facebook and LinkedIn pages. And with the addition of Social Media widgets, you can provide your readers with the opportunity to tweet, like and share your content for you. Free marketing – that can’t be bad can it?

Blogs can increase traffic to your business site.

Posting in your blog should be aimed at providing readers with reasons to visit your main site. It stands to reason that if you can establish trust, your visitors will be much more likely to click your links. Make sure that the links are relevant or your traffic will decay. And if your blog is enlightening and engaging other bloggers will link to you driving more traffic to your blog, and giving you more opportunities to engage with potential customers.

Blogs can increase your search engine ranking

Search engines love blogs. Blogs are naturally configured for search engines with optimized site architecture and clear hierarchical navigation structures. They like regular updates too, so be sure to keep your content fresh. More posts mean more visits from the spiders and bots. More visits mean faster indexing for your new content.

Be sure to use an SEO widget that will help you make sure that your targeted keyword phrase is present in important places such as the page title, meta description and SEO title.

Remember that it’s important to place links back to relevant content on your business site in your posts and in your blogroll (a list of links). Google figures that when one page links to another page, it is effectively casting a vote for that page. The more votes that are cast for a page, the more important the page must be. The more important the page, the higher it will be listed.

Final thoughts.

If you are thinking of blogging remember the three golden rules:

1. Post often – keep your content fresh to keep your audience, and the search engines, coming back for more

2. Be relevant – stay on your subject. Don’t be tempted down side roads. If you really must talk about your hobbies or get on your hobby horse consider starting a separate blog.

3. Tell people about it – having a blog is absolutely no good unless it can be found. Tell your customers and suppliers about it, include the address on your company stationery, submit it to blog circles and directories, comment on other blogs and include your URL in the sign-off. And every time you write an article tweet about it.

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