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How A Blog Benefits Your Small Business – And Why Should You Start Blogging in 2020
Running a small business takes a lot of time, effort, and in 2019 – content! We’re in a more digital world than ever and that looks set to continue in 2020 with the likes of Elon Musk linking our brains to superchips, and Ai ever present in our lives! Digital is where the conversations and sales are at, and that’s one very big reason to get your small business online and found.
Just like social media though, there are many ways to use blogging for your business and there are many that are simply a waste of time. Spending hours and hours writing content for your blog and your social media to see no return is, frankly, a waste of time.
We don’t think blogging (done well) is a waste of time though. We create content for 100s of clients and we’ve grown our own business through blogging too.
If you’re looking to set up or get back going with your small business blog, then keep reading.
How A Blog Benefits Your Small Business – And Why Should You Start Blogging in 2020
What is a blog?
The term blog is short for ‘weblog’ and was first seen online as far back as the late 80s and early 90s. Firstly a form of journaling and content creation for individuals, blogging was seen more as a business tool in 1995 when the first business to consumer website was launched by TY, which featured a section of the site called ‘Online diary’ and was the first of its kind to have ‘news’ and ‘updates’ that ran alongside the rest of the site’s more static content.
A blog can be anything from a travel diary to a highly technical bank of resources that help internet users to solve problems. YouTube and social media sites are much like a blog in the sense that they share ideas, concepts, new,s and help. They’re just more visual.
YouTube is actually the world’s 2nd largest search engine, thanks in part to its ownership by Google, and the way many videos are now shared in the search results.
Does your small business need a blog?
This is a big question that we’ll aim to answer in more detail later, but basically – yes!
A blog has so many wonderful parts to it and so many benefits to a business we’d be hard pushed to say anything other than “YES!”.
A small business has many challenges and struggles to get it off the ground and yet it has so much at its disposal. The internet has to be one of the greatest things to happen to SMEs, as it gives businesses the world to connect with and so many free pieces of software, websites, apps, and advice to get connected and growing.
A blog for a small business can really help you get found, get seen, get noticed, stay remembered, and become trusted. And in the world of small business, trust has to come before sales.
A blog can share your business story, or if you’re really working on getting found online – share tips, advice, and industry-specific content that’s being searched for by your potential customers.
You know you need a website, although some people argue social media is enough (it’s not). But not every small business owner truly understands the importance of a blog.
Google is looking for up-to-date, relevant, authoritative and fresh content for its users. It’s very complicated and constantly updated, but the algorithm at Google delivers billions of results in seconds for almost any term you can search for.
In their own words Google’s aim is simple: Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
If you have information that would help your customer or future customers, don’t you think it would be a good idea to share it?
Google also looks for updates constantly. It ranks sites that are authorities in their field and that offer a great experience to users.
Your website would rarely get updated without a blog. Your home page is most likely the same as it was the day it went live and unless you’ve changed your backstory and your contact details, the rest of the site is likely to be the same.
How can you help your site stand out? With an active blog.
The importance of blogging on your website
Growing a small business means getting found. In 2019 onwards that means getting found online. Getting found online means getting found on Google.
Think about it: you want something right now. You need an answer/product/service. Where do you go?
Every day 15% of Google searches are brand new. That’s a phenomenal number of searches considering the number of searches Google receives each day.
There’s a HUGE opportunity there for your small business and it’s not all about getting your main pages top of Google for ‘Your service/product + town’. No, there’s a longer game to be played here, and blogging is your next best move.
Google uses algorithms to determine the search results and it also checks the quality of the searches with actual people who check the way the results are shown.
One of the major things Google aims to do is show the quality websites over the lesser ones. As a small business, you have a challenge there as you’ll have less market share, budget, history and other factors that will play into it.
But with a blog, quality and consistently updated blog, you can grow that trust.
Trust is the way to gain clicks in Google. Trust is gained from many factors but visitor numbers, time on site, links to your content, and shares and bookmarks are right up there. To gain all that, you need content that helps the users.
Why? Because that’s what Google wants.
As Google say:
“Our goal is always to provide you the most useful and relevant information. Any changes that we make to Search are always to improve the usefulness of results that you see. That’s why we never accept payment from anyone to be included in search results.”
As a small business, you’re likely to have tonnes of useful ideas and answers and you’re probably answering those to your customers and social media followers all the time. Those would make great blogs, you know!
The importance of a blog for your small business is simple:
Every second there are millions of searches on Google and clicks from them to your website can grow your trust. The more trust you have, the more likely it is that Google will trust you enough to show you on the front page of Google for ‘Your service/product + town’.
The blog gains you the trust so that your main pages get a look in!
What are the benefits of having a blog?
There are some many ways to use a blog and so many ways to do that that I could write a whole blog on it. (I did here). But here are the main reasons.
- To increase your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
- To add value to your email subscribers.
- To have better content to share on social media.
- So that you have content for the stalkers.
Let’s break those down.
To increase your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
SEO is important for your small business because it helps your website get seen. If you’re languishing on page 25 for your main keyword and search term then you’re going to be missing out on, ultimately, 100s and 1000s of calls and enquiries.
If I Google what you do (not you, what you do), where do you come up? (You can’t do this yourself, as your results will be different from mine.) The chances are you could improve on that result and an active blog is a very good place to start with that.
The Knowledge Graph at Google is a good addition to Google and big win for blogging and SEO. Think about the way we all use Google. We search for answers, right? Why not make your blog into the answers for all those Googled questions?
More researched and well-written and well-placed blogs means more impressions and clicks and that means more traffic and trust.
To add value to your email subscribers.
Your email subscribers need good quality content. They need you to continue to build trust and draw them closer to you.
They don’t need your fecking news!
Your blog can really come into play here…
Creating great content on your blog for your ideal avatar will make the content the ideal topic of conversation in your emails too. Email a little intro to your blog and then link to your blog for the full article. Traffic + trust + better emails = winning at small business marketing.
To have better content to share on social media.
Social media is undoubtedly a big tool in the SMEs box. Social media allows us to chat and communicate with our audience and also add some more value to them. This can work both ways:
- Social media posts are often the basis for great blogs;
- Blogs are often perfect for sharing on social media.
Adding snippets of your blog onto your social media also makes it really simple to add more content that your audience would love to hear. You don’t always have to share the link to the full content; sometimes a quick paragraph from the blog is an ideal social media share.
(That paragraph up there is a perfect example of one, actually!)
Now you have content for the stalkers.
Build your online content for the stalkers. This very blog is for those who are looking at us as a potential content agency to write their content for them. I’ve written it for you to answer the question you Googled, and I’ve written it for them if they’re deciding if they like us.
We’re showing them (and you) what we can do!
Building a blog like a Netflix of the common questions and problems your audience has is a great benefit to blogging. Not only will you gain more organic traffic, but you’ll have a bank of content giving answers or opinions on key areas of your industry or niche.
If you get asked those questions on email, phone, social media or out whilst networking – then you can send them the blog!
Does blogging still work?
100%, yes. But only when you do it well and only when you do it for the right reasons.
Blogging for a small business can work for many reasons and some of those I’ve shared above. Blogging can drive traffic, trust, followers, and sales. It can also improve your website for people just taking a look and it can maximise those social media posts.
But for the most part, blogging is all about increasing your search ranking and getting your site found on Google.
Blogging almost certainly drives traffic when you understand what a blog can do for your SEO.
Here are a few ideas to get you started with driving traffic to a small business blog:
Research keywords and phrases – if you’re aiming for traffic then research what people want to know first. Researching keywords and phrases can be done right from the front of Google (to get an idea what to search for and what’s already out there) and also from tools like The Keyword Planner in Google Ads. More on how to research for content ideas for your blog here.
Understand SEO titles, tags, and on-page SEO – Google is a technical tool and understanding how on-page SEO works is key. It’s all a big techy and not what I want to cover in this blog, but here’s a brief summary:
- The title of your blog forms the meta title – so get your keyword or phrases in here.
- Your blogs need a H1 tag. Heading 1 can also include your keywords/phrase.
- Use internal links from your blog content to other relevant blogs and pages.
- Use relevant images and videos but make sure the meta data and alt present and correct.
- Using mark-up like bullet points, H2 tags, bold or italics can help the search engines isolate key parts of the blog page.
- Keep your blog about one topic/phrase/keyword. This is important. Keeping the ‘keyword density’ as high as you can will increase your chances of being found for that term.
- Update your blog. We constantly update our Warwickshire networking list because the links and events are in constant flux. A blog is only useful in the long run if you blog about evergreen topics. If you’re blogging about things that change all the time – Like this blog on Facebook tagging bugs – then you need to update your blog to keep gaining the traffic.
Blogging gained us tonnes of traffic and out of the top 10 pages on visited on our site in 2019, 8 of them are blogs and in their own right the account for 44.98% of the traffic to our site.
Eight blogs are driving nearly half the traffic to our website. Crazy!
Just think what would happen without those blogs:
- Far fewer internal links.
- Fewer external links.
- 10s of 1000s of hits to the site lost.
- Less trust in Google.
- Less clicks to the main pages.
Does blogging work? We built a small business from the blog up!
In 2012 I started blogging for the company I worked for and then I started blogging for a small community project. This blog even got a link from the Guardian newspaper to show how to grow a community using digital marketing!
Since then we’ve kept this blog alive and updated and we do that for clients too. (We should chat about that!).
Blogging can really help your business get found, liked, trusted, and bought from.
Research, create, and share it out there to grow your small business.
You’re an expert, so share that expertise. Scared you’ll share too much? Don’t be, the perfume industry doesn’t seem to struggle despite the large amount of product they give away!
Need more help?
There are loads of small business blogging tips on this blog.
Bookmark the blog and add yourself to our emails for more updates.
Tags associated with this articleBlog Blogging Blogs Copywriting
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