A business blog can be the ideal tool for you to optimise your business's online presence. By attracting readers to your blog you will in turn attract them to your business website and product offerings, thus increasing your brand awareness. It can be a great way to bring in new customers via informative and entertaining content. Here’s a break-down of how blogging can help market your business and attract new customers:
Search engine optimisation
First of all, having a blog affiliated with your website gives you lots of opportunity for SEO. Having an active blog does have a positive effect on your search engine ratings, and it also gives you the room to keep expanding your content. You can easily update your blog in a timely manner, incorporating new ideas, thoughts and keywords that people might be searching for.
Another key benefit that comes with having a blog is virality. Product pages or info pages on a company website rarely go viral, but a good blog post or a video posted on your blog has a lot more potential. For bigger exposure share your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter, and also consider adding them to social bookmarking sites like Reddit, Digg or StumbleUpon. The benefit of submitting a post to a social bookmarking site is that it instantly becomes available to all of its users, with a target on those with a proven affinity for your sector.
Keep them coming back
If you write posts on a regular and consistent basis then you will entice readers to keep coming back to your blog. A website alone doesn’t always guarantee that customers will return to your site on regular basis, but a blog with new and interesting content will ensure that they return.
An opportunity to reach out
If a business website is more focused on the business itself, a business blog should be more focused on its readers and potential customers. A blog is a great method of reaching out and allowing customers to interact with your business. On your business blog you can cover a wide range of topics in more depth than than you might provide on your main website. You can also cover topics that are tangentially related to your business, but for which there might not be room to explore on your main site. Be sure to have a comment board where the readers of your blog can share their thoughts and opinions.
Show your expertise
Having a business blog gives you an opportunity to make yourself known as an industry expert. If you write regularly about the line of business you are involved with an authoritative voice, you will gain readers and credibility.
At the end of the day, while having a blog is a great commitment, even posting on a weekly basis is enough to bring you all the benefits. Set aside some time, or assign someone from your team to take control, and enjoy all the new business your blog will bring in!
I’m sorry, but it’s true. Nobody cares. Everyone is far too busy packing in their priorities into their already too-short-to-fit-everything-in, 24-hour days. Just because you have a mighty fine business idea and an equally snazzy website (you think), don’t expect anyone to stop and take notice. Don’t expect your inbox to fill up with enquiries or your phone to ring off the hook. Your website lives alongside a gazillion others, with just as many claiming to do what you do. Competition for people’s attention online is mind-blowing.
A big part of my job is managing expectations. If you want your audience to care, you’ve got to care first. You’ve got to go out of your way first. Here are eight tips on how to cultivate care and attention from your target audience.
1. Help people navigate easily through your website so that they can actually find what they are looking for. Hide and seek is just not a cool game online.
2. Keep your message simple, short and focused. Help people get the information they need quickly and easily.
4. Blog. Give people relevant free advice because blogs showcase your expertise and raise your credibility.
5. Leave your website floating in space with no support and you will get nothing from it. Your website should be one tool in a mix of social media communication tools. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and blogs are just some examples of communication tools that could be used to attract your audience’s attention and support your website. Be present where your audience is looking.
6. Inspire people. Help people choose you because they like what they see, because you look different, or interesting, or professional, or approachable, or exciting, or authentic…
7. Help people take action. Guide them towards your enquiry form or phone number.
8. Remember the seven touches. Building relationships and gaining trust takes time. None of the above is about selling. All of the above is about helping people. Because when you help people, they choose to buy from you.
My point is that your website is not the magic formula. Nobody cares unless you do the above, because only then do you start to stand out as a credible source of useful information, products and services. You’ve got to do these things to make a difference to the leads you generate from your website. Sadly, many people don’t. Those that do, win. It’s that simple.
The low-down on the blogs, tweets, books, podcasts, videos, websites and events that are keeping us inspired, entertained and informed during the election.
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The beauty of the internet is that almost everything in the public domain is searchable. This means that when it comes to tracking your online reputation, all you have to do is head over to Google and tap in your name.
The problem is, you’ll probably also want to search for your company name(s), product name(s), URL(s), and the names of any key personnel. What’s more, different search engines pick up different results, so you’ll need to perform multiple searches to avoid missing mentions. Suddenly, this simple task becomes a bit of a drag.
Here are seven free tools to simplify the task of monitoring your online mentions.
Search engine alerts
Track mentions of keywords in news, websites, blogs, videos and groups with Google Alerts. Set alerts to be sent by email either daily or ‘as-it-happens’ (meaning it hits your inbox as soon as it’s indexed by Google). Alternatively, you can create RSS feed to track from inside your favourite reader.
Bing offers much the same functionality, but for news only. Head to Bing News and select ‘News alerts’ from the bottom of the left hand column. For the same service from Yahoo!, visit Yahoo! Alerts and choose ‘Keyword News’ from the box on the right.
Blogpulse indexes blogs and helps pick up mentions you might not have spotted via the standard search engines. Just search for your key term and then hit the XML icon at the top of the search results to create an RSS feed. You can also search for all posts linking to your site by choosing ‘URL’ in the search options.
Blogpulse won’t pick up everything, so again it’s a matter of combining this with your other tracking efforts. Try Icerocket, which also offers an RSS feed.
Social media monitoring tools
There a dozens of free tools out there for monitoring social media mentions. My favourite at the moment is Social Media Alerts from Social Mention. It searches through over 100 social media platforms such Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google and delivers daily results by email. Searches via the main site will also give you a sense of sentiment and reach, and tell you which users are driving the conversation.
If you want to monitor the number of click throughs on a link you have tweeted, use the Bit.ly shortener service and from their site you can view analytics for clicks of links within your tweets.
Have I missed any great free tools? Let me know.
When I tell people I blog, I use Twitter and actively work on growing my online network they usually respond in one of two ways. The first is that they launch into a conversation with me about the social media revolution we're experiencing - usually ending with useful URLs being swapped - and a post-conversation tweet or two. The second reaction, and one usually reserved for the - well let's just say more mature generation - is that of shock and fear of things world-wide-webish. Before the boom of social media started in late 2005, people held a much more reserved approach to where and how their name, picture, and email could be used online. As time went on and online networks grew out of sight, people (en masse) became a lot more likely to share their details to others online. Nowadays, to not have your foot in a major online network is madness – the effect it can have on your business is phenomenal. If you want to get involved in at least one network, choose Twitter. Get yourself an account, link to your website, do some tweets and experience the benefits of what it can bring. Mark Shaw has recently recorded his Twitter for Business TV series, a collection of the best twitter tips - just perfect for those starting out. If you haven’t already seen them or read his blogs, you should. I'd also highly recomend his free ebook which you can download directly from his blog.
Businesses are now increasingly turning to blogging as part of their online strategy and one of the most common types of blog posts you see around is the 'Top tips' advice post. They can be a great way of engaging audiences and demonstrating knowledge in your specific business field.
With the multitude of ’Top tips’ advice around online it was only a matter of time before a post appeared about tips on how to write tips. So without further ado here it is:
Do Your Research – It is important that each tip is well researched and well written. If a Google search on your chosen topic area comes up with some conflicting information you might not end up looking very knowledgeable!
Don’t Repeat The Same Thing – Sounds obvious but sometimes people tend to repeat themselves in these sorts of posts and end not adding much value. Make sure each tip gives something new to the reader.
Have Punchy Clear Titles – People’s attention span on the net is very limited. If you don’t get their attention quickly and engage them then they will be off somewhere else very quickly.
If Possible Use An Illustration – ‘A picture paints a thousand words’ they say and it is true. An illustration of some kind can help convey your point and engage people to your post.
Proof Read Your Post – It sounds obvious but make sure you proof read your post and make sure grammar/ spelling is correct. There is nothing more off-putting than reading a post with loads of mistakes in it. ALSO WRITING IN CAPS LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING!
Be Original – There are some many ‘Top tips’ blog posts and articles out there so make sure the subject area you are choosing is an original one. If you are choosing a common subject area try and come from a different perspective.