Wow! It’s been more than 8 years since the SocialNicole business blog was launched. It’s been exciting an journey building this business blog and growing SocialNicole Digital into a leading social media marketing agency that services individual influencers, small businesses and large brands. The SocialNicole business blog has been a catalyst to growing our agency. Our business blog is the cornerstone to our own business model for growth through our insightful and helpful posts and building an ever-increasing presence on Google search. We cannot emphasize enough the SEO value of a blog and how long-term consistent efforts can pay off.
Here are some helpful tips and advice for businesses looking to start a business blog as part of their content marketing and SEO:
1. Select a blog platform that can grow with your business
There are many free blog platforms out there, but not all blog platforms are created equal. Going for a free blog platform such as Blogger, WordPress.com or Tumblr comes with risks. On these platforms you are “stuck” with their templates with limited ability to edit. You are tied into their SEO specifications and your content and blog are not in your control. If the platform website goes down (CLICK HERE FOR AN EYE-OPENING ACCOUNT OF SUCH AN ORDEAL) you are out of luck until they get it going again. And what if the service goes away or a mistake is made and your content is lost? Well, they pretty much “own” your content, so you’re up a creek without a paddle.
My advice: Setup a WordPress.org blog on a private server. There are many options, and though you’ll have to pay for this, it will be worth it if you are serious about your business. WordPress is currently being used by approximately 33% of all websites in the world and what is great about it is that while it was originally a blog platform, it is now a powerful content management platform for all kinds of websites.
At SocialNicole, we develop and maintain WordPress websites and blogs for clients of all sizes and with all sorts of needs. This means your blog sits on a dedicated server optimized for WordPress, our tech team is available to solve problems ASAP without waiting on the phone for hours, we have secure backups offsite that ensure your content is safe and we have installed top level safety and privacy measures to help protect your blog from being hacked. You also own your website and all content, and because WordPress is open source it means you can move it to any hosting environment you want, meaning you are never “stuck” with one company or developer.
***A warning as you start shopping for a website development firm: If a development firm says it uses a proprietary platform but you own the content – what they are saying is “We are going to build you a custom website using a platform we own and while you own the content, it will have little value to you as you can’t move it without losing your entire website design.” In essence, you are stuck with that specific website development firm unless you rebuild the website from scratch. With a WordPress.org website the platform is available freely to everyone, so you own the content and can move the entire website at anytime.
Our preferred WordPress blog template company is StudioPress based on the Genesis framework (our customers have access to the templates for free) or we can build you a custom design based on the Genesis platform. StudioPress is a leading WordPress company that offers cutting edge technology and smart template designs for the budget-conscious business owner. We choose to use StudioPress because they are a premium company that has a reputation for building smart templates that will grow as your business grows. Contact us to discuss setting up a cutting edge, powerful StudioPress WordPress website/blog today.
2. Create an editorial calendar for your business blog
Determining how large or small your efforts will be depends on what type of editorial calendar you will create. There is no one size fits all. At SocialNicole, we customize editorial calendars to fit our clients’ needs. This calendar is what keeps you on target and on track. Many people will opt for something as simple as a Google Calendar for planning, but you can use custom templates that give you a broader view for planning. A simple search on Google for “blog editorial calendars” will give you plenty of options to get started.
3. Create a social marketing plan to help get the word out about your business blog
What does this mean? Simply put, map out all the social media channels you are currently using and make a plan on how to use them strategically. You want to make sure you have a social media marketing plan in place that is providing quality content that is useful to your audience, that is focused on building community and engagement and most importantly building relationships with your followers. You don’t want to simply “push out” your blog content and sales messages as that will do little to build a long-term community that will help grow your business. At SocialNicole Digital, we also focus heavily on using Facebook Ads to help build our customer’s audience and engage with them. While you can focus on organic social media and this will work with a lot of elbow grease, a carefully constructed and managed Facebook Ad plan can make all the difference in growing a community quickly and getting results.
Some things to consider when creating this plan:
- Who is your audience (be specific here)?
- Who are your “competitors”- friendly or not so friendly? This includes others doing what you are doing, writing about what you are writing about, etc. Determine what they are doing and how are they doing it (what works, what doesn’t) and test different approaches with your own audience.
- What social media channels does your audience hang out on? Where do you want to hang out to meet them?
- Is your blog set up to be social? Do you have email list opt-in’s, social connect buttons, commenting forms, etc?
- How many times a day/week/month will you post on different networks, what will your content be?
- How will you measure your efforts?
- What is your budget?
- Do you have the internal resources to run this on your own or do you need help?
4. Start considering SEO for your business blog NOW!
It’s better to do this earlier rather than later. Use an SEO WordPress plug-in such as Yoast SEO (this is our preferred). Learn how to search for Keyword Phrases on Google Keyword Tool, and then learn how to incorporate these keywords into your website. While business blogs are important to provide quality content to post on your social media channels and to provide expert status for potential customers, one of the most important parts of the blog is SEO. The more you optimize your business blog posts, the better chance you will have for your audience to grow, as people will be able to find you on Google. Business blogs are a cornerstone for any company that is actively looking to grow their SEO organically.
5. Consider hiring an editor for your business blog
Seriously, this is one tip that will make all the difference. Blogging is difficult. Writing, editing and posting can be daunting – let alone sharing and interacting with your followers. At SocialNicole Digital, we offer a full range of business blog management services. We can edit, publish, optimize, share and advertise your blog posts. The most successful clients have us doing most of the heavy lifting because it helps keep them on track and they don’t have to think about all the technical details needed to create and publish a successful business blog. Our customers simply write their blog posts and allow us to work the magic. It really makes a difference to have an experienced team working on your behalf.
Hopefully these were some helpful tips to assist you in beginning your very own business blogging journey! Take caution, though. This guide was not for the timid or those sitting on the sidelines debating whether or not they can commit. These are tips for people who want to leverage a business blog to build their brands and their businesses and increase their overall revenue.
SocialNicole has become a premier social media company with expert blog strategists, writers, editors and publishers. Our success has been in doing things right from start to finish. If you are ready to take the plunge on building your business with social media marketing and blogging contact us today.