When your website means business.

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I continue to be amazed at how many business owners are perfectly happy with static brochure websites. Well, maybe not exactly happy with them, because they’ve certainly noticed their website is not a source of revenue. But they’ve decided they can’t expect much from the Internet and their brochure website will do. Unfortunately, static websites give back very little in return for whatever time or money was spent to create and launch them. They’re like a car with nothing under the hood: OK if you want the neighbors to think you have a car. Not much good for taking you somewhere.

Blogging is the answer for businesses interested in attracting business online, but it’s a new idea to many business owners, and they have reservations which are not entirely without merit. There are three issues most business owners struggle with relative to blogging: time, talent (writing ability), and reluctance to fall for the “next big thing,” only to be disappointed once again.

Time

Uncertainty about the time required to support a blog continues to be the number-one concern of people considering blogging for business. It’s a legitimate concern, but there are ways of managing the issue. First, blogging is not like publishing a newspaper: it doesn’t have a carved-in-stone publishing schedule. While it requires a commitment to do it, you have the flexibility to back off when necessary.

That said, the benefits of blogging (primarily search engine traffic and customer engagement) are greater if you post 3-4 times per week than once a week or once a month (at which point you’re not getting much benefit because you have an essentially static blog). A commitment to use a certain amount of time per week for blogging is important. It’s also important to understand that blogging is a foundation for attracting search results, and it’s a far more effective means of doing so than any of the techniques commonly prescribed by SEO firms at a cost of several hundred dollars per month. That makes it a valuable activity, and understanding that is a basis for making it a priority.

See a related post from a couple of weeks ago about how to find time for blogging.

Talent

Writing talent is not as important as you might think. Blog posts are not essays for your high school English teacher. Your main goal in crafting each post is to share some of your knowledge which will solve a problem for people in your market. It doesn’t have to be a big problem: it can be a pretty minor annoyance. As long as you focus on your customers and their problems, any awkwardness or “irregularities” in your writing will likely be perceived as endearing personality quirks. Yes, you should spell-check your work, and maybe have someone read it to make sure the points you intend to make are clear. Beyond that, don’t worry about it.

We’re not falling for this one

Your mama didn’t raise no fool. You’ve seen internet fads come and go, and you’ve even jumped on one or two bandwagons, just before they ran into the ditch. We understand that kind of reluctance. But let’s look at how people’s online behavior has shifted. First, virtually everyone considering any kind of “significant” purchase, from pipe tobacco to an automobile (with an engine under the hood), goes to Google to figure out what their options are. Second, Google’s algorithms favor frequently updated, focused content. Third, people search online even when they intend to buy locally. You can take advantage of these trends by blogging, attracting your share of search traffic when people search for goods and services you provide. It’s really that simple.

Let’s do this like we mean it

The point is, if you’re going to use the web as part of your marketing strategy (and it’s hard to think why you wouldn’t, now that Google is the first place more than three-quarters of people in the US look before they make a planned purchase), then use it in a way that is productive. Blogging is a proven, cost-effective means of attracting customers to your business. Blogging takes time (probably less than you imagine), but you get something in exchange (more business). And cost-wise, there is no better bargain in business marketing. Once you’re in the swing and blogging becomes a habit (and you start realizing additional business), you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.

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