Tag Archive | blogging for business

The 7 Hidden Benefits Of Blogging

We write a lot here on Write On Track about the business benefits of having your own blog. We firmly believe that blogging is a fantastic way to profile your expertise, increase traffic to your website, humanize your brand, and sell your products or service. It’s worked for us and it can work for you too.

But today, we want to take you on a little side track from our main business blogging route.  We want to share some of what we have learned about the hidden benefits of blogging – the side benefits that we may not write about often,  but which nevertheless have given our business an added boost. We hope that by sharing these with you, it will encourage you to see even more benefits in starting your own business blog.

1. Blogging has made us more disciplined and organized

In the words of writer PD James “Don’t just plan to write—write.”  Sitting at our computers and writing blog posts every day has given us a disciplined approach to writing and helped us to become more organized in our thoughts.  It is true that you learn best by doing. Trust us! The more you write, the easier it becomes!

2. Blogging has helped us develop our own unique writing style

Our writing styles have evolved over the years and blogging has helped us find our own unique voice.  Your writing voice is not something you create; it is something you find, and it can take time. We now know what works for us and how best to connect with our readers. We write about the topics we are most passionate about and leave others to cover those we aren’t quite so attuned to.  Here’s what writer Jeff Goins has to say about finding your voice:

The bottom line is that finding your voice is the key to getting dedicated followers and fans and that it’s the only sustainable way to write. If you’re not being yourself, you’ll eventually burn out. A writing voice on your blog will strengthen your brand and give you focus. Furthermore, it will create a lasting impression with your readers, allowing you to better fulfill the long-term goals of your website in a more sustainable way.

3. Blogging has taught us how to research and evaluate information

We all think we know how to search online, but when you blog, you really learn how to hone your research skills. We want to provide you with the most up do date accurate information and the latest relevant findings, and in order to do that, we need to know how to gather the information, evaluate our online sources, synthesize the information and bring that information to you in an easy to digest and usable format.

4. Blogging has made us more creative thinkers

Blogging makes us think – a lot! It has made our minds sharper and our thinking more lateral and creative. As an added benefit, blogging has been shown to increase memory function. We are able to juggle many different things at once and have become expert multitaskers. We are always alert to new ideas and solutions to our business challenges.  We definitely think more outside the box these days.

5. Blogging has brought us great networking opportunities

Through blogging we have become networked to a supportive community of like-minded people.  This network has given us great tips and advice, valuable feedback and even provided us with new business contacts and work.

6. Blogging has brought us personal fulfillment

We continue to blog because we love it. We wouldn’t keep doing it if we weren’t passionate bloggers.  It has brought us both great personal fulfillment as a means of self-expression and given us a sense of accomplishment and purpose in our lives.

7. Blogging has led us to unexpected places

You never know where blogging will lead you. When we both started out on our respective blogging journeys, we never imagined that our paths would cross in the blogosphere and bring us together to form a successful business partnership. Consider what Chris Brogan has to say on the opportunities blogging can bring to you:

Every time you post, you build an opportunity. It might be for making business. It might be for sharing thought leadership. It might be the chance to build some new relationships. Mechanically, it might just be another attempt to gain better organic ranking from Google. But each post is an opportunity.

So, there you have our 7 hidden benefits of blogging. We are, as you can tell, passionate about the benefits of blogging – not just for business, but for life. Give it a try and you too may be amazed at where the blogging journey may take you.

Why now is the best time ever for a small business

We would like to kick off this week with some encouragment for you if you are thinking of starting a small business, or you are already running one.

USA Today in its ask the expert section recently published an article outlining all the reasons why now is the “greatest time ever — and I mean ever in the entire course of human history — to start, own, run and grow a small business.”

Although the article, written by small business expert, Steve Strauss, is aimed at the US reader, he makes it clear that it is relevant to all of  those of us who are operating small businesses anywhere in the world.

Five different seminal events/factors/changes have combined to transform the landscape into one where small business grows ever more dominant, both here at home and abroad.

Steve outlines these changes as follows:

1. New markets

Facilitated by growth in the internet.

Never before in history have small businesses had the ability to work and sell globally, and so inexpensively. And the online, virtual marketplace is limitless.

2. Attitudes

The idea of owning your own business has become much more acceptable, indeed, desirable. Small business is on the march because, among other reasons, people now get that supporting small business is good business.

3. Technology

This may be the most important reason and change. The ways in which technology has fueled the small business revolution are almost too numerous to mention, but a short list would include:

  • Software to run your business
  • Email and texting for new, instant, global communication
  • Websites which allow us to look big and be global
  • E-commerce
  • Social media
  • Smartphones that allow us to work anywhere, anytime

And when you add that all of this technology has, in many cases, dramatically lowered the cost of entry, starting a business today can be incredibly affordable.

4. Help

There once was a time when small business people were on their own. No longer. Today, there is an abundance of help available and among the resources Steve mentions are websites (like ours) which teach small business skills

5. Tide of history

All of the above combined means that the wave of the future and tide of the present are all headed in one direction: Toward the ascendance and dominance of entrepreneurship and small business in the global marketplace.

Can we help you?

Would you like to talk to us about how we can help you leverage your business and participate in the growing area of social networking through business blogging?

Contact us for a free consultation.

Find It Friday – Ten Tips for Effective Blogging

I was recently asked for blogging tips by a photographer who had set up a wordpress.com blog separate to his website.  Although his photographs are incredible, his blogging could be much more effective to generate more traffic and increase conversions. As the tips could be used for almost any blogger, I thought I’d share them here with you.

Blogging Tips for Effective Blogging

Aims of Photography Blog

I started by asking why he was blogging, what was he trying to sell and what did he want to achieve, particularly as the blog wasn’t integrated into the website.

  1. To sell limited edition photograph prints
  2. To sell workshops and photography tour places
  3. To show his expertise – both as a photographer and as a teacher

Blogging Tips for Effective Blogging

  1. To use the Google keyword research tool to ensure the blog is well optimised.
  2. To use chosen keywords occasionally throughout the blog post but particularly in the first and last paragraphs.
  3. To use appropriate tags and categories.
  4. To name the photograph with a keyword (rather than it being named IMG87609y40.jpg
  5. To include a title, alt title and description in the upload process of the photograph
  6. To include a call to action to the relevant page on the website in order to increase traffic to the website and increase conversions. This is particularly important when the blog isn’t integrated into the website – readers need to know you have a website so they can visit it.
  7. Include at least one image on every blog post – to provide variety, visual interest and hook the reader.
  8. Don’t forget to change the standard phrasing in the top right of the free wordpress.com blogs, the standard text is usually something like ‘just another wordpress blog’.  Change it to a description of your blog and include at least one keyword. You can change it in the settings area of your dashboard.
  9. Create a popular topic that you can post about weekly – this means that some readers will check it out regularly (such as this Find It Friday post) and include tips that show your expertise. In the case of the photography blog, it could be ‘Tuesday’s Photography Tips’ and the topic could be an explanation on how to edit in Photoshop, use Instagram or tips on how to take particular photographs – remembering to include a call to action to a photography class or workshop. Foto Friday tends to be a popular slot on photography blogs.
  10. Don’t forget to create an ‘About Me’ page and include a photograph – this helps readers to engage with you when they can see your appearance.

Do get in touch if you would like us to analyse your blog and suggest improvements for more effective blogging, we can do that by meeting up with you or we can do so online.

10 Ways Blogging is Better for Business than Facebook

We love this infographic by Patricia Redsicker on Social Media Today

Key Take-Away!

If you’re not blogging, you’re missing out on some important business benefits! In addition trying to build your own brand on someone else’s territory is always risky.

The Importance of Blogging for Business in 2012

Last Tuesday’s tweetup with the #intdesignerchat was well worth following for so many reasons as many interior designers were tweeting on the topic of blogging – focusing on the importance of blogging for business in 2012.

The transcript of the use of the hashtag is here and it shows that 163 people contributed as well as lots of other interesting information which demonstrates the success of using a hashtag to publicise an event and build a community.

Here’s some of the responses to the questions posed by the organisers – all of them focusing on business blogging.

Q1 What are the benefits of having a business blog?

  • My blog lets me communicate with my customers
  • Having a place to direct people to see your work
  • People can get to know me through my blog
  • Potential clients can ‘suss’ me out before they call me
  • Can go into greater detail of my expertise than on a website
  • I can stay connected to clients through my blog
  • My blog is like my shop window with fresh displays everytime I post
  • It’s a great way to work through ideas as you research
  • My blog helps to establish my credibility
  • It’s a great place to host my portfolio
  • I can show my expertise on my blog
  • I can connect with like minded designers and potential clients
  • A blog is a great way to foster relationships
  • Your blog tells who you really are
  • A blog can build trust
  • Blogging has opened doors that wouldn’t have otherwise.
  • Allows engagement. Casual and friendly.
  • SEO benefits – drives more traffic to my website
  • Blogs offer up-to-date content. Magazines can be dated by the time they are published
  • People buy from those they like. Blogging introduces you to them
  • Your blog is the core of your online presence
  • A blog forces you to keep current and up to date

Q2 What are some of the basics of good blogging (that some people may forget or neglect) and that will help to grow business?

  • A good blog is one that has a clear vision and is authentic
  • Remember you are blogging to your clients not your peers
  • Get the focus right for every post
  • If you have nothing to say, don’t post for the sake of posting
  • Always respond to comments
  • Blog consistently and at least once a week
  • Always give credit if using other people’s photos
  • Be Yourself – do not write in a voice that is not authentic
  • Remember to proofread
  • Blogging is for clients, twitter is where you talk to your peers
  • Have a strategy planned to deal with negative comments

Q3 Do you have any tips on how to get more attention for your blog?

  • Tweet links to your posts
  • Share your blog on directories and sharing sites such as Stumbleupon
  • Use youtube too
  • Put highly searched keywords into the tags
  • Be topical
  • Be slightly controversial
  • Offer sneak peaks
  • Offer giveaways and contests
  • Be original
  • Be different to your competition
  • Schedule your tweet links to your posts

These are some of the advantages of business blogging as well as including lots of tips as shared by many interior designers who are blogging. If you would like to join in the next #intdesignerchat, they take place on Tuesday nights at 11pmGMT.  If you feel you would like some more help with your business blog, do get in touch with Marie and I and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or prepare a quote for you.

As a matter of interest, what is the best tip, in your opinion?  I think the best one is to write for your customers/clients, not for your peers. Write for those that will be buying from you, not for those in your industry.

How to drive more traffic to your website /blog

Do you use the keyword analysis tool before you write your blog posts? If not, you could be missing out on using keywords that your target audience are using to search for your type of business.

This tool is provided by Google and can also be used to gauge the effectiveness of keywords for using the google adwords service, however, I tend to use it for web copy and blog posts.  Using targetted keywords means that your blog or website will feature much better in the search results.

How do you use it? It is best to use your gmail account to sign in as it then suggests more keywords for you.

1. Type in a couple of single keywords or phrases pertaining to the service or the product you wish to focus on within your blog post.

2. Click on the relevant category.

3. Decide on the country that you wish to target by clicking on Advanced Options and Filters, click on the relevant country.

4. Click ‘search’.

5. Scroll down to see how the keyphrases you typed in are performing.  You will see the number of searches per month globally and within your chosen country.  You will also see whether the competition for your keyphrase is low, medium or high.  Underneath you will see a list of keyword ideas pertaining to your search along with indications of the numbers of searches for each one.

6.  It might sound like a bit of an oxymoron but ideally you want keywords that have low competition but high search numbers.

I hope you have found this useful. If you have any questions, do leave them in the comment box below, Lorna 🙂

Six Advantages of Business Blogging

Are you thinking of setting up a blog for your business? Wondering if it is going to be worth the time and effort?  Most businesses have a website now or if they don’t, they are thinking of setting one up. It might be on the long finger but it is there on the ‘to do’ list.  However, no matter how well a website is optimised, if it doesn’t  have fresh content regularly it isn’t going to perform as well in the search engines as you would like. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a blog integrated into your website from the start.

Why is a business blog a good idea?

1. Good Customer Service: Think of your blog as your friendly doorman.  If you’ve ever been to Harrods, those men in smart uniforms will have opened the door for you, nodded a greeting, and answered any queries you have.  If you have a bricks and mortar shop, you will have staff there ready to answer any queries in a friendly manner. Your blog has the scope to communicate the message that your company is knowledgeable,  friendly and approachable .

2.  Search Engine Optimisation: By using the google keyword research tool, you will know the value of the keywords you are using and if they are ‘highly searched’ keywords.

3. Showcase:  You will be able to showcase your products and services with images and/or videos.  Just as a bricks and mortar shop will change its shop and window displays, your blog is the perfect vehicle to showcase your stock and your services.

4. Benefits for the customer: By focusing on the customer and the benefits that your products or services can bring them rather than just promoting your products will ensure the customer is placed centre stage and will enjoy the ideas and the attention.

5. Expertise: You are establishing yourself as an expert in your field by writing knowledgeable posts on particular topics and services in your field.

6.  Communication: A website tends to offer one way communication. People come, read and make a decision. If they wish to get in touch, they will either email or telephone. Your blog offers much more scope for two way communication via the commenting facility.

Your blog  should be the core of any social media strategy, use it well with  other social media platforms to help your business grow.  If you require blog coaching or any other asssistance, do get in contact with Marie or myself.  Lorna

National Women’s Enterprise Day conference

I’m giving a short presentation at the National Women’s Enterprise Day Conference in Portlaoise on 16th November.  The conference is ideal for offering support to those either already in business or thinking of starting out, with lots of useful workshops and presentations as well as the chance to network with other women nationally.

My talk is entitled ‘Using Blogs to Promote your Business’.  Most of the afternoon on 16th is devoted to the various social media platforms. Damien Mulley kicks it off with a talk entitled ‘Using the Force of the Web to Develop your Business’, followed by Emer McCormack  of Just Eat ‘the story of us …. bringing offline online’.  I’m in the hot seat next, followed by Karen O’Sullivan of the Talbot Hotel in Carlow on ‘Using Facebook to interact with your customer’ and last but not least is Tara Wilson-Black of Irish Women in Business with a talk entitled ‘Networking Online’.

There is a panel discussion then for the final half hour so if you have any burning questions, you can ask them there.  If you haven’t booked your ticket as yet, you can do so here.  Are you going? Do leave a comment if you are and if I haven’t met you before, I look forward to putting a face to the name.

Lorna 🙂