The Benefits of a website blog

Many businesses today have discovered the value of a Blog as a way to offer information on what their business is doing. A blog can provide interesting news, free business information and free business tips on a variety of topics. You may wish to blog about what you offer, announce an upcoming event, report on a recent event, showcase a new product or service or let people know about any benefits or knowledge that can be gained by your niche business.

blog_imageA blog is an alternative to a loud and obvious advertising and marketing campaign, seen through the eyes of a discerning online audience.

A blog is something people find when they are looking for it, or are directed to it, which means your online audience actually want to know more about you!

If you look at it this way, you will see that when blogging, the value of the information you offer is greatly increased.

You can let people know about your blogs to boost your website audience, for example, a brief Facebook post stating that you've just blogged about an amazing new product will bring people to your blog page, and thus your website, to find out more.

A blog that runs through your website is also kept indefinitely, so you can keep referring people back to old posts that may be useful in an ongoing manner, such as instructions or explanations on a topic, or freebies like games or recipes.

A blog can be beneficial to business for many reasons, including:

You have the option to Blog to the public or exclusively to members only. A Blog can be for your whole website audience, or it can be only for members of your organisation. We can run a dual blog on your website which means you can decide which entries are provided to a group that must first log in to view them, and which are visible to the public. Managing control of your blog in our CMS (content management system) is very simple and straightforward, making your regular blogging experience an enjoyable one. An example of a recent dual blog we created was for www.christchurchrsa.og.nz. This organisation wanted to provide information to the public as well as information that was relevant only to members, which was achieved through a "member's login area".

Quick Q&A: What is a website members login area?

In our website CMS (content management system) we can create a members login area, an area where members of your group can access exclusive information such as a blog, forum, recent news feed, and perhaps your groups constitution and rules. Members would be able to post on the forum, and the forum itself can contain several different sections - for example: buy and sell, and events section, and perhaps a projects/examples or instructions section. We can tailor your website group forum to suit your organisation.

A blog can increase website search engine rankings. One of the ways that search engines connect your website to your audience through keywords so using your blog to write about your business, incorporating keywords relevant to you, is smart marketing.

Get people talking about you with a blog. If you are offering concise and relevant information to your audience, they will have a reason to tell others to visit your website to discover your expertise for themselves, thus increasing your online audience and potentially your customer base.

Encouraging interaction through blog conversations. Send out a welcome for people to contact you regarding your blogs. Ask them to send their project examples, questions, comments and issues so you can provide feedback and begin correspondence. Your correspondence may earn you respect as a knowledgable and helpful professional in your industry.

Use your blog to tell your story. People don't want to just hear your sales spiel. They want to know how you got to where you are. They want to know you are real by knowing your story. Use your blog as a platform to be real and honest, telling your story and proving the legitimacy of your status as an industry expert.

Inspire others through blogging. A website is a place that people often skim for information rather than reading in depth. A blog can be a place to summarise the different products and services that you offer, promoting them individually and with more information. A single topic outlined in a blog may inspire a potential customer to try that particular product or service and inspire them to take a new direction in their own business or personal project.

Have fun with your blog! Blogging can become addictive. Some businesses start off viewing a blog as a chore, but it can quickly become an opportunity to share what you are doing, further motivating businesses to put their boundaries. This may be with a new product, new project, sharing a recent event, or in response to correspondence with your website visitors and customers.

Get more attention and earn more respect for your business by making the most of a business blog on your website. Bring in a wider audience by writing about relevant topics to your industry, and it's even worth doing a bit of online research to find out what people are looking for and what solutions your products and services can provide to an online audience. The wording is most important so ensure you include lots of keywords that resonate with your business, but including images of what you do will greatly enhance your blog - keeping in mind that an online audience by nature, are skim readers so any imagery will generate further interest and keep them reading for longer.

If your blogs are genuine and provide a benefit to readers, you may earn the attention of the media - another great benefit of having your own business blog!

One more tip would be - ensure your blog posts do offer something of value, rather than being a sales spiel. Offering a "how to" or a bit of history on a product or service and how it came to be, is far more interesting than a simple "buy now because..!" I know of a company that includes recipes on their blog, which wisely enough, has their audience coming back again and again to see what's new. What can you offer your online audience to keep them coming back, and to tempt them into looking further into your business and industry expertise?

Quick Q&A: Should I use Facebook and Twitter and Blog?

I would compare these strains of social media thus - if Twitter is like a calling card, then Facebook is like a phone call, and Blogging is more like a conversation. It's not there to shout out a quick fire message, nor is it there to provide a blurb with accompanying image. A Blog is well intentioned and (hopefully) useful information.

You can use Twitter and Facebook to let people know about your latest blog topics. By adding a quick note to your other social media sites, you welcome an audience back to your blog page, and cleverly enough - to your website and the rest of your business information, product and services. Alternatively have a little faith in the quality of your blog posts, that through them your audience will find you.

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