Running a small business is no easy feat. The business landscape is competitive, ever-evolving, and every business owner should know the best tools to use to get a significant advantage over their competitors.
Nowadays, small businesses need to take into account that digital marketing is an essential part of their campaigns. In a world where everyone fights for traffic, conversion, and increasing brand awareness, entrepreneurs must be innovative and open-minded with all the possible digital solutions that benefit their companies — one of the most important solutions: blogging.
Recommended reading: Blog Writing Tips for Small Businesses & How to Start a Company Blog
The Benefits of Blogging for Small Business
1. Boost Your Site’s SEO
Search engine optimization or SEO is a strategy used by business owners and marketers to get their sites rank high in search engines. When a person searches the internet using a keyword, the search engine brings back a list of results that’s relevant to the search.
Blogging allows you to use keywords in your content so that search engines crawl and index your site, and hopefully get it towards the top of the search results.
According to Hostgator, blogging helps SEO in a way that blogs have a lot of ranking factors that can move your site up in search results. For instance, regular and consistent blogging makes the search engines believe that your website is a trustworthy and reputable source of information. The more you blog, the more content that search engines can index based on their algorithms. By doing this, your site remains on the search engine’s radar most of the time.
Along with this note, it is important to remember that businesses with blogs capture 60% of the customers than those who don’t. Blogging and SEO benefits prove to be the primary reason why your business needs a blog.
2. Give Value to Customers
Think of your blog as your business’s online portfolio. Companies need to anchor themselves in past successes because having something to show to potential clients what your company is, is imperative in achieving success. For instance, if you’re running a small business that needs lots of photos to show to clients, such as in the home improvement, beauty, and graphic design industries, your blog can easily showcase the value that you intend to offer to customers.
Also, blogging allows you to provide customers with free information regarding your business or industry and while showing them how your business can help without being too salesy. It is essential to understand that while you can pitch your business all you want in your blog posts, your audience can be quick to get discouraged when you make everything about “you.” If you want to learn how to blog effectively for your business, then you make your content “about them” and let your audience connect the dots between their problems to the solutions that you offer.
Blogging is a fantastic way to offer value to your customers by educating them first and selling second. Take a look at Etsy, for example. Etsy is an online marketplace for handcrafted goods. They have a blogging platform called the Etsy Journal where content isn’t intended to sell, but to inform and educate. The more the audience is informed and educated, the more they are likely to gravitate to the platform and make a purchase because it’s where their needs are met.
3. Establish Trust in Your Brand
If you want to improve your business, people have to trust you. A business card or even landing page hardly does the job. You need a more robust avenue that allows you to showcase your business value, and nothing does it better than having a great blog for your small business. Establishing trust in your brand is one of the most significant benefits of blogging for small businesses.
Building trust in your brand starts with building customer relationships. To do so, you need to show people the human side of your company. Your blog allows you to develop a personality so that your audience knows that you’re more than just a business. You want them to know that you’re there to help and inspire. With that, you’ll be able to build trust with your audience.
According to Neil Patel, customers don’t purchase from companies; instead, they buy from you. He also advocates the Trust Pyramid, where he shows that trust builds up from awareness, understanding, belief, and then action. This pyramid is a process, and once you’ve mastered it, you’ll capture your audience’s trust.
4. Improve Conversion
If you want to maximize the benefits of blogging for your business, then you need to show your intention with your content. You are blogging with a purpose, whether it is to get people to sign up for your newsletter, share your posts on social media, increase the likes on your posts, or even get them to purchase afterward.
The great thing about blogging is that you can do all these, and more! An excellent blog empowers your audience to do what you want them to do. You are converting them from visitors into subscribers and, most importantly, customers.
According to SEOtribunal, 57% of marketers report they get customers via blogging, and small businesses that blog have 123% more lead growth than those who don’t. If you’re wondering why even the huge Fortune 500 companies blog consistently, it’s because blogging works for them, and there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work for small businesses as well.
5. It’s an Excellent Avenue for Sharing
Another one of the top benefits of blogging is that blogs offer excellent ways to share, which increases exposure and awareness of your brand. You can share your blog on social media where you can tap into the power of your existing network for virality. You can post great images, teasers, and headlines of your content, which encourages more traffic to your site. When it comes to SEO, with more traffic you have, the more conversions you’ll make, and the better it is for your business!
Apart from social media, blogs are also a great material to share over email. Having a useful and relevant blog can be a starting point to capture people in your email list to subscribe to your blog. Once you get them to sign up, you’ll have a handy number of audiences who’ll receive your blog links regularly. Consider this a healthy way to increase your marketing touchpoints.
SEO and Blogging Tips for Small Business
Search engine optimization is an essential factor when creating blog posts. Optimization allows your blog posts to achieve maximum visibility and traffic, which improves the likelihood of conversion. Without SEO, your blog posts would seem like private entries on a journal – they’re there, but people won’t get to read it.
Whether you’re making your own blog content for your small business or hiring a professional to do it for you, SEO is one thing you can’t afford to skip. Remember, search engines like Google update their algorithm from time to time, and your blogging practices must be relevant and appropriate so that your content goes high in the search results.
Here are the top blogging tips for small business and the best practices to ensure every blog post is search engine-friendly.
1. Pick the Best and Right Keywords
One of the things that drive SEO is the keyword. Using the right keywords allows your blog to rank in searches. Keywords on your blog tell Google what your articles are about. If you use the right phrases users are searching for and engaging with, Google will think of your blog as a relevant source of information on those topics.
Now, you can’t just pick a keyword, write a blog, and then expect things to roll around. You need to research your keywords strategically to ensure your blog gets the most exposure. One of the most important tips for effective blogging is researching and applying the right keywords on your blogs.
- Don’t use highly competitive keywords. Since they’re competitive, you can expect that a lot of people are already using the same keywords and ranking highly for them. It can be tough to beat the competition. Instead, pick low to mid-volume keywords because they have less competition, giving you some leeway to make those keywords rank. You can use a couple of tools for keyword research, such as Google Trends, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer Wordtracker Scout, Moz Keyword Explorer, and Google Search Console.
- Use long-tail keywords. People entering long-tail keywords in their searches are typically looking for specific answers to questions, and are more likely to convert than people who use broad keywords. In that sense, using long-tail keywords make your blog more targeted and can attract the right type of audience.
2. Put the Keywords at the Right Places
Now that you’ve rounded up the best keywords to use, it’s time to further optimize your blog by placing these keywords in the right places. Make sure your blog has the keywords in the following areas:
- Headline or title tag – use the keywords within the first 60 characters of the title tag.
- Body and subtitles – integrate keywords as naturally and seamlessly as possible. Don’t overstuff your blog with keywords, or you may get penalized by Google.
- URL – your blog’s URL should also bear the keywords.
- Meta description – write a short yet engaging short description of your blog post, and it should contain the keywords as well.
3. Focus on Quality
It’s easy to get trapped into the idea that you’re writing for Google. After all, you want to make the most of the benefits of a company blog by establishing your online presence. You strive to use the right keywords, reach the target word count, and optimized the title, meta title, and subheaders to perfection. Google might like your blogs, but you’re missing one crucial thing: you fail to write for the audience. The quality of your content shouldn’t be targeted to appeal to just the search engines. It should, first and foremost, appeal to humans.
You need to achieve and maintain the highest possible quality your content can get. Some of the most important things to remember when crafting your content are:
- Write within the acceptable word count range – there are no hard and fast rules as to how short or long a content should get. However, you want to provide enough information to satisfy the needs of the readers. Consider writing at least 500 words for a blog, and you could go as long as 2500 words. If you’re writing longer blogs, break up the content into subtopics to make it comprehensive, but not boring.
- Be original – one thing about originality: search engines don’t like them, and you can get penalized posting duplicate content. However, there’s another reason why you wouldn’t want to copy someone else’s content – it wouldn’t look great on your brand. Original, high-quality blog posts reflect well on your brand and would make your business seem more reliable and trustworthy.
- Mind the details – things like proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar are essential in creating a blog that wins. You might not think of these having a direct impact on SEO, but if a blog is poor quality, then it would be impossible to capture the trust and interest of the audience.
4. Optimize the Images
Blogging is not limited to plain text. The more dynamic content is, the more appealing it is to the audience. One of the key benefits of blogging for your business is that you can also use images to optimize your posts further.
Images are critical drivers to your blog, but apart from posting appropriate and high-quality images to support your blog, you need to optimize these images as well.
Search engines cannot read and crawl images. Instead, they read alt text images. Optimizing alt text images allow engines to understand what these photos do, allowing for better ranking when people search for images in Google. Alt text images also improve the look and feel of your blogs, thus giving the audience a better user experience.
Here are the top blogging tips for small business when it comes to optimizing images:
- Use the correct file name – even before uploading images to your blogs, the file name of the photos should contain the keywords you want them to rank for. The file name should be something that people use to search for, and at the same time, should make sense to the search engines. Remember to use dashes in between words.
- Mind the image size – don’t use extra-large images for your blog as they can slow down the site’s loading process. Instead, optimize the size, ideally around 200 x 200 pixels, as this is the best size social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter pick up.
- Use ALT TEXT – not only does ALT TEXT tell search engines that the blog contains an image, but it also allows you to provide the image with the appropriate description. In most cases, you should be able to add ALT TEXT via the blog’s media uploader.
5. Internal and External Linking
Linking is an essential practice in blogging for many reasons. First, inbound links describe the relevance of your content to search engines while outbound links send trackable traffic and make your site appear as a trustworthy and credible source of information.
Internal links are links to pages on the same website while external links connect to pages outside of your website. To get the most out of internal and external linking, it is best to apply the following practices:
- Make lots of content – you need numerous pages to create a winning linking strategy. This helps to distribute traffic to different parts of your website.
Use anchor texts – according to Neil Patel, you don’t have to overthink the words to use in internal linking. Instead, anchor texts that fit as naturally as possible in, whether these are texts, phrases, or sentences.
- Link to relevant pages – you need to link to pages that are relevant to your content. Don’t link just for the sake of it. Your links should make sense to the message that you’re trying to convey, and they should be helpful and relevant to your readers.
- Only add the necessary links – don’t let the idea of linking overwhelm you, especially in the case of outbound links. Only add links when it is needed, and only link to sites that offer authoritative and in-depth information on the topic. Over linking could make Google think that you’re selling links, which could be harmful to you.
- Choose outbounds links carefully – you have to avoid linking to spam sites, homepages, and pages with thin content. Instead, link to websites that are considered an authority on the niche or topic so that both Google and your readers see that you’re offering valuable and credible information.
6. Consider Your Mobile Users
Nowadays, people consume information on the go and would use their mobile phones to read blogs instead of opening the laptop or powering up their computers. With that said, you must make your blog mobile-friendly by adopting a responsive web design.
Mobile-friendliness is essential for different reasons. For one, Google displays search results that are mobile-friendly first. Even if you have valuable content to offer, if it doesn’t make it to the top list of the SERPs, you’d still miss out on a lot of opportunities.
Second, mobile-friendliness allows your blog to capture more traffic. You’ll have a lot to lose if your blogs aren’t designed to provide an excellent user experience on mobile phones. With responsive web designs, you’ll have the same URL for your blogs, whether people access it over their mobile phones or the computer, so every access to your blog over the phone would certainly help it rank well.
The benefits of blogging for your small business are manifold. Blogging remains to be one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your brand, and it should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. It is vital to apply the best blog writing tips for small businesses and SEO practices, so you can capture more traffic, grow your leads, strengthen your brand’s image, reputation, and drive more sales.