Have you thought about starting a blog for your business? Here's why I still think that's a good idea to start a business blog and how to start a business blog.
When you post something on social media it has a very short shelf life. Once it's gone it's unlikely anyone will ever read it, share it or link to it again. It's essentially gone. However, with a blog you have a more permanent post that lives on in search engines and can bring you traffic for years. That traffic can continue to bring you new customers. Some of my most popular posts are from many years ago. Those old posts continue to send me new traffic.
Here's another reason. Leo knows the power of blogging because that's how he got his first 10,000 customers…
To me, one of the best benefits of blogging has been the opportunity to connect with and meet some amazing people who have helped me expand my network, reach, and ultimately, my business.
-Leo Widrich, co-founder of BufferApp
This blog has brought me clients for years. It made my career. In addition my blog has helped me sell books, get jobs, and build a solid reputation. It can help you build influence and trust with your target market. I started it as a single mom who wanted to be an online marketer. I had no experience and I didn't have a lot of money. I had a lot of passion and a need to share my ideas. At the core I'm a writer so it made sense for me to start writing. If you aren't a writer and you're comfortable on video, I would argue that it might be better to start a YouTube channel. But I think starting a blog is much easier.
I blog more for lead generation than for passive income, although it does make money directly. I no longer post on a regular schedule and I'm happy with where my business is in this aspect. If you want to make a full time living or income directly blogging, and make money working from home, I always recommend this ebook.
Blogging can open up so many doors for you and your business. I recommend that you start one.
Starting a blog can be a bit overwhelming in the beginning, especially if you're not very tech savvy. Don’t let that scare you though. Fortunately, there are some very simple shortcuts that can get you blogging in no time. It’s not as hard to start a business blog as you might think.
This post contains affiliate links…
Why Start A Business Blog?
- Keep up on the latest news in your industry – so you stay sharp
- Earn an income directly from your blog – from ads, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, etc.
- Create a community for something related to your business that you are passionate about
- As a fun hobby because you're interested in something and maybe you picture yourself turning it into a business at some point or you want a job in the field – it's a great move for a college student
- Keep up your skills – blogging is always evolving and there's so much to learn – you learn new skills simply by continuing to learn how to best promote yourself/business
- Get the word out about products or services you sell
- Document what you're learning, to share it with others and get feedback
- To expand your network and connect with people
- Expand your profit and influence
How to Start a Business Blog in 7 Simple Steps
1. Decide on a name for your blog and get a domain name
Some businesses simply add a blog to their existing website. There isn't a separate domain name. You can do either or both. You are stuck with your domain name so choose well. Once you have a name you need to purchase a domain name. I use GoDaddy and Google Domains for mine. Try to keep your domain name short and memorable. It can be your even your name. Seth Godin's blog is simply Seth's blog and it's at http://sethgodin.typepad.com My friend Jim owns a fuse company and he blogs about life, which makes people relate to and want to do business with him.
2. Get a blog host
Hosting plays a big role in how well your site runs. I started with a WordPress hosted blog. It got deleted. So I switched to Bluehost. They got crappy. Next I switched to Siteground and I've been really happy. However, I am switching to Rose Hosting soon because I got such a good lifetime price and I was exceeding my limits on Siteground. Plus, I wanted to switch to a VPS (virtual private server) rather than a shared hosting account. If I was doing it over again, I’d start on Siteground. They have plans that start at only $3.95 a month and they have excellent phone and email support. I love that they have a record of your tickets. My site has a 100% uptime rating for the entire year. are really good about answering questions that you run into along the way.
Most hosting companies will install a blog or have an easy installer to install WordPress. I've tried installing blog software on my own and it was way too hard so I always use my hosting company's installers. Sign up for a Siteground hosting account here.
3. Choose a WordPress theme or Design
The design of your blog is important. I didn't put a lot of money into mine at first and I've slowly put more in. Depending on your goals you might want to hire someone to create a professionally customized design. If you are on a budget or just want to do some of the work yourself, there are some very professional looking themes. I have used several but currently I use MyThemeShop. Their themes are easy to manage but still powerful. There is a yearly fee but I like that because in the past I chose a theme that wasn't updated. Paying each year means ongoing support and future of the theme. You can pay a designer to tweak it for you.
For tech tweaks, I use People Per Hour to find someone to get work done fast and cheap. I love that you can get several bids and chat with people before choosing who to hire. I want to make sure we have good communication before I hire someone. I've made the mistake of hiring people who I don't communicate well with and it cost me a lot of extra stress and time. Plus I had to hire someone else to migrate my blog to MyThemeShop.
4. Claim your social media accounts
Before you get started and have a domain name, check to be sure the social media profiles for your name are not taken. Claim the usernames you want so no one else takes them. Make sure that you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest with the same username if possible. Knowem is a service that will check to see if your username is available across over 100 social media sites.
5. Create a posting schedule
Decide on a posting schedule and follow it. Especially in the beginning while you're building a foundation for your blog. You need to be consistent though. It doesn't matter if you post every day, 3 times a week, once a week or even once a month, just stick to it so people know what to expect. Postsecret is a very popular blog and they post every Sunday. I know that I can go there to read a new post each week. I recommend posting at least 3 times a week especially in the beginning. I like to tell people to create a theme for each day of the week you want to post. So maybe every Monday is a case study. Wednesday is company news or how to. Friday is a roundup of industry news or spotlights.
6. Start writing
Starting is usually the hardest part of blogging. Even if you first write posts and schedule them to go live every day so you can work on it before you officially launch, it's important to start. Most of us didn't start out with the greatests posts. You learn and improve as you go. Once you have at least 10 posts, start promoting your blog. Add your blog to your email signature, let your customers or friends know about it, and ask for comments and shares.
7. Share your posts
You have to market your posts. Share them on social media. Ideally you start an email list to email everyone your newest posts. To me a blog is all about finding and building a community. It doesn't have to be huge, but it does need to be there. I'm better at building community on Facebook now because I post there more often, but I'm aware that my best posts should be repurposed for my blog so they can be found again and again.
Here's a sample sharing schedule
This is an intense schedule. Adapt it as needed but please start out writing some pillar content.
2. Promote your blog posts every day. You can share half your content and half related content from someone else. I know a blogger who posts 5-6 times a day on Facebook, again, part their content and part other people's content. You can share your own posts that perform well more than once. Post 5-10 times a day on Twitter. Share your posts and posts related to your niche on LinkedIn.
3. Use a scheduling tool like Buffer or Facebook's built in scheduling so you don't have to spend hours and hours every day. You may not be able to keep this up, so see what performs best and focus heavily on growing your audience there. What does best for you may surprise you.
You can also join Facebook groups for people in your niche. Facebook groups give me a ton of ideas – I just watch what people ask or post about. Even recommendations that other people make can be a foundation for a blog post – you can test out the recommendation. When I started my business blog I simply posted a summary of articles I was reading and linked to them. Later I added commentary. Then I started testing what I learned.
How to Find Inspiration for Your Blog Posts
If you find a great post or idea, you can always invite the person who posted it to write a guest post. You can share success stories or testimonials from your customers or colleagues. There are ideas everywhere. Just search Twitter or Facebook on some key phrases and see posts that are getting a lot of interaction. They can inspire your next post. For example, when I have time I want to write about how to market your business during Christmas. So I searched Facebook for “12 Days of Christmas” to see if there are any that do well. I notice what pages I follow are doing. Then I use that insight to write a post. Sometimes I reach out directly to the business to ask them if they'd share insights from their campaigns. Adapt this to your niche and interests. The internet is an open book of ideas that you can get inspired by. I've been inspired by many other posts about how to start a blog.
Follow people and other businesses in your niche and note what gets a strong response. If you're like me you get a huge rush from publishing something that you're passionate about and that's popular. Share your unique perspective or approach. Show your personality. Watch what works and ask your community (after you have one) for ideas. Survey your readers or industry. There is so much you can write about.
I really love this quote from Leo Widrich, co-founder of BufferApp:
For coming up with topics, I have one simple strategy when you start out: copy the hell out of others. If you are writing about cars, look which sites have the best posts about cars that get the most traffic and copy them. Of course I don’t mean to steal their content, but to copy the structure, see how they are writing posts, how they promote them and so forth.
Start a file right now with your ideas and notes.
It’s easy to get stuck in the details of starting a business blog. Don’t let that stop you from starting. You can tweak things as you go. You don't need to be perfect, you just need to get started.
If you start a new business blog after reading this post, please post the URL below. I'd love to see it!