As you’ve probably gathered, I love a good blog – both reading them and writing them (I do hope mine are considered this way). Learning new things and sharing what I know with others is just second nature to me and I’m far keener on reading than on watching something, so blogs are the perfect vehicle for me.
You’ve probably already heard advice about blogging and perhaps even considered it, but this isn’t often shared with much other information. So, are there any real benefits to writing a blog and what are they?
Here are my top 3 reasons why blogging should be part of your business strategy:
1. BLOGGING SHOWCASES YOUR EXPERTISE
Your website is a great place to share your knowledge and writing a blog allows you to categorise and share that information as a resource for clients to read at their leisure.
By giving your readers an understanding of what you know, it will help build your reputation as the go-to person for that topic. It means that you can also share your opinion on topics and lead potential clients to a solution that will benefit their specific requirements.
As you write more blog posts you will also build a library of content that you can share to social media again and again. This is called evergreen content and saves you a huge amount of time. Instead of constantly creating new content you can simply recycle and re-post an existing blog post on your social channels.
Which leads to the second reason to blog…
2. GIVES SOCIAL MEDIA A PURPOSE
So often I see small businesses spending all of their time sharing amazing content on social media with no clear link back to what they sell. All those likes are really wonderful but not only do you NOT own the platform so cannot control what happens to your social channels, you will also struggle to re-use that content again further down the line.
The purpose of social media is to share information and drive customers back to your website where they can engage with your content and then buy from you. Blogs are an efficient way of doing this (especially if your blog post then contains a call to action to make it easy to buy directly from the post).
Don’t fall into the trap of just posting on social for the sake of it – give people something to read and make sure that it’s on your website…
3. IT HELPS IMPROVE WEBSITE seo
SEO (search engine optimisation) is a way of driving traffic to your website organically. The more relevant content and keywords you have on your website, the better your website will rank on search engines such as Google and the higher you will be placed in the results.
Writing informative and educational blog posts that people read and engage with are a great way of ensuring that your site is always a place that people will return to learn more. The huge benefit of blog posts is that you can write them with this in mind and each and every one can be optimised to encourage more traffic.
Awesome isn’t it?!
Writing a blog has so many benefits for your business, but the top three of these are definitely the demonstration of your expertise, giving your social media posts a purpose and call to action and improving your website SEO.
So, what’s stopping you from writing a blog?
If you’re not sure where to start, then why not join us in the Web Goddess Academy where we look at the WHAT and HOW parts of blogging as well as the WHY.
Is it just me, or are you also sick of the way that businesses try and sell to you based on fear and lack rather than focusing on ethics and value?
It has definitely been something I have rallied against since I became self-employed way back in 2003, raising a middle finger to the corporate ickiness I hated being a part of.
Still wondering what I mean? Here are some just some examples that I have come across:
Let me be your Mentor
Being offered a place on an ‘exclusive’ mentorship programme, only to find out that it’s actually a sales funnel for a network marketing gig and they expect you to sign up with them first!
I’ve got the Answer
Seeing an offer for a super-secret solution to something you know isn’t super secret and anyone can learn, or knowing there are different options which are all just as valid.
Connecting with someone via social media and then finding out you’ve been added to their email list without giving express permission.
Once in a Lifetime…
The offer that is advertised as a one time only deal, selling to us through the fear of missing out and only to be repeated again next week, next month or next year.
How do these make you feel? I know they really piss me off!
“Psychological tactics are designed to create false demand by feeding the fear that there will not be enough. This fear has us trapped in a cycle of consumption that is uninspired, unethical, and supremely harmful to the planet and its inhabitants.” – the ethical move
So, when I started Web Goddess in 2014, I knew that I needed to build my business around my authenticity and ethics and only sell in a way that I felt comfortable selling.
And that’s when I found the ethical move – an organisation devoted to changing the way we sell. Their original idea was to ask people to pledge that they would stop charging ‘charm prices’ – you know, the £297 price tags when we all know it’s basically £300! And because that kind of thing really pisses me off, I pledged my support!
Now, the ethical move have increased their pledges against the outdated sales and marketing tactics we are bombarded with every day including countdowns that have no meaning, false scarcity (FOMO) and bait and switch techniques – and I am thrilled to re-pledge my support.
“Together, we are making the ethical move to create a new marketing standard based on transparency, trust, and honesty.” – the ethical move
So why is this important for your business?
Well for me, authenticity is EVERYTHING when it comes to creating business relationships with people – and if you start on the wrong foot then it’s pretty difficult to undo that initial mis-step!
Clients remember how you make them feel – and if you make them feel used, tricked or scammed then they are not sticking around for very long.
The alternative to following these ‘tried and tested’ sales and marketing techniques is to create a new, HONEST way of doing business – and I’m all for that. Putting people first and selling with integrity is in alignment with who I am – and I hope it resonates with you too.
I’ll leave you with these final words from the ethical move team:
“Small businesses are the largest growing sector of our global economy; how we operate will inform policy. There are a lot of us, we are courageous and adaptable — which makes us uniquely qualified to change the status quo.” – the ethical move
Running a small business (or any business for that matter) can require costly investment in everything from premises to products – not to mention the costs of being online and running a website. But, there are TONNES of awesome free resources out there to help you get the message out to potential customers and keep existing customers happy. Here is my list of 7 Awesome Free Tools that you can use NOW:
#1 Google My Business
Even if you don’t have a physical location that customers can visit, registering for Google My Business is a must. As you keep your listing updated your online ranking will improve and your clients can add Google Reviews straight to your profile. This helps you appear in map searches too.
Facebook is still alive and kicking and is a great place to build a community for your business – as long as you post and interact consistently. Try giving 80% information and only promote products or services 20% of the time so your customers aren’t constantly bombarded with icky sales messages!
I recommend upgrading from a personal account to a business one (it’s still free) if you are using Instagram for business. You can use your Insta feed to update your Facebook page as well as your website so your images are always online in multiple places.
#4 Email Marketing
Social media is amazing, but you have no control over your online reach or when the platform algorithms change. So, having an email newsletter is still one of the best ways of getting news out to your clients. I use MailerLite now and can track insights for all of my email campaigns. It’s important to set a schedule and figure out your reason & vision before sending emails but it can be a wonderful way of connecting for free.
Don’t have your own website yet? No problem (although I would recommend that you have one). You can’t use that as an excuse not to start writing & sharing it online NOW. Sign up for a free account with a Blogging site such as Medium or Blogger and start writing. You can always move and update your posts later when you have a website!
#6 Google Search Console
This option is only available if you already have your own domain and website, but being able to track your visits and search queries is a great way of understanding your online reach. You can sign up to Google Search Console for free and improve your online ranking.
This online graphic design platform is my favourite tool of all! You can sign up for free to create any type of graphic you can think of – from social media to posters to ebooks – Canva lets you do it all. And, if you need a little more (like extra stock images, premium fonts or a brand kit) then you can upgrade to Canva Pro at any time. I create all of my graphics (including the infographic for this post) using Canva and use them for my website, social media, business cards and even presentations.
With all of these tools, all that remains to be done is to learn how to use them! Set aside some time and choose ONE to work on first. Give it some time and energy (and have a PLAN) and see how you can improve your online reach without spending a penny. And, if you need help, pop along to one of my Digital Workshops to help you get started!Note: this post contains an affiliate link to Canva Pro and I may receive a commission if you sign up through the link. However, as with everything I recommend, I do so because I use it and bloody love it!
It is so easy to get caught up in branding and sleek design when creating a website – and a business for that matter – but without the right content on your site it really won’t matter how professional it looks. That’s not to say that bad design is OK either, because the way it looks will catch the attention of potential customers. However, if they are going to stay on your site, there really has to be something of value to keep them interested and convince them that you are the person or company they want to work with. And only content can do that.
SEARCH ENGINES LOVES CONTENT
Or to be more precise, search engines love relevant and freshly updated content. Did you know that according to a Netcraft January 2018 Web Server Survey there are over 1.8 billion websites online? But of these, only a very small proportion are actually active or updated regularly. The easiest way of keeping your own site active is to write a blog and add posts regularly. Each new post becomes a new gateway to your website and gives search engines relevant topics and text to crawl. This will ultimately help your site rank higher in searches and give you a platform to show your expertise in the area you are trying to get business in. And if you have a clear idea of your target audience then this task becomes infinitely simpler to achieve, but if you still struggle for ideas on what to post, check out my list of 50 Awesome Blog Ideas – see you can even blog about blogging!
OVERSHARING IS GOOD
Some marketing gurus will insist that hiding details from visitors and only offering them answers once they click and sign up to your email list is the way to go. However, if you’ve got an overflowing inbox and little time to read through five emails a day telling you why you need to buy from someone, then employing this tactic won’t win you any new clients. I’m all for oversharing on my website and giving as many details about my services as possible – including prices. Why? Because if people see how much I charge upfront, they can make a decision there and then if they think my services are worth it to them. And sharing ‘secrets’ about web design via my blog may empower some readers to build their websites themselves but they are not my ideal clients anyway and I am thrilled that they want to learn a new skill and go it alone.
GRAPHICS AND VIDEO
Content isn’t just words – your images and videos are content too. So branding and keeping your visual content relevant is also important. It also helps break up long pieces of text so that readers don’t feel overwhelmed with long blog posts or pages on your website. I’m a big fan of Canva and use it to create all of my images (including the one below) but whatever image software you use, try to make the images your own and steer clear of stock images wherever possible.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA
All that content you create in the form of blog posts and tips about your own industry can and should be shared via social media. You are creating a library of specialist information when you write a blog and sharing it with as wide an audience as possible is what social media is there for. So, share that post you’ve just written across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and get your message out there. Oh, and don’t forget to share blog posts more than once. Not everyone will see your post the first time and if the content is evergreen there is nothing stopping you sharing it time and time again across your social media channels. So, what are you going to do to make your content stand out and keep your website active?
Oh, and this isn’t a guide to which blogging platform to use. There are so many of them out there – from WordPress to eBlogger to Medium or even one that’s included with your template website. Here’s a great list of the Top 10 platforms for 2018 if you need help choosing. Once you’re all set up on the tech side, then read the practical soft-skills guide below to getting over that initial paralysis and putting your words out there into the digi-verse!
Step 1 – Decide You Can
I’m not being flippant here – this is simply a reminder that you can do this! Take a deep breath and remember that you have just as much right to share your opinion as anyone else. In fact, you may just be the voice that the world is waiting for. Unless you start, you’ll never know! Once you’ve overcome this initial obstacle the rest of the process actually becomes much easier.
Step 2 – Write Everything Down
I take a notebook with me everywhere I go and jot down interesting thoughts, conversations and questions all the time. You could use your phone or tablet too if you prefer. You’ll be surprised just how many thoughts you have during the day that can be transformed into blog posts with very little work. Inspiration usually hits when you’re not at your desk so don’t sit there waiting for it.
Step 3 – Start Writing
Make time to write a blog post based on your notes. Start with one post and build from there.
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go” – E.L. Doctorow
Don’t concern yourself too much with how many words you’ve written as it can put you off if you think you’ve got too few. Those articles telling you that the ‘ideal’ blog post contains 1,200 words are not helpful here. Any length is better than none and sometimes a quick short post can say it all. Like this post by my friend Liz Abram. It’s under 200 words but wonderfully written and gained good traction for her on social media.
Step 4 – Create Structure
Every blog post needs editing. Writing everything in one long paragraph isn’t going to inspire readers to stick around. Think of breaking your post down into sections using sub-headings (like I’m doing here). Short digestible chunks are what you’re aiming for. Use the built-in Heading styles in your builder to differentiate between levels and use bullet points or numbering if appropriate.
Step 5 – Add Links
Linking to other posts you’ve written and to external websites helps boost the SEO performance of your blog post. It also helps show your readers that you have researched your topic and can point them in the right direction if you’re not covering something they should also know. At least one internal link (your site) and one external link (another site) is a good start.
Step 6 – Add Images
Images break up your text and bring more interest to your post – as long as they are relevant. I recommend using your own images where possible but if you use the work of others always credit the original source either in a caption or by linking to the original source. I use Canva to create my own images (like this one) and recommend Pixabay for royalty-free images if you really need to go there.
Step 7 – Publish It!
I know people who have hundreds of draft posts ready to go but don’t have the courage to press ‘Publish’. Remember that your writing will improve and change over time. You are writing from your current perspective so be brave and let the world see it. It’s actually good to look back at earlier posts and see just how much your style has changed over the months and years.
Step 8 – Share It
Let people know it’s there. Share your blog post on social media. The image you use for your post will be really important here as this will encourage people to find out more and actually click through to the post. If your post contains evergreen content (content that doesn’t go out of date) make sure you share it more than once. Add it to your social media calendar to share again in the future. There is no use writing new content daily when you will be building a library of content to repost.
So, that’s it! My step-by-step guide to taking that first step to having a blog. Consistency really is key so I encourage you to set yourself a goal of regular writing – be that once a month or once a day – and try to stick with it.
P.S. – If you’d like to grab a copy of my ‘Evolution of a Blog Post’ printable, then sign up for my monthly newsletter below. It’s the quickest way to stay informed of new posts and every so often you can also win some 1:1 digital time with me…
Unless you’ve been living in a bunker, you’re probably aware of blogging but may not know why it is a great idea to write your own blog for your website.
Blogging is basically just the practice of regularly sharing written information on your website that you think your clients, or prospective clients, would find useful. It allows you to use your own voice and lets people know that you really do know what you are talking about – super important if they want to use your products or services!
The benefits of blogging for your business are numerous, but my top 5 reasons are:
#1. It brings people to your website
Yay! We all want more people visiting our site and blogging is a great way to get them there. If you are constantly giving them new reasons to visit by publishing engaging new content then they will return and that’s got to be good news.
#2. It helps people trust you
You become the ‘go to’ person for your topic. It is possible to give people enough information to be of interest without giving them all of the information you would give them if you were to have them as a client. Likewise, it is important for your current clients to know that they can come to you for advice after the initial purchase of their product or service. By having a blog you can answer lots of FAQs in one place or give advice without having to answer individual emails again and again. It becomes a sort of knowledgebase for your business.
#3. It can lead to more sales
Now this is the important part isn’t it! We all want to bring in more business and gain new clients and blogging is a great way to do this as per #1 and #2 above! People buy from people so knowing that you know your stuff and are happy to share it with the world for free makes people feel that they are getting more than just the basic package when they buy from you. Make sure you put a call to action at the bottom of each blog post though…
#4. It gives you content to use on social media
Do you use social media? Are you always looking for things to write about or share? Well, having your own stock of blog posts building up allows you to share the information you already have time and time again. You can share your posts on social media more than once and link to old posts when you receive a query or something jogs your memory about it. You should also have a bit of a plan for when you will share these and how often.
#5. It keeps your website current
This is so important for your ranking on search engines. Can you imagine just how many hundreds of thousands of websites there are out there that haven’t been updated in AGES! I saw one the other day that said ‘copyright 2006’ and it looked like it hadn’t been touched since then either! You want your website to look up-to-date so that when prospective clients find you they can see that you care enough to add and modify your site often.
So, now that’s sorted, all you have to do is figure out what to blog about… I’m sure you’ll think of something but you can also check out my 50 Blog Ideas post to help you out!!