As a small business owner, you should already know that your business needs a blog. But now that you’ve got one, it’s important that you maintain your blog with the same care that you give to your brick-and-mortar store or main internet property. A blog isn’t something you can put up and then neglect. This makes you look unreliable and outdated to both existing and potential customers.
So what specific tasks constitute good blog management? Make sure all of the following activities are a part of your regular schedule:
Post Content Regularly
One of the biggest pitfalls of running a blog as a small business owner is that it can be challenging to post content regularly. This has several implications. First, it can make you look unreliable to customers who come across your blog. It can also mean that you miss out on opportunities to optimize your blog for search or do not post on hot topics in the industry. Posting regular content also gives customers (and potential buyers) a reason to regularly visit your website and learn more about all that you do.
One great way to ensure you post regularly is to set aside time to write once a month. Writing four to eight blog posts at once and scheduling them to post at regular intervals throughout the month can make it easy to manage posting regular content. Alternately, commit to writing one post a day or one post a week so that it becomes part of your regular routine. Finding a writing routine that works for you is the main key to running a successful blog.
Vary Your Content Type
It can be easy to get into a rut when posting content. To break away from these habits, use list posts, educational posts, posts that highlight recent projects you’ve worked on, and articles that discuss industry news. These variations help you create more robust content, optimize your posts for different types of searches people may be conducting, and keep existing readers engaged.
Use Photos When Possible
Including photos is a great addition to any blog. If you’re writing a blog post about a hot new trend or some work you’ve recently done for a client, photos can help readers to visualize and understand what you’re talking about. Humans are very visual creatures, which is why images can help attract them to a post. This can also be an effective way to break up your content and keep your users’ eyes moving down the page.
Respond to Comments
When someone leaves a comment on your blog, it’s important to respond to their comment. This encourages them to continue engaging. It can also highlight your expertise, make you more accessible, and help you to create warm leads for your business.
Ultimately, when a person speaks to you face-to-face, you acknowledge and respond to their questions or comments. You should treat your online customers and prospects with the same respect. This can help grow your business in intangible ways. In the same way that you never know which face-to-face conversations will lead to an increase in sales, you never know which comment response you leave will lead to more revenue.
Every blogger hopes to receive comments on his or her posts. But even those who have a number of readers may not get a large volume of comments, especially at the outset of the blog. This can be a problem, as the number of comments left on blog posts demonstrates to readers how thriving and engaged the blog’s community is.
In order to encourage comments on your blog, it can be helpful to ask questions of your readers. This gives them a prompt to respond to you, rather than simply digesting the information and moving on. Of course, once you get these comments, you’ll want to respond to them for all the different reasons described above.
Update Your Software and Plugins (If Necessary)
If you’re running a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal, Typepad or another program, it’s important to make sure that you’re running the latest version of this software. This helps ensure that all functionality on your site works correctly and allows your blog to continue to be easy for your readers to use. You can do this by checking for updates whenever you login to create a post.
Alternately, you can create a weekly or monthly reminder that prompts you to enter the system and check for updates. Most updates can be done relatively quickly, with little effort on your part. This simply ensures that any improvements to the CMS itself or the plugins you’re using are pushed onto your blog.
**Note – if you’re using Homestead’s SiteBuilder program, all updates will be carried out automatically for you.
Renew Your Domain
This should go without saying, however, some small business owners have been known to let their website domains lapse. This means that, because you no longer own your URL, visitors may not be able to access your site at all.
Getting your domain back can be both difficult and costly. The best way to ensure that you own your domain is to set it up to auto-renew on a regular basis. You can also purchase your domain for two or more years at a time, which can prevent costly lapses in your website’s uptime.
Lastly, you should be sure to read any emails you receive regarding your domain in case your credit card has expired or your billing address has changed, making auto-renewal impossible. These are simple steps to follow, yet they’re ones that small business owners sometimes take for granted.
Having a blog can be a huge benefit to your small business. Many small business owners may realize that, while still failing to understand how to manage their blog presence on an ongoing basis. These steps are simple ways to manage your blog without making it overwhelming. With the right knowledge and routine, blogging for your business can be a simple way to showcase your knowledge and drive traffic to your website. What small business owner wouldn’t want that?
Do you maintain a business blog? What are your biggest struggles with your small business blog