Blogging Tips For Small Businesses

November 22, 2012 in Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, seo, Small Business, Small Business Advice

by Marcia MacLeod

I’m doing what many of you do: writing a blog. Those who don’t already put fingers to keyboard are probably thinking about it, because everywhere you look, blogs seem to be the fashionable way to tell people what you’re thinking and to put you and your business in the public eye. In fact, many marketing gurus insist that blogs are the best way for small business owners to create greater awareness of the products and services they offer.

But with such a huge proliferation of blogs over the past 12 months or so – and growing with every click of the mouse – does anyone have time to read them? Who? When? What do you have to do to make your blog stand out from the hundreds of thousands of other blogs floating in cyberspace? How often should you add a new blog to your web site? Should you write blogs for anyone else? And what do you have to put in a blog to ensure that it benefits your small business, rather than put people off?

There are so many variables when it comes to writing a blog that it is hard to be specific about what works and what doesn’t. But every small business owner should think about a few basics. For a start, make it interesting – and often the best way to guarantee that is to write what you’d want to read. A customer or potential customer is likely to be interested in the same things you are, by the very fact they buy, or are thinking of buying, the product or service on offer. An alternative therapist should, therefore, be writing blogs relating to alternative therapy, or at least trying to make a blog relevant to alternative therapy. So they could write about the latest food fashion, but only in as much as it impacts on health. A web designer should write about web sites, but could consider some aspect of journalism or writing in general.

Blogs shouldn’t be too long, since small business owners have enough to do to try to run their businesses without wishing to spend too much time glued to the Internet. I reckon around 500 words is long enough. Don’t add new blogs to your site too often, either. A daily blog can become a most tedious object, both because the reader gets tired of hearing from the same person every day and because the writer runs out of things to say, so the blogs become boring – and even more tedious.

And while most small business people want their blogs on their own web sites, you can often do better by contributing to someone else’s site. Sticking with the alternative therapist, if the therapist wrote a blog for, say, a personal trainer’s web site, or a foodie web site, and linked fitness or diet to their therapy, think of the number of new readers, and hence new potential customers, that could  be reached.

Blogs can certainly attract traffic to any small business web site, but there is one final thing to remember: if you aren’t good at writing, don’t try. It’s better not to have a blog at all than one which is so excruciatingly bad that no one wants to visit your site again.

Small Business Network West Hampstead Meeting Report March 2012

March 8, 2012 in g+, Google+, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, seo, Uncategorized, West Hampstead Meetings

There were eight of us at this meeting, so it was a small, but very enjoyable and productive, event.

Some potentially very productive connections were made, for instance between SBN member Eileen MacCallum, a copywriter who specialises in writing/editing web content (amongst other things) and Ciaran Ryan who does Website MOTs for £99.00.

Also present were Melanie Oakley who provides virtual support, Katharine Locke – herbalist and iridologist, accountant Michael Gainey, Marcia MacLeod, copywriter and owner/creator of Your Allotment magazine, Paul Melnick, a representative from Barclays Bank, and yours truly, Liz Bygrave, my other hat (aside from SBN) being raw chocolate.

Our themed discussion, How To Drive More Traffic To Your Website, was really lively and interesting although naturally, we were barely able to scratch the surface of this vast subject in just 30 minutes! It was great to have Ciaran there as SEO is his area of expertise and he was able to give us some fab tips on the topics we did manage to cover: whether it’s still worth doing ‘reciprocal links’; google (how could one have a discussion about seo and not talk about google?!); and how blogging can help to drive more traffic to your site, including how to set up a blog site that will actually help the seo of your website (more on this at the April Muswell Hill meeting – see below).

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