Blogging isn’t new; the tools have been around for at least 16 years. Some will even argue that the basic technique predates the Internet by nearly 25 years! Business blogging is much newer however, and it’s represents an excellent opportunity to develop and engage a local customer base.
The Internet has given many consumers a whole new set of tools to find and evaluate businesses and service providers, so being able to help your business stand out online is essential. In fact, a survey conducted by Search Engine Land in 2012 showed that 85% of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses. Oddly though, according to the US Census Bureau, as of 2012 about 75% of all businesses do not have websites! So, what is business blogging and how can you make sure that your business makes the most of this opportunity?
A “blog” is a shortened version of the word “weblog.” It’s a convenient communication tool that allows businesses to self-publish information easily. The “information” can be anything, but businesses generally relate their blog content to their business. Whether it’s a discussion of new products or services, trends within the industry, or political issues that impact the business or its customers, the blog becomes a way to meet the needs of both the business and the consumer.
Businesses actually have two good reasons to develop a website that includes a blog. First, statistics show that 3 out of 4 businesses don’t have a website, so as many as 75% of your business competitors aren’t online. If 5 out of 6 consumers use the Web to find local businesses, that means initially, they are not looking at 75% of the potential service providers who offer the products or services they’re looking for. You can use a blog to extend the value of your business relationship with your customers, while your competitors remain “invisible” to them! Under these circumstances, having a website only makes sense!
The second reason to develop a website that includes a blog is that a well-done blog can help your business website stand out in search engines. The value to you is the 85% of consumers who use the Web to find local businesses do so by using search engines. As far as your business is concerned, a search engine is like an introduction service. The search engine introduces your potential new customers to your business, and also helps your existing customers cement their relationship to your business. But the search engines can only do this if they “see” your business. Blogging can help the search engines focus on your business and determine where it belongs in the search engine results. Needless to say, the higher your business ranks, the more likely you are see new customers at your doorstep.
In Part 2 of this post, we’ll examine the value of good writing, and how it can help your business stand out among those competitors who are already on the Internet.
If you’re interested in looking at options for improving the website design for your business, creating a brand new website, or you’re considering the addition of a blog to your business website, contact our creative director, Dave Ramsell for a consultation. Grantstreet Creative can provide both affordable website design and blogging services for your business!
Photo Credit: Colin Brough, via Stock Xchng