Dangerous Common Sense

focused on Web Design and Marketing

So You Think You Need a Business Blog?

Posted by Ozdachs on July 18, 2009

Peer group pressure is getting to many of my clients. They know that it’s great for a business when its owner is a known pundit with lots of people linking to their site.  Besides, all the cool kids are blogging. Friends say that you have to blog, too!

Keyboard KeysMaybe.  But blogging requires a substantial time commitment which may not yield more visibility for you or get more clients for your business.  In fact, blogging can be a sterile time sink.

Moreover, even if you start a successful blog, blogging may not be a good use of your time.  You’re an expert accountant or an expert inn keeper or home builder.  Blogging is time spent away from your core business.

Of course, when clients come to me and ask me about adding a blog to their site I try not to be too much of a wet blanket.  Not only is the customer always right, the customer has  a project in mind which includes spending money on Ozdachs services.  How can I kill enthusiasm for that?

So, when a client asks me to help them start I blog, I encourage them to start one on WordPress.com , maintain it for a couple of months, and then see if they want the blog to be integrated into their marketing plan and their site.

Here’s why:

  1. WordPress.com is free.  Most of my small business clients have limited resources, and free is the right price for trying something out.
  2. WordPress.com does not require my assistance to start up and play with.  Another “free” cost.
  3. WordPress.com has a manageable number of options.  Most of my clients are not geeks and the marginal benefit of the full-range of blog widgets and options available with other services is outweighed by the confusion these choices cause.
  4. A trial blog allows a business owner to see if they can devote the regular attention to writing that a blog requires.
    Obtaining content for web pages is usually the toughest part of creating a new website.  In my experience, clients know their business cold.  But, they often don’t have collateral that describes the business, themselves, or why someone should choose them.  Regular feeding of a business blog is an even more difficult task.  It’s an ongoing burden for most small business people.
  5. A trial blog will also let an owner gauge the interest others have in their words.  If a business owner finds their muse and blogs daily nuggets, if no one reads or comments on the blog, is there really a business benefit?

So, if you think you need a business blog… go for it.  But, don’t start off by spending a lot of money to make your blog part of your website or even look exactly like the pages of your website.  Don’t spend money on third-party tools and developers. No, no, no!

Instead, sign up at WordPress.com for a free blog. Look over the theme options and spend no more than 4 hours choosing the styles and options you want.

Mark a day 30 days in the future to analyze your blogging status.

Then go for it. Start blogging.  Blog, blog, blog!


5 Responses to “So You Think You Need a Business Blog?”

  1. Amen to that, Galen. I started my blog, Living in Comfort and Joy, in January of this year. I am a professional writer and online marketer, and write very easily, but even so, it takes me about 8 hours a week to write my blog, and about another 2 to promote it.

    I can definitely see that I have a (huge) readership – I am creeping up on 15,000 views this month. I can also see that the traffic on my blog has increased traffic on my website; it has tripled in the same timeframe.

    However, the jury is still out on whether this will bring in business. I have a new business, one year old, and have seen a modest uptick in business this year. But I can’t connect any of the business I have gotten to my blog OR my website. I am sure that they give me credibility, but my paying customers have come either through word of mouth or via Craigslist (where I placed an ad that offered both my services and the free advice on my blog).

    But you put it well – if you’re the kind of person who dreamed of being a newspaper columnist, you’ll probably make a good blogger. And if you don’t like to write, you’re probably not going to be able to keep putting out the content that brings people in. (Search engines like new content, so you need to write at LEAST once a month, and preferably once a week.)

  2. Ozdachs said

    Thanks for the first-hand report, Nicolette.

    But, let me plug your blog directly. It’s Living in Comfort and Joy!

  3. So Galen, what do you think about Twitter? I signed up for an account, but wound up being a “twitter quitter” because frankly, I couldn’t figure out how it was going to be useful for me. That, and I got a lot of drivel from people who seemed to think I would be fascinated about what they had for breakfast… to much trivial drivel for my tastes.

    Do you know of someone who’s finding Twitter useful for growing a business?

    • Ozdachs said

      I like Twitter as a consumer of information. I like tracking what the specials at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival are, for example. Driving up I-5 we even used Twitter to find out why traffic was at a dead stop in the middle of the Central Valley (overturned truck).

      So, I know there is an audience reading the Tweets. I am one of that group.

      Therefore, I suspect that there is value at sharing information via Twitter. At the very least, some number of people will stumble upon your Tweet and visit your sites.

      In addition, you can use feeds from your Twitter posts to freshen up your website or blog with feeds like the one on the right-hand side of this page. When you don’t have time for a real blog post, a Twitter update can let your clients know what you’re up to.

      Thus far, I cannot point to any closed business that came from Twitter. But, that’s often the case with marketing work, and I am too new to Twitter to make any cost-benefit decisions.

  4. […] my inquiring client, I first wanted to do some reality checking. Just as I cautioned a client about starting her own blog, I warned the client yesterday about spending money before he knew if he was really able to get a […]

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