Jul 062012

My answer is an unequivocal Yes, small businesses should actively blog.

More than the large or medium-sized firms, I believe small businesses must maintain an active blog.

A neat, frequently updated blog more than pays itself off for all the time you spend on it.

Why Small Businesses Must Blog

* Cheap Communication – A blog is a cheaper, more cost effective way of communicating with customers and partners, be they current or potential, of the key events in your company. These could be a promotion, upcoming launch of a new product or upgrade, a workshop, free training or any of the countless other activities a small business engages in. To put out a press release or hire a public relations firm not only costs a lot more money and time but is also less direct and more impersonal.

* Feedback – Blogs are an excellent way for you to get feedback from existing and potential customers on both current products/services, upgrades and new offerings. Folks who might not care to write you a note may not hesitate to write a quick sentence or two in the comment section of your blog.

* Frequent Indexing by Search Engines – Any changes you make to your web site might take a long time for the search engines like Google or Bing to take note of, but blogs are indexed frequently. A well maintained blog should usually get indexed by the search engines on the same day that you write a post.

Tips to Maintain a Blog

* Write Short Posts – It’s not the number of words you write that matters but what you write that counts. No matter what you may have heard, size does not matter with most things in life.

* Integrate Blog into Your Web Site – Do not maintain a blog on a separate web site. You must integrate the blog into your main web site and provide convenient links to the other parts of your web site.

* Frequency of Blogging – Write a post at least every other day.

* Involve Staff – Make two or three members of your staff part of your blogging initiative. Assign topics to them but reserve the right to edit and hit the “Publish” button for yourself.Far too often, a small business owner enthusiastically starts a blog but the contending demands on his time forces him to relegate the blog as the last item on his agenda. Ultimately, the blog is not updated frequently and just withers away on the vine of inactivity.

* Blogging Options – There are multiple options when it comes to blogging. The major blogging software platforms are WordPress, TypePad, Tumblr and Blogger.com. WordPress is more widely used and has thousands of free plugins (addons) that you can use to add more features to your blog. So my recommendation is to stick to WordPress. Many hosting companies offer easy WordPress installations. Even if they don’t, downloading and installing WordPress is fairly straightforward and easy to accomplish.

* Integrate with Facebook and Google+ – Make sure you integrate your blog with social media tools like Facebook and Google +. Post the blog headlines along with a picture linking it to the blog post on your social media sites like Facebook and Google +.

* Use Pictures – Banal as it might sound, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. The human DNA is built in such a way as to be easily distracted by pictures.

* Post Headlines on Twitter – Even if it’s a short post, post the headline on your Twitter account with a link to the blog post.

Small Businesses Must Blog

Large and medium-sized businesses have the luxury of a substantial cash chest that they can fall upon to tide over the slow months and the departure of a handful of clients won’t bring ruin upon them. They also have tons of money to hire public relations people to create buzz and get visibility.

But small businesses do not have all those advantages.

With their limited customer base and frequent cash-flow problems, the loss of even a handful of clients can sometimes be catastrophic for small businesses.

The biggest advantage of a blog, if done properly, is to bring greater visibility at a low cost to the small business.

A blog will not catapult your small business to the top of the heap but will give you an edge over your similar placed rivals.

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