Recently a new business owner asked the following question on a Forum I’m a member of, “I recently started my business; …at what point should I start blogging?” The responses were varied and ranged from ‘Don’t spend your time blogging at this point, you need to focus on getting your business going,’ to ‘Get started right away so you can get your name out there.’ How would you have answered?
What is blogging and why should you blog?
If you’re new to Online Marketing you may, at some point, have heard about people sharing their personal journey or daily activities in a particular place online and conclude that’s what blogging is all about. True, there are blogs like that, and they do have their place. The types of blogs we want to focus on are business blogs where you share valuable content that educate, entertain, and engage your readers.
Your blog should really be your hub or home on the Internet where you update content on a regular basis. Blogging can be done on a page of your website, or it can be a stand-alone website, but it’s the place where your readers can go to find your high-quality content.
In my post, Why You Need a Business Blog two of the four reasons given are:
1) Blogging creates a more personal connection
2) It helps to market your expertise and increase credibility.
Those are only some of the benefits of having a business blog. Therefore, my answer to the new business owner mentioned at the outset is that she should start blogging immediately. It takes time to build up traffic so that you have regular readers or subscribers coming to your blog. It also takes time to build your credibility and authority, so getting started right away would put her at an advantage when her business is ready to go full-speed.
Ways to drive traffic to your blog
Up until the Google Panda updates Article Marketing was one of the many effective ways to drive traffic to your blog. However, because many of the article marketing directories were negatively affected by the Panda updates, largely because of duplicate content, Article Marketing is not currently considered to be as effective in driving traffic as it was in the past.
Nonetheless, I still believe that that you should submit articles to directories, like www.ezinearticles.com as people go there to look for good content that they can publish on- and off-line. Of course, they’re required to include your Author’s bio, or Resource Box, which should have a link or links back to your web properties. This offers a tried and true way to get traffic back to your blog or website. So what other traffic sources are recommended at this time?
- Good, no great content, that your readers will want to keep coming back for.
- When you have a topic in mind, do keyword research and make sure to include your keywords in your title, your first paragraph, and in a natural way in the actual content.
- Make sure to optimize your images by adding Alt Tags.
- Share your posts on social media. You can do this manually as well as with social sharing plug-ins. If you’re not on Google +, create an account as soon as possible because posting your blog link can get you indexed and ranked in as little as two hours. (See screenshot below).
- Become active in the blogosphere. Find at least three blogs in your niche, (they should be relevant to your topic or niche) and leave well thought out comments, not just ‘Good points.’ If one or more of these is an authority blog, that is of even more value. When you leave a comment two possibilities are opened up to you. 1) You’ll get a link back to your website, and 2) The site owner will quite possible visit your website when he or she replies to your comments.
- Look for opportunities to become a guest writer on other people’s blogs so that you’re exposed to a new audience.
- Add an optin box to your blog with a great free offer so that you can begin to build your email list. Share your blog posts with your subscribers.
- As a business owner you should begin to attend local networking events. Invite people you meet to read your blog posts and to subscribe to your offer. Offer to sign them up.
- Include internal links to other posts you’ve written that support or enhance the current content you’re posting.
- Re-purpose your blog posts into different formats, like video and podcasting.
As many as these are, these are only some of the ways to drive traffic to your business blog. While they are relatively easy steps, being conscious about their implementation is what will make the difference between a blog that gets lots of readers and one that’s like a lonely hut on the prairie trail. What other methods are you using consistently to drive traffic to your blog? Please share in the Comments below.