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It’s Blogging, not Rocket Science

Many small business owners have severe writers block.  As i discuss in another post recently titled “The problem with (and solution to) Blogging for Entrepreneurs“, an effective way of getting a blog rolling is to use your own personal voice when doing so.  However, even that seems like a herculean task to someone who is wearing as many hats as most small business owners are.  Who has time to blog when you are the CEO, CFO, primary technician, head salesperson, chief janitor, cook, bottle washer, and everything in-between?

Ultimately, though, if that is what is going through your mind… you are over thinking it.  Your blog posts don’t need to be epic opuses of perfectly written text and seamlessly integrated images.  They just need to be… written.  With that in mind, lets look at the bare bones essentials of a good blog post:

Catchy title: think of the way newspapers would write headlines.  That is the title for your blog post, a headline.  Make it short, make it catchy and most of all make it concise.  Nobody wants to read a post if the title doesn’t even show up on their screen without a carriage return.

Some content: notice i said “some” not “a lot” or even “great”.   Again, it does not need to be perfect.  It just needs to be.  I read an article from a sports reporter in the star telegram today about the cowboys and he wrote “I am not hear to say…” and he gets paid to write for a living!  Don’t stress about anything except getting it written.  All else can be forgiven… except if there is too much.  The cardinal sin of most bloggers is too many words.  Keep it short.  If it needs more than a few paragraphs to get the idea out, write a second post and make it a series.

Nice picture: find a good, inexpensive (not free), image to include in your post that sums up the idea in one picture.  It should be easy to view at multiple sizes because your content could and will be viewed on all kinds of different screens.  It should also not be free because, well, there is no such thing.  You might get away with adding a pic from google images for a while, but sooner or later you will get the dreaded cease and desist letter or worse get served with lawsuit papers.  Just pay the buck it costs for a stock image that is web sized and keep on blogging.

Thats it.  Write, post, repeat and you will see lots more inbound traffic to your website.

The Problem With (and Solution To) Blogging for Entrepreneurs

Everybody knows content is king.  It’s one of those phrases you hear when folks are advising a small business owner to blog more in order to get more traffic to their website.  Problem is most small business owners aren’t good at writing.  They are good at doing whatever their company does, but many have trouble writing blog posts that convey their knowledge of it.

One big problem most entrepreneurs face when trying to blog, is carving out time to do it.  I will cover that in a future post, but in the mean time lets talk about the other big problem… where to start.

What could I possibly write about that would be a good blog post for my company?

At Your-Web-Guys.com we advise our clients to write blog posts from four main topic areas.  They should blog about their industry, their company, their clients (ie case studies), and their… selves (sorry for the bad grammar, I’m trying to keep the theme going here).  Lets look at each one in more detail:

  • Their Industry
    This is the easiest one for most small business owners. It’s pretty obvious what I mean here… topics that are about the industry of your company.  Things like changes in the industry or new trends or styles.  Even new equipment or techniques might be interesting to your clients/prospects, especially if you are planning on using those items/processes to add value to what they purchase from you.  Tips and tricks, best practices, and even DIY (do it yourself) posts might be good for your specific situation.  Some entrepreneurs baulk at these kinds of posts, but at Your-Web-Guys, we have found that giving away the milk still sells the cow because most folks don’t want to deal with the complexities of milking.  For instance, we will tell you exactly how to set up and integrate social media platforms with your website… but once you see how complex it is to do so, you will probably hire us instead.  If not, good on you… let us know when you run into trouble.  Zig Ziglar once famously said “if you help enough people get what they want, they will help you get what you want” and we know this is true
  • Their Company
    Not quite as obvious, but probably just as important is information about your company.  Things like new products and offerings should be blog posts, basically anything you would think is worthy of a press release should be posted to your blog first.  In fact, the press release should have a link to the post most of the time.  Also, don’t forget new facilities or vehicles or even events/expo’s you might be attending. Most importantly, you should always blog about promotions and specials you might be running, and don’t delete them once the promotion is over.  If you delete the post then any traffic you might be getting from it is deleted too.  Remember, search engines list web pages, not web sites.  Delete the post, you delete the listing.
  • Their Customers
    One of the most effective uses of a blog is to post information about your customers and how your company and its people/services/products have specifically helped them.  Sometimes referred to as case studies, these updates can explain exactly what the customer was needing, what solution your company was able to provide, and how that solution specifically resolved the customers’ pain point.  It is even better if you can include a testimonial from the client at the end.  Talk about effective marketing!  We employ this technique on our own blog at Your-Web-Guys, we call it our portfolio
  • Their… Selves (Again, sorry for the bad grammar, it is intentional)
    So probably the least obvious of all is this one.  People do business with people, not companies.  One of the things that big businesses have been trying to do is to humanize their company.  Giants like BP and IBM are constantly trying to put a face on their big corporate identity.  This article on the Constant Contact blog is about humanizing marketing in general and goes into more detail.  Small businesses don’t have this problem most of the time.  In fact, most entrepreneurs try very hard to make their companies look larger than they really are.  When it comes to marketing this is not the best idea.  So blog about yourself, your kids, your employees, their weddings, their kids, grandma’s cookie recipe, and just about anything else that will help to humanize your business.  They may not get a ton of search engine traffic and you might not even want to put them on the home page of your website, but your prospective clients and social media circles will eat it up.  Best of all it is a normal update, so google, even though it might not list it on a page that will get you a ton of new business, will see it and see that your website is updated on an ongoing basis.  That is literally more than half the battle when it comes to SEO.

So there you have it, the four topics that just about any small business or entrepreneur can use to help get them started blogging.  But what do you think?  Are there any good topics that you have found which gets your writer’s block unclogged?  Let me know in the comments, I would love to discuss it with you.