Should your business have a blog? Absolutely, positively so! It is surprising how many business owners don’t realize this. They’ll pay top dollar to be advertised in a newspaper or phone book to get 10,000 impressions per month, but neglect a blog where – for free! – they could get 1,000,000 impressions per month. Paper media is practically dying off, and radio and television are in their twilight years as well. The Internet is now piped to over 3 billion people – half the human race! To not go online and promote your business in this day and age makes as much sense as dumping money down a well.At the very minimum, a website that is equipped with a blog will be essential for establishing your name and reputation, selling your products and services, keeping in touch with your clients, driving traffic to your website and hence to your business, and announcing new products and services.A blog puts a human face on your business. Blogs read like personal journals; it is just like writing a warm, personal letter to your customers. You can also conduct polls and read feedback from your customer base, so it’s a two-way street. Blogs lend themselves to easy searching by a search engine and easy subscription by an RSS feed, so they’ve largely replaced Ezines and company newsletters. Because a blog is by nature updated regularly, it keeps customers coming back. This keeps you current in their minds.But what kind of content can you put into a blog? Lots of things! You can answer reader questions, publish testimonials from happy clients, and share various opinions and feedbacks. You can review your own products. You can hold contests and promotional offers. You can publish anecdotes, jokes, and funny stuff related to your market or niche. You can extend holiday greetings and announce seasonal tie-in promotional offers to your customer base.
A dog breeder can publish pet care tips, a web designer can publish a tutorial on how to get more web traffic, a building contractor can do some articles on how to take better care of a patio deck. Designers can showcase their latest creative work. Lawyers and paralegals can discuss things going on in the world of law. Really, the list could go on forever. Basically a blog is just like having your own radio or TV station, a show hosted and sponsored by you.
You don’t have to worry if you don’t happen to have the writing skills of Mark Twain. That’s what freelancing sites are for! Hiring a professional blogger through a freelance site such as RentACoder.com is an economical way to ensure that you’ll have a steady source of material. You can have the freelance writer run the whole show, use them for a back-up supplier of filler content, or just write up some rough draft posts and have the freelancer edit and polish the material for you.
Lacking that, there are article submission directories where you can get free, sponsored content. These are articles submitted by experts in the field, who allow their content to be re-published free of charge, provided that the link to their own site, at the bottom of the article, remains in place. The downside here is that sometimes this means you might be linking to a competitor’s site – but if you can avoid that, then go for it.
The cost is negligible.Web space is so incredibly cheap these days, you can get all the web space you need for less than $10 per month. For design, you can easily pick up a freelance designer to do the job one time, or just download and use a free template. There is also a huge variety of free hosting sites on the web. Google runs Blogger.com, which is one prime candidate where you can publish a sharp-looking, professional-quality blog for free! Many other sites offer free web hosting, on the condition that you allow them to display ad banners on each page of your site. Yahoo’s GeoCities is one popular example.
The huge amount of traffic on the web is something that you won’t believe until you try it for yourself. It is only a matter of time before Internet promotion tops out TV, radio, and magazine advertising for sheer return on investment.