Over the past few years, social media has been highlighted as a way to market and advertise your business. While there are definite advantages to using social media, you can get the word out about your store and gain loyal customers another way – by starting and maintaining a blog with topics that are relevant to your business.
Blogging is a great way for small businesses to “get found” online, yet many small business owners shy away from doing it. Some people think it can take up a lot time, or they don’t know how to get one started, or they feel it’s too much of a challenge to develop a following. While all of these reasons have merit, a blog is one of the most beneficial tools you can use to drive traffic to your site.
Getting your blog started really isn’t all that difficult. Most blogging tools, such as WordPress.org, WordPress.com and Blogger.com have templates and dashboards that guide you through the entire process.
There are pros and cons to the different blogging tools, so you should determine how your blog will be used, and which (if any) add-ons you’ll need. Although WordPress.com and Blogger.com are great (and free!), many bloggers are partial to WordPress.org because of the various add-ons and plugins that are available. WordPress.org also allows more leeway with the design of your blog. There is a lot of flexibility and functionality available with a WordPress.org blog, whereas WordPress.com and Blogger are great “starter” blogs because all you have to do is name your blog, choose a ready-made template, click a button, and you’re ready to start blogging.
Which brings us to the topic of this blog post – the top 5 reasons you should have a blog:
1. You can actually sell items directly from your blog. If you use WordPress.org, there is a plug-in available that allows you to accept PayPal, credit cards, debit cards, and even virtual checks, enabling sales right from your blog.
2. Blogging can help your target buyers find you by increasing exposure in search engines. Blogs are not typically used to directly promote the items you sell directly (unless you are selling them on the blog), but you can attract buyers to your website by posting opinions, reviews, and discussion about a specific product or category of products. For example, if you sell photography equipment you could talk about the pros and cons of different types of lenses on your blog, and include a subtle mention that you sell those types of lenses on eBay, Amazon, or your own website.
3. Blogging helps you make a personal connection with buyers. People want to know who they are buying from. This is especially true if you have one-of-a-kind products or if you make your own products. It can also help you be seen as an expert in your niche or field. This means that if you sell antiques, you could establish yourself as the “go-to” person for advice on antiques. People who go to your site for advice are more likely to buy something from you because you’ve established a level of trust.
4. Blogging can help build your brand. Think of your blog as your brand’s representative. You can use your blog to talk about what’s new with your business, product line, industry, or whatever you think adds to a positive brand identity.
5. Blogging can help you to create a sense of community. Interacting with people by allowing comments on your blog can reinforce a sense that you have shared interests. It will also show that you’re not just selling items to make money, but that you actually believe in the products you sell.
These are really just a few reasons a blog can be beneficial. Once you are established as a blogger, you can also become a “guest blogger” and write content for other blogs. This will send traffic back to your blog, and ultimately to your store or website. As you can see, the possibilities are really endless — but first you have to get started!
About our Guest Blogger
This guest post was contributed by Kat Simpson. Kat is a trusted eCommerce author, speaker, educator, and entrepreneur. Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is an eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, as well as a successful Amazon merchant. Currently Kat hosts the popular weekly eCommerce Podcast That Kat Radio.