So you're thinking of starting a blog for your business, but where the heck do you start?
Every man and his dog is telling you that "you need a blog" and that "blogging is the way forward for marketing your business". And if they're not, I'm telling you this now.
Okay, so not every business needs a blog (I covered this in more depth in my 'Should My Business Have a Blog?' article), but for many, it can be an absolute gold mine for marketing and gaining brand awareness!
But how on Earth does one go about starting a business blog? Below are some frequently asked questions I get asked when talking about setting up a blog, and my answers to help you with each stage:
The Preparation stage
Q: Should I keep my personal blog & business blog separate?
If you already have a personal blog and you're wondering whether you should combine your personal & business blogs into one to save on time.
This is completely personal preference to be honest - I like to keep mine separate because the topics I talk about are so different and my personal blog just wouldn't be relevant for my clients. However there are some people who successfully combine the two, which gives their business website a friendly and authentic vibe!
Q: Can I add a blog to my existing website?
If you are using Squarespace, yes you can! It's very easy; you simply go to your Pages dashboard and click the '+' sign in the corner, and select a 'Blog' page. You can then place this page in your main navigation, or hide it until you're ready to launch.
If you're using WordPress, it really depends on which theme you're using as to how easy or difficult it will be to add a blog section. If you're unsure and need any advice on website stuff, just ask!
Q: How much content should I launch with?
I personally think it's a good idea to launch with a minimum 3 published posts already on your blog. This is because if people click onto your blog to read your 'first post' or a 'launch post', you don't want them to just browse through and then leave again.
You want them to stay and explore a while, so having a few blog posts to start with means they can read through more examples of your content.
Q: How much content should I have in reserve when I launch?
When you launch your blog, you want to make sure you are able to post content regularly to show your readers you're a consistent source. It's a good idea to have at least 3 weeks worth of content ready to publish in advance, so that you can show your consistency once you're launched.
Q: How far should I be planning in advance?
Overall how far your plan your blog posts and get them scheduled in advance is up to you and how much time you have and how organised you can be.
For me it fluctuates, some months I've got my posts all written up 2 weeks in advance, and some months I'm less organised and end up planning, writing and posting my articles within the same day (this is one of those days!).
I love using Trello to help plan my content. Check out my post on how to use this free online tool as an editorial calendar!
Q: How much should I 'hype' up the blog launch?
Is your blog going to be a core focus for your business from now on, or is it just complimentary and somewhere to host FAQs and extra information that you can't fit onto your website? It really depends how excited you are!
There's a limit to how much you can hype up a blog launch to be honest, because you're not selling a product or a service that people will be buying from you, and your audience doesn't know what the quality of your content will be. I'd suggest no more than 2 weeks for building excitement is necessary.
Q: What should my first post be about?
Try to think outside the box with your first post; no one is going to think "this is great I'm going to subscribe straight away!" if your first post is called 'Welcome' and it's just about how excited you are to start blogging - just start blogging already!
A good way to start off is with an introduction to you and your business, a little bit of background, why you're starting a blog and what people can expect to find on your blog. Why not inject some intrigue by telling people exactly what posts are coming over the next few weeks and a short description for each post?
Q: How do I get people to notice my blog?
'How to promote your blog posts' is a topic that could take up 3 extra articles, not just an FAQ in this post. But obviously it is an important question.
Sharing on social media is important of course, but what if you only have a small following? Curated content websites like Stumbleupon and Reddit are useful for sharing your articles too, and so is reaching out to influencers in your niche to tell them about your new blog post and asking them politely to share it if they have time.
For me, Pinterest is my main source of traffic to my blog. I'll be sharing my best tips for getting traffic to your blog using Pinterest in my eCourse which is coming soon! You can register your interest here:
Q: What if my launch is a flop?
It's pretty normal not to see a huge increase in traffic when you first launch a blog, especially if you have a small following and small amounts of traffic to begin with.
Growing a blog following is a slow burner; it takes time. It took me just over a year to get the traffic I get now (which, if you're interested, is around 10k unique visitors a month), and on my personal blog it took me 18 months to get the same. There's no quick fix, just persistence and consistency!