As a small business owner, it can be difficult to find affordable ways to market. You know that most of your ideal customers are online, but how do you reach them? You’ve tried paid ad campaigns, and while they do work, they can be pretty hard on your bank account. What’s more, you’re noticing that you’re not coming up very high in search engine results pages. Why aren’t you on the first page, and how can you get there? Believe it or not, one of the simplest solutions is blogging!

Now, we don’t mean blogging in the sense of some irate soccer mom sitting in the kitchen ranting about the astronomical prices of milk. The kind of blogging we’re talking about is purposeful, and works to grow your business. Your blogs present thoughtful answers to some of your most frequently asked questions, published in a format that’s readable and engaging. If you’re not sure how to write a blog post, these tips might help. Otherwise, let’s dive into the benefits of blogging for small businesses:

Boost your SEO rankings

Have you ever Googled your company? Did you show up on the first page? You should. If you don’t, there’s a few SEO basics you’ll want to make sure you implement. Now try Googling a service you provide, and then your area. If you sell ice cream in Grand Haven, for example, search “ice cream Grand Haven.” This is where the results might be a little bit trickier. If you haven’t done much blogging, it’s likely that you’ll eventually find yourself on the second or third page of rankings, which is about two or three pages lower than you want to be. This is a problem that blogging can solve fairly easily. When you blog, you’re creating fresh, relevant content that’s useful to your readers. All of those things are highly valued by Google and its search bots. The more you blog, the more content you’ll have, and the higher your website will rank.

Target Long-tail keywords

In the same vein, blogging really helps you target those long-tail keywords that are so valuable. Now, this isn’t a tip we always talk about, so you’ll want to pay attention. Long-tail keywords are keywords that have lower competition, which means it will be easier for you to rank highly on search engine results pages for them.

Let’s stick with the ice cream shop example here: If you’re using generic keywords like “ice cream” it’s going to be extremely difficult for your small business to compete with major companies like Breyers and Ben and Jerry’s. They have more money and they have bigger, well respected sites that Google will always rank higher.

When you choose a long-tail keyword to target instead, say “Grand Haven ice cream parlor,” you might have two or three other businesses who are actually competing for that term, making it considerably easier for you to show up on that first page of Google search results.

When you blog, you can incorporate these long-tail keywords into your posts easily, and see better results more immediately. It’s a good best practice to choose one long-tail keyword for each blog, and focus your blog post around that keyword. While you shouldn’t spam the post with that word, just making sure the focus of the article is on a specific term will do a lot for your SEO rankings.

Boost your Authority

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you’re an expert. Whether you know how they make mystery flavors like Superman ice cream, or you know the best way to scoop ice cream, you have something new and relevant to say. Blogging allows you a platform to share this knowledge with others who genuinely need it, and are actively searching for it.

And when people search for this information, they’re probably already interested in your product. So, it’s a win win situation. They need information, and by creating content that answers their questions, you draw relevant traffic to your site. By providing accurate, in-depth information in your blogs, and by posting this great content regularly, you build authority. You’ll start to get people who follow your blogs, and who trust your advice. The more people trust your company, the more likely they are to trust your product.

Support your social media presence

The great thing about blogs is that they’re totally shareable! Remember that Facebook page you made for your company, and then never posted on? Well now you have something to post! Sharing your blogs to social media sites like Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter, is a great way to boost your user engagement, and draw people from social media to your website. It also gives your social media followers something to like, share, and repost, which expands your company’s reach, for free!

Give your company character

A blog is a great way to give your company a little bit of character. You work with awesome people, right? Showcase that in your blog! The closer people feel to your company, the more likely they are to purchase your product. Your company isn’t just a building, it’s a living, breathing organism full of great people, and great ideas. Make sure your followers and potential customers know that.

Generate leads

A major benefit to blogging is the lead generating potential it creates. The more posts you have out there, the more likely it is that people will navigate to your site. And once they’re on your site, you’ve got a million ways to convert them to a lead. Your landing pages should ask their contact information, and your calls-to-action should help you with that too. The fact is, the more people that are on your site, the more conversions you’ll get. And the way to get people to your site is to blog.

It’s free!!

Finally, blogging is an exceptional tool for small businesses because it’s essentially free. Sure, you have to set aside the time to do it, and you have to commit to posting regularly, but once you get the hang of it, it won’t take you as long to write them, and the benefits are immeasurable. For the amount of time it takes you to write a blog, so long as you’re publishing regularly, you’ll see an increase in traffic and leads that will outweigh the time you spent writing.

BONUS TIP: Please do not blog only about the benefits of your company’s products. If you’re blogging just to promote your business, you’re going to lose more followers than you’ll gain. No one wants to hear about how fabulous you are on a weekly basis (Even though we really do think you’re fabulous). If your business wins a really great award, please, go for it! But make sure your blog doesn’t turn into your own PR platform. Blogs should be either informational or entertaining. If you’re using it to toot your own horn, no one will want to read it.

If you have more questions about blogging, or even about digital marketing for small businesses, make sure to give HA Digital Marketing a call. We’d love to help! Drop us a line, or call us at 616-843-0877.

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