How Can A Blog Help Your Business?

by John Hoff on October 26, 2008

This is a guest post by Ann Smarty, a SEO consultant and online entrepreneur.

Blogging long ago stopped being just the way to share news and / or personal thoughts. Today it has become a common fashion already to create a blog supporting your main website. Several reasons for that include:

  • you can update it regularly with useful relevant information (and thus improve your chances to rank well in Google);
  • you can get closer to your customers or readers (by starting a real communication with them);
  • you can build business relationships with influential bloggers in your niche (by linking to them and referencing their posts).

Let’s look how these aims are achieved by reviewing just a few examples:

FreeShipping.org

FreeShipping.org, a valuable resource that helps shoppers save money by showing them what stores offer free shipping and provides the necessary coupon codes to get it, has a coupon codes blog where exclusive and time-limited offers are posted regularly. The blog also reviews other similar resources that might be useful for their readers. The blog is thus meant for several aims:

  • provide their readers with more useful information;
  • build friendly relationships with related resources.

Best Western

Best Western, a huge hotel chain, maintains a bright blog On the Go with Amy, providing funny and helpful travel tips and allowing their readers to share their experience. By this they:

onthegowithamy

  • create a friendly community around their service (by entertaining and educating their customers);
  • connect closer to their customers by encouraging them to share their thoughts and experiences.

BearingPoint

BearingPoint , a global management and technology consulting company, has launched an educating blog encouraging their readers to share “new thinking” concepts and ideas. The blog helps them:

bearingpoint

  • establish their brand positive associations by “sharing ideas from some of our own best thinkers.”
  • get closer to their customers by “fostering a dialogue on the issues that matter most to today’s organizations.”

So how actually can a blog help a business; let’s summarize:

  • a blog is a great way to establish long-term relationships with your customers and visitors (by entertaining them and communicating with them);
  • a blog can help you find new customers (by improving your site search engine rankings and via social networking and bookmarking services);
  • a blog can be one of the methods to show your expertise;
  • a blog is the place to host viral marketing and advertising campaigns;
  • a blog can help you to build business relationships in the same or neighbouring niches.

Ann Smarty is a SEO consultant, online entrepreneur and social media power user. With more than 5 years of experience in SEO and affiliate marketing she started her own business only less than a year ago. You can also find her blogging regularly at Search Engine Journal and also follow her at Twitter.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Cath Lawson October 27, 2008 at 8:53 am

Hi Ann – I haven’t seen you since I got banned from SU. I used to access your blog through your SU profile. Now I’ll be able to add it to my reader.

You’ve given some great reasons here for a business to start a blog and I’ll definitely be checking out some of the blogs you mentioned. What is you opinion on blog comments for a business blog? Should they always be left open, or does it depend on the type of business?

I used to think comments would be valuable, as it leaves somewhere for customers to ask questions, or voice concerns. But there’s also the danger that competitors could use the comments section to try to sabotage your efforts.

Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Why Some Of The Best Business Ideas Suck

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John Hoff October 27, 2008 at 9:30 am

One issue I’ve come across having my comment section open (and running a business blog) is I get a few off the wall questions that take time to consider and ultimately has not generated any profit. (see the comment section on my article How To Protect Your Assets Using Business Structures)

It seems the article is driving tons of traffic to our site however thus far the only business that page has created for us were people who read the article and then decided to email us instead of commenting.

The article I wrote about starting a blog and comparing Blogger and WordPress I strategically wrote and published on my blog for the simple fact that people could easily ask questions in the comment section as opposed to having to take the time to find a contact us form and figure out what they want to ask. Instead, they could ask a question immediately.

That page is one of our landing pages for a Yahoo PPC campaign. The idea is hopefully as more people come to that page and ask questions, we can answer them and new-commers will begin to see how much help they might get if they host their blog here.

Hopefully though, this won’t backfire like you mentioned it could.

I was at odds with publishing that article on my blog as I do advertise our business some and I know many bloggers out there are dead set on not wanting to hear an author plug their business services (as noted on a stumble of that article).

I think that’s just silly. Blog authors take a lot of time out of their day to help teach me something. I’m not going to rip them a new one because they want to say “hey by the way, I provide this.”

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Ann Smarty October 28, 2008 at 7:08 am

@Cath, oh so sorry to hear you were banned by SU. Quite a few of my friends have been blocked there recently.

As for the blog comments, I’d keep them open. The whole essence of a blog is to communicate (not to speak the crowd). And all in all, comments can always be moderated if something bad happens.

Ann Smarty’s last blog post..The Ethics of Guest Posting – Am I Wrong?

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