How Blogging can Boost your Business Website

 

 

Image via Flickr.

As I write this post, the U.S. is heading into Small Business Week. This initiative ‘recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.’

Around the globe, small and medium enterprises account for  “90 percent of businesses and more than 50 percent of employment.”  

With those stats in mind,  it’s no wonder that my most popular tutorial is how to build a business website. I love helping small business owners build an online presence and take it one step further by equipping them with the tools they need to stand out from the competition.

Speaking of tools, have you ever thought about adding a blog to your business website? Wondering if a blog is worth the effort and exactly what value it adds to your business?

By the end of this post you’ll have the answers to these questions and learn how a blog can:

  • Boost your search results
  • Promote your business
  • Help you get to know your customers
  • Build credibility in your industry

Boost organic search engine results

Most business websites have a fixed amount of pages. Naturally, these pages will include the basic pages I discuss here. You may tweak these pages from time to time, but for the most part they’re what we call ‘static’ pages; pages with information that more or less remains the same over time.

The idea of a blog is to have an area of your website where you post or write content regularly. Each time you do this, you’re adding fresh information to your site and this is a signal to Google and other search engines that  your website is active and that they should be checking in frequently to see what new content to surface. As you consistently put out valuable information, your chances of being found in organic(not paid) search results increases, helping more people to find your website.

Promote your business(for free)

By now you understand the value of social media and likely have various accounts(Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) set up to match your business. Nevertheless, you may struggle with the content of your social media posts. If so, a blog can help.

A blog provides a steady source for relevant content about your business. You can promote entire posts or snippets of information yourself and encourage others to do the same. When they do, you’ll be exposing your business to an even wider audience, in essence getting your customers to advertise for you — for free!

Learn more about your customers

Blogging is an excellent opportunity to engage with your customers. Try to encourage conversation by ending your posts with a question. Read and respond to comments, you’ll learn a lot in the process and find out what people are looking for. Doing this will make your visitors feel important and create rapport and trust that will only build over time.

Use what you learn to inspire future posts, and think about using the blog to reward your customers with a special promotion or even a giveaway. Give them a reason to keep coming back and you can be sure they will.

Establish your credibility

If you want to establish credibility in your particular industry, a blog is a surefire way to get there. Your ongoing efforts to provide useful information will set you up as the ‘go-to’ expert in your field and this goes a long way when it comes to turning casual visitors into paying customers.

Blogging: it’s worth the effort

The work you put into each post can have long term effects:

“Once you hit that publish button, it’s forever there for new visitors to see – tomorrow, next week, or even years form now.” — Pat Flynn, Smart Passive Income.

Set a blogging schedule that works for you and then think of each post a chance to solidity the relationship you have with your existing customers, prove your authority, gain trust, and put your business in front of even more people!

Stay tuned for more blogging tips as well as how to add a blog to your Wix website.

 

How to Use Online Business Directories to Boost Your Business

 

Image via Flickr.

When you want to find information on a local business, where do you turn?

In 2014, Google commissioned a study and found that 80% of “consumers use search engines to find local information.” Of these, 88% search on a smartphone and 84% on a computer or tablet.

I guarantee these percentages will only continue to increase as more and more people gain access to the internet and realize how much easier it is than flipping through a 3-inch thick paper directory to find what they’re looking for.

As a savvy business owner, it’s essential that you take advantage of every opportunity to promote your business online.

What if I told you that doing so does not have to cost you a single penny?

Now you’re listening.

Get your Business Listed on Local Online Directories

Local online business directories make is super easy to get your website in front of the right people; people on the hunt for the very products/services or information you have to offer.

The great news is that many of these are completely free or in many cases, offer free plans allowing you to upgrade from there. Invest a bit of your time entering key business details and you’ll add another layer of visibility to your website. (Hint: Use your internet browser’s autofill feature as you’ll be submitting the same information over and over again to each directory.)

I did some digging for you and came up with the list you’ll see below. No matter where you live, you can find additional local online directories with a quick search: “free online directories + (Country).” Give it a try and tweet me @buildwithleah if you find a good one you’d like to share.

Here we go:

18 Places to List Your Business Online for Free

1. Google My Business 

2. Bing Places 

3. Better Business Bureau

4. Yellow Pages 

5. Yelp 

6. Linkedin 

7. Hotfrog 

8. Angie’s List 

9. Manta 

10. Superpages 

11. Local 

12. EZ Local

13. Yahoo 

14. TripAdvisor

16. Merchant Circle 

17. 411.info 

18. Manta

Tip: On any of these sites, search to see if your business is already listed, then claim control of your existing listing instead of submitting a duplicate.

Watch Out For Spammy Directories

When it comes to online directories, not all are created equal. Stick to sites that are good quality and relevant to your business needs. There are plenty to choose from. You don’t want to run into problems connecting your site to low-quality, spam-ridden directories. Linking to these sites can actually hurt your search engine rankings so if in doubt, leave it out.

But Wait, There’s More…

Online business directories area great source of leads, consumer reviews and referral traffic. In addition to basic information, some will even allow you to add printable coupons, special offers, videos, images, preferred payment methods and other meaningful information.

Free or paid, it is important you control your business profile and connect with consumers where they want to be. Once you claim your profile, make sure your information is kept up-to-date and provide details about your business to draw new customers in. Last but not least, claim ownership now so that you can respond to positive and negative reviews of your business in the future. You’ll be glad you did.