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Can a Blog Rocket You Ahead of Your Local Business Competitors?

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Is your current marketing strategy and SEO plan bringing you the results you had hoped for? If not, I have a more pertinent question for you:  Are you blogging on your business blog regularly?

Blogging is a highly effective way to get more attention for your business. This is especially true if your toughest competitors aren’t doing it.

True, regularly updating a blog means you’ll have to put more effort into your site. But it is well worth it. And it may not be nearly as difficult as you think it is.

Blogging keeps your site fresh. It gives your visitors timely information and demands that Google pay attention to you. Google loves good-quality content that’s up to date far more than stale content that’s been sitting there for months.

Visitor Engagement and Social Signals

When Google shows your new blog posts love by ranking them in the search results, you’ll naturally get more visitors. If your content is well-designed and entices the reader to engage with you and share your content socially, then you’ll get even more Google love.

Social signals (those tweets, FB shares, Google+ shares, etc.) are an important part of how Google decides whether your site is worth ranking. Not only that, but if people appreciate your content, they’ll link to your posts, and nothing’s better than natural, unsolicited backlinks.

Industry Interaction

If you’re actively blogging, you can easily find related business and industry news or blogs to link to for reference. When you do this, they’ll usually notice and visit your blog in turn. If they comment, you can reply . . . and a community begins to gather around your content, right on your site.

Networking is good for any kind of business, and blogging brings you another opportunity to do just that.

Putting You Ahead of the Pack

If you run a small or local business, blogging can give you a huge advantage. Many businesses pay good money for straightforward SEO and local SEO. This means getting their site organized correctly, building up their Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp pages, Google Plus Page, etc., attracting reviews and citations, and so on.

There’s nothing wrong with that. You should be doing it, too. But that’s the problem: everyone is doing it. So you end up ahead or behind in the pack by only a couple of notches.

If you add consistent blogging to your bag of tricks, however, you’ll be doing something that your competitors are probably not doing. This gives you a clear edge.

Getting Started

If you can, use WordPress. It’s very easy to learn, there are plugins to do just about anything you might want or need, and it’s pretty good for SEO right out of the box.

Keep your blog within your site. Don’t put it somewhere completely different; say, on a different domain or one of the free blog-hosting platforms out there. All you need to do is create a subdomain and install WP there.

Theme Selection

Before you even start thinking about content creation, get the blog set up. This includes finding a suitable theme or having one designed for you. Don’t use a free theme that has footer links you can’t remove.

Decide what you need in a theme before you start looking or you’ll probably get overwhelmed by the thousands and thousands available out there.

Permalinks and Search-Friendly URLs

Change your permalinks so you have search-friendly URLs. When you log into your WP admin area, go to “Settings” on the left, then choose “Permalinks” from the menu that pops out. Select “Post name.”

There are more advanced ways to set up permalinks, but using “Post name” is fine most of the time.

Authorship Markup

Take advantage of Google’s Authorship Markup. One free plugin that looks really cool is AuthorSure. Yes, you have to sign up on their site, but they have videos and guides to get the most out of this markup. I haven’t tried it, but it looks mighty nifty.

There are plugins to help with just about anything from loading time, to managing ads, to editorial calendars and more. Use what you need, but don’t go crazy with them. The more plugins you use, the greater the risk of one possibly messing up another one. Too many plugins can also drag down the speed and performance of your blog, which obviously is not good.

Once you have everything set up and ready to go, remember that you should be posting as often as you can. It’d be great if you could post every day. But realistically, that’s difficult for most people to manage.

Coming up with blog post ideas can be a challenge sometimes, too. If you have employees, why not assign them to write one post per week? The guest blogger doesn’t have to be a professional writer. If the person does your bookkeeping, then he or she can write about “The 4 Biggest Challenges of Keeping xxxx Straight in the xxxx Business,” direct from experience.

You can also hire a professional blogger who will keep up with your industry and your business, and publish consistent blog posts.

It helps to set up an editorial calendar and stick to it. But remember, there are going to be times when you want to blog about something new, something trending — something that pops up and isn’t on your calendar.

Monitor social sites for mentions about your business and industry, and be quick to respond to timely news and events.

Conclusion

Creating and maintaining a business blog will take a little work. Once you have it running, though, you’ll see that it’s really not that difficult. You’ll also enjoy a slew of benefits that will likely bring new customers, new opportunities, and better rankings.

If you need help in getting a blog going, managing it, promoting it, or just getting more out of an existing blog, contact us and we can get it done for you.

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Veronica

Veronica has been writing online since 2007. She enjoys helping clients with copywriting and content needs, as well helping with SEO campaigns. Her experience ranges from helping small websites succeed with SEO and internet marketing campaigns to writing for Planet Green (Discovery Channel).

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