Every company should have a blog. Consumers have come to expect it from you as a demonstration of the pulse of your business. Without a blog, or with an infrequently used blog, your customers can write you off as out of business and move on to one of your competitors.

Engaging your customers with a blog can increase repeat visits to your site, as well as bring in new traffic as your content works its way through search engines. Here are some simple tips for starting a blog and populating it with content your customers will value and come back for.

Jump Right In

There are a number of shortcuts that even somebody with very little online experience can use to get started fast. Services like WordPress or Blogger are tailored toward people new to blogging. These sites offer a number of attractive layouts you can use free and have easy-to-use word processing interfaces for writing posts.

If you are more experienced online or have a computer savvy family member, you can setup a hosting account and install blogging software there. Your blog will be hosted on your own website and you will have more control over its appearance and behavior.

There are pros and cons to each, but either way you will now have a direct line of communication to your customers.  If you are passionate about your products and services and have something to share, blogs are a great place to share your expertise.  If you are committed to improving your web traffic and ranking, having a blog installed on your web server will be of more benefit than using a third party blog provider.

Provide Content

Although most companies consider their blog as a great place for self-promotion, this should not be the primary objective.  Most successful blogs offer something for nothing, a free resource for people to use to grow their business.  If people gain real value without feeling like you are trying to sell them something every time they read your content, they will consider it a valuable resource.

Write articles about the latest developments in your industry. Give your customers hints and tips on how to use your products. Answer questions, post photos, and engage your visitors with polls.

Providing content that educates will show your expertise and help build a reputation with your customers where you are seen as an authority and resource. A side benefit is the more content you have, the more visible your site will become in search engines.

Update Regularly

As someone operating a small business, it may be tempting to forget about your blog and concentrate on higher priority items. To many customers, your blog is your pulse. If it is neglected, your customers might think you are not present. Avoid this by posting regularly.

If you know you will be too busy to update in the future, write your posts beforehand and schedule them to go out later.

Finally, Provide Links

There is no point in having a blog if people can’t get to it. It also isn’t as effective if there is no way to get from your blog to your site. Make sure to link in both direction, from your site to your blog and vice versa.

That way people that find you in web searches can find your business and products, and people on your site can consume the content in your blog.  Interested in a WordPress Blog from 4C, view the online demo here.