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Social Media Commerce: Improve Your Business Blog

After you’ve established a well-run, quality business website, a blog can improve the site’s organic search rankings. (Organic ranking is based on the content of your site and how relevant your site is to search terms.) A blog may also allow you to brand yourself as an expert in your industry.

According to a report released by eMarketer, the number of companies planning to use blogs along with their website for marketing will increase from 34 to 43 percent in 2012.

Running a business blog gives you a leg up on your big-business competition. Before their posts can appear online, they must be checked — sometimes by several departments. You can move faster and make changes on the fly.

More than 156,000,000 blogs are on the Internet, read by approximately 400,000,000 people worldwide — a lot of blogs, and a lot of people spending time online. Follow these guidelines to make your blog different from the rest:

  • Provide quality content: Your customers need to visit your blog and actually read it for it to be a valuable resource for your business and worth your time. Countless blogs receive just a few hits a day; if your customers are busy, a marketing-oriented blog may be the last place they want to visit.

    The goal is to engage readers’ interest, so write about topics that you enjoy and that your readers will find interesting. You might want to hone the focus to a niche of broader-interest topics. Bottom line: Have a plan and an objective to focus on before you start writing your blog topics.

    Find which posts on your blog attract the most reads by monitoring with a free service such as FeedBurner. By using Feedburner, you’ll be able to see which posts get the most views (and by whom), thereby enabling you to tailor future posts to that particular area of interest.

    Do you think your customer doesn’t have time to read a lengthy blog? Keep your posts short!

  • Post current customer service issues: Are your shipments being delayed by a snowstorm or floods? Did an employee or a customer discover a problem with a product? In your blog, tell your customers about these matters — and provide a solution.

  • Answer comments: If your readers post comments on your blog, be sure to respond. Every comment — negative and positive — should be addressed. Don’t let anything remain on the blog unanswered for days.

  • Be transparent: As the owner of your business, you are a reflection of your company. Always speak from your own point of view. Be available, honest, understanding. And don’t fake positive comments on the blog.

  • Get personal: Add a little personal information to the narrative. Your blog allows you to put a face and personality to your business online. People like to know with whom they do business, so share a little. Talk about your family, growing up, or what happened in the office yesterday. Personal posts are most successful when you tie elements of your life to your business.

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