Does Your Business Really Need A Blog?

If you’ve been trying to promote your business on the Internet, no doubt you’ve received the advice to start a business blog.

Internet marketing experts consider a blog to be an essential tool to succeed online. In fact, I’ve made the decision recently to give more attention to my blogs — even if it meant giving up some paid gigs writing for other people’s blogs.

But is blogging right for YOU?

Benefits of A Blog

A high-quality blog can have many benefits, such as:

Search-engine Friendly

Blogs get indexed and ranked in search engines faster than static HTML sites. One way to increase the traffic to your business website is to add a blog.

Interactivity

Because a blog has many features that allow your readers to interact with you and with each other, a blog is an effective tool for building a community of like-minded individuals who are all interested in your field. They make the ideal prospects, because they’re already tuned into you.

Share-ability

Blogs have functionalities that make it very easy for you and your readers to share links to your blog posts. For example, you could link your blog’s RSS feed to your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. Your readers could share the link to your blog post with a click of a button.

This makes it much easier for you to reach new audiences and tap into other people’s social networks.

Easy to Use and Customize

Most blogging platforms, such as WordPress, are much easier to use than plain HTML site builders. They come in templates that look good and have plenty of features right out of the box. At the same time, some templates are fairly easy to customize, even for those of us who don’t know any coding. Blogs have made web masters obsolete.

Multimedia

It’s also easy to add multimedia elements to a blog. These may include photo galleries or slideshows, audio recordings, and video. You can display your Flickr or Facebook albums automatically on your blog. You can also easily embed YouTube videos — yours or other people’s — into your blog.

Inexpensive

You can get a blog up and running for under $10 a month, including domain name registration (one domain name is often free for with the cost of hosting). You can no longer make the excuse that you can’t afford a blog.

Available 24/7

Assuming your hosting service doesn’t go down, you can expect your blog to be available 24/7, fully searchable and able to attract an audience of prospects for you.

Authority

A good blog will help establish you as an authority in your field. What better way to demonstrate your expertise in a subject than to publish content-rich articles on your blog regularly for months or even years.

List Building

By putting an opt-in form on your blog, you can easily build and grow a list of people who are interested in learning more from you. Imagine, these are people who have given you permission to communicate with them regularly! If you take care of them, they can easily become your biggest fans and lifelong customers.

Opportunities

An established blog will attract plenty of potential partners and other opportunities for you. These may include advertisers, joint venture partners, speaking engagements and other opportunities to reach other people’s audiences, and even paid consultancies and gigs.

With all that said, a blog does have its downside.

Disadvantages of A Blog

Endless Content

The lifeblood of a blog is a continuous and consistent stream of high-quality content. You need to publish good posts frequently (at least once a week) and consistently to attract and sustain traffic, build a community, engage with your readers, and network with other bloggers.

The constant need for fresh content may be draining for a blogger. You may soon find yourself burning out and getting disillusioned with your blog.

Technical Requirements

A blog is easy to use, but it does require SOME technical knowledge nevertheless. You can’t take a completely computer-illiterate person and turn them into a superstar blogger overnight. Some basic and not-so-basic computer skills are necessary.

Maintenance

If you use WordPress, you know that it’s constantly getting upgraded. Your theme and plugins will also have to be updated as necessary. And don’t forget to back up your files and keep your blog secure while you’re at it.

If you can’t or don’t want to handle blog maintenance, then you need someone else on your team who can do it for you.

Promotion

Aside from maintaining and publishing your blog, you also have to promote it. Just because you built it, doesn’t mean the readers will come.

You can attract traffic through both paid and free methods. Either way, you’ll have to invest some time, energy and possibly money to gain readers. Paid methods may include Google Adwords as well as banner ads and text ads in bigger blogs.

“Free” traffic-generating methods include article marketing, guest blogging, and social networking. I put the word “free” in quotation marks, because even if you don’t have to pay for these methods, they do take time and effort (both of which translate to money).

To Blog or Not to Blog

That is the question!

When deciding whether or not a blog is a good fit for your business’ online marketing strategy, realize that a blog is a huge commitment.

You must be willing to allocate time, energy and money to make it succeed.

However, if you persist with blogging, you will reap the rewards. Soon, you’ll have content that can bring you prospects and clients, literally even while you take a vacation. This is also content you own completely and can reuse, recycle and repurpose to your heart’s desire.

Your Thoughts Please

What do you think – is blogging worth it? If you’ve been blogging, what pros and cons have you experienced? If you’re still deciding whether to blog, which weigh more heavily to you now, the advantages or disadvantages of blogging?

Let us know your thoughts. Share them in the comments below or let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

PS: I teach a class showing business owners how to use a blog and email marketing to attract more prospects and customers. If you want a blog that works and avoid getting overwhelmed by all the little moving parts of online marketing, then check out my Magnetic New Marketing eClass.

So You Think You Can’t Write

One thing is sure: You didn’t get into business to be a writer. English composition was not one of your best subjects. Writing is for, well, writers. You know, those eccentric, artistic types you could never figure out. Certainly not you.

And then you went into marketing on the Internet and realized, to your surprise and disappointment, that the Internet is made up of images and… words!

Before you know it, you find yourself having to write more than you care to–blog posts, squeeze pages, emails to customers, and even silly little tweets.

Why Even Non-Writers Can Write For The Web

Fortunately, for you and other non-writers, writing for the web is different than the kind of writing we all learned in school.

The web is more conversational. It’s informal, personable, and casual. Depending on the market you’re targeting, they may not even care that your grammar isn’t perfect.

Plus, written pieces on the web tend to be short. Internet users are always in a hurry and have short attention spans. They don’t like having to scroll through thousands of words. (An exception is the long-form sales page, which you shouldn’t write yourself anyway, unless you’re a trained copywriter.)

In other words, here’s the good news for you: The Interwebs isn’t Mr. Collins’ English class!

How to Write When You’re Not A Writer

Below are some tips to make writing for the web easier, even for non-writers like you:

1. Brainstorm with a mindmap

In composition class, we learned how to make an outline before writing something. But outlines are linear and don’t always work with everyone.

If you’ve tried using outlines but haven’t had much luck, maybe mindmaps are more your thing. A mindmap is a good tool for brainstorming topics, as well as for fleshing out the different parts of a topic.

For example, this blog post started out in the form of this mindmap (click to enlarge):

You can find free and paid mindmapping software (I used Freemind for the mindmap above. I’ve also been experimenting with Xmind).

Or you could do it the old-fashioned way: take a blank sheet of paper and different-colored pens, and map away. Whatever works for you.

2. Write without thinking; edit without feeling.

Most of the time, we don’t get anything written, because our brain is always editing what we write. So you type a couple of sentences, erase the last one. Type another sentence, delete everything and start again.

No wonder you’re not getting done! Just write. Write in white heat, without thinking about the words that just flowed from your computer keyword.

And then, when you think you’re finished, take a break. Go for a walk. Grab a cup of coffee (and a cupcake, you deserve it). If you have time, sleep on it.

Then go back to your first draft and edit it. Edit without feeling. Don’t get attached to your writing, even if you think it was so moving it could be worthy to be part of a novel. Be ruthless; cut out unnecessary words. Rewrite parts that are unclear.

And always, always favor clarity for witty.

3. Follow proven templates.

Nowadays, you’ll find templates for everything from emails to blog posts, to articles, to squeeze pages and even sales pages.

If writing is particularly challenging, why sweat it? Take one of those templates and use them. Nobody said you had to reinvent the wheel.

4. Don’t start from scratch.

Ever heard of private label rights content? Those are written pieces of content that you buy and gain certain rights to. For example, you have the right to edit them or use them as it, and put your name as the author.

Now, if you really want to claim authorship of a PLR piece, then go ahead and rework it. Reorganize the different parts into a structure that makes better sense to you. Rewrite every single sentence. Add in your own sentences and even entire paragraphs. Remove parts you feel aren’t necessary. Combine different PLR pieces together.

In other words, make it your own. Sometimes, it’s much easier to write when you’re not staring at a blank piece of paper of computer screen. If that’s the case for you, then maybe PLR is the answer.

5. Don’t write!

Well if you really can’t write, then don’t! Instead, you could always record an audio or video instead.

You could even legally, with permission, use other people’s video and embed them on your own blog or site. Of course, read the terms of use of the source before doing this.

Video sharing sites like YouTube allow you to embed other people’s video into your own site.

That said, you will have to write at least a couple of paragraphs that tell what the video is about. The main purpose of this is to provide “food” for the search engines.

You see, search engines are not able to crawl audio and video content (yet). So you need to have some text on your site to let the search engine ‘bots know what the video/audio is all about. But it’s much shorter than writing an entire blog post.

6. Let other people do the writing or talking.

Another way to create content without having to write too much is by interviewing others. The easiest way to do this is by sending your guest a list of questions.

Then all you have to do is publish their answers on your blog. You can even ask them to write their own bio.

You can do interviews through phone or Skype to create audio or video content.

No More Excuses

If you’ve read this far, I hope you realize that you’ve run out of excuses. Even if you are “not a writer,” you can still get your stuff out there and share your brilliance with  the world.

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to writing? Did any of the tips above address those challenges? Or do you have additional tips for other non-writers? Please share in the comments below.

Oh and, guess what? As long as you’re writing, then you’re a writer!

Get The Complete Step-by-Step Process

To Cultivate A Responsive List eBook (FREE)

Subscribe to download this guide for FREE and work through the steps at your own pace.

Launch A Profitable Podcast

Discover how to start your own podcast business, leverage it to grow an existing business, grow your influence, and more.

There's No Better Time To Start Your Store

Have Your Own Store By This Weekend. Get This Quick-Start Guide To Launch Your Own Profitable Store Online.

The Time To Start Your Service Business Is Now

Launch Your Own Service Business By This Weekend. Get This Quick-Start Guide To Starting A Service Business Online.

Today Is The Day To Kickstart An Affiliate Business

Have Your Own Store By This Weekend. Get This Quick-Start Guide To Launch Your Own Profitable Store Online.