The new hot commodity is a blog for your small business so you've decided you must have one.
Before you begin think about it long term. Where do you think
the blog is headed? What is the objective? Do you want it to be
found by the search engines for specific terms? How often
will you post? Who will the audience be? What will it look like
a year from now? Five years from now?
If you think you may have this blog for a long time, consider
hosting it with your own domain name. Blogger provides you
with a free domain name (name.blogspot.com), or the option
of ftp to your own domain. If, at some point in time in the
future you want to move the blog and you've been using the
blogspot name, you won't be able to take it with you. This means
that all of the people who have your blog in their reader will
"lose" you. It also means that you'll have to start from ground
zero with the search engines.
Do some digging before you jump. A couple of good networks
where you can get some education are:
- Blogging for Business at http://blogbrandz-network.ryze.com/
Make sure you sign up for the "Blogging for Marketers" email course. Priya has loaded the course with good blog information (and it costs you nothing).
- Blogger Forum at http://www.bloggerforum.com/modules/newbb/
The Blogger Forum is very welcoming to newbies. Browse around
and just by looking at previous posts, you can learn a ton. they also have a section on blog platforms which talks about the different options available.
Once you're ready to go, what are you going to write about? Make sure you've brainstormed ideas so you don't run into the inevitable writer's block. You can always start with what you've written before. Do you have a newsletter? Look through your archive and "refresh" some of those old topics as a blog posting. How about your website? Do you have content you can turn into a blog topic? Do you participate in online forums or discussion lists? Find some advice you gave to someone there and turn it into a blog post.
This should get you started. Remember that small business blogging is a long term activity. Be ready.
Denise O'Berry is a small business expert who helps small business owners take action to grow their business. Don't know what to write about? Get the cure for blog writer's block at http://www.whatspossible.com/blogidea/