Small business blogs are perhaps the most difficult to design and maintain. An entrepreneur needs to balance multiple objectives – sales and marketing, customer support, attract new talent – and at the same time establish a professional tone and maintain a formal persona online. Based on the characteristics we looked at in the personal blog and corporate blog posts earlier, the small business blog lies somewhere in between. So how does an entrepreneur create that perfect blog that achieves all these objectives? Here are a few mistakes that a small business owner can surely avoid when designing a blog.
Costly Mistake #1: Ownership rests with me
Most small business blogs tend to have the business owner(s) as the authors. Encouraging all your team members to blog can paint a healthy picture of the workplace. Different people with varied interests not only present different perspectives about the product or service, their unique writing style can attract different readers – some like satire, others love a theoretical discussion, and some want to know how to get things done. As we saw in corporate blogs, you can get one person to concentrate on one service and become an expert. If maintaining multiple blogs is too much of a burden, you can definitely encourage your employees to write on different topics on the same blog.
Costly Mistake #2: Hiding in Obscurity
Compared to big organizations, you are still building your brand and establishing yourself as a provider. Identifying and giving information about each author associates a face with the content and makes it more believable. In time, with increased readership, people might come to like one or two of your bloggers over the rest – for style or topic. Provide a list of your bloggers so the readers get to read about them and can access their posts. Similarly, information about the blog sets readers’ expectation about the content.
Costly Mistake #3: Who Needs a Blogroll?
Having a Blogroll may seem a bit casual or just a ‘link building’ tool to you, but linking is not its only purpose. The Blogroll is mostly shunned now because it is considered politically incorrect to play favorite to a few. But let us go beyond link building and favoritism. A well maintained Blogroll can offer value to your readers. You could also use it for persuasion and provide links to articles from your industry leaders who talk about the need of services and products like the ones you provide.
Costly Mistake #4: No RSS Feed or Subscribe box
Website hits are not the only reason you blog – not if you don’t intend to earn by advertising. You are creating a blog to keep your readers informed about new products, services, and company news and updates – aren’t you? Lack of features that allow readers to subscribe to the blog is one of the most common mistakes small business blogs commit. But you can fix this in two ways: create an RSS feed or add a subscription box.
However, both work in different ways and have a different impact. RSS is a more passive form of sending updates to the reader and useful if you do not wish to burden your reader’s inbox. Here, the readers will see the updates only when they view their RSS feed. Conversely, readers who subscribe through a subscription box receive updates and newsletters in their inbox and have a higher chance of noticing the update.
Costly Mistake #5: Creating videos is too time consuming
Yes, it is. But what if people just don’t read and move on? Web sites are increasingly peppered with videos and we know that the millennials’ reading habits are much different than the earlier generation’s. But a recent study by Forbes on video preferences online confirmed that even business executives now prefer video messages to reading text online. Use videos to support your blog posts, these could be interviews from experts and industry leaders. If you are writing about a new feature and happen to have a video on YouTube, embed your product videos in the blog post and provide readers an alternative medium.
Start correcting these mistakes and let us know how it worked out. We would also love to have you on our LinkedIn group where we discuss everything related to blogging.
And if you feel overwhelmed by the blogging process, you can always contact us for a free consultation.