By Matt Brady
Microsoft's Steve Clayton back in October 2006 gave 7 reasons why SMEs should blog. In a sort of homage to that piece, I
present my 5 reasons why a small business should consider launching a
- Traffic! Blogs are great for attracting (and driving) traffic. Here's why:
Publishing content on a blog is dead simple. Do it often, and the
search engines will like you for it. The more frequently you post
new articles, the more frequently those pages will be "crawled" by
search engines and indexed. More pages on the site mean more
pages for visitors to see.
- Bloggers link to bloggers. If other website
owners and bloggers consider
your content important enough, they will want to link to you. Not only
will you get
traffic from those sites, but search engines will reward the page in
question with a higher ranking (an inbound link is very important in
terms of climbing up search engine results, as a link is interpreted by
search engines as a vote or endorsement of your web page).
- Publishing content on a blog is dead simple. Do it often, and the
- It can make your business stand out. Marketing guru Seth Godin wrote a hugely successful book about a purple cow
(incidentally, why do popular business books feature animals so
much?). Of course, purple cows don't exist: Godin is suggesting
that the key to success in business is to stand out. A blog,
allowing you to excite and engage with readers through original
writing, can indeed make your business remarkable.
- It doesn't cost much. You don't need an agency to set up a blog for
you. You can do it yourself, save the cost and do things your way (the right way!). My personal
blog costs me £3.99 per month (that's less than fifty quid a year).
Registering the domain name cost me nothing. Find the appropriate
blogging platform for your needs and just get started. You don't
need a whiz-bang blog with a slick design - just quality content.
- It allows you to get closertoyourcustomers. When blogging about your
business, you're effectively opening up and letting readers into your
world - what you're planning, who you're meeting, who you've met, who your co-workers
are, where you've been, what mistakes you've made, what successes
you've achieved etc. It makes you look honest and friendly. By
allowing your readers to comment on your content, you are giving them
the opportunity to tell you and whoever else is reading what they think
about you, your products or your services. But it doesn't end
there: you can comment back, and thus a conversation is born.
It's a brilliant way of engaging with your customers, building trust
and gathering essential insights and feedback.
easy. You don't need to be an HTML expert. Blogging tools
are designed so that no technical knowledge is required to get
going. They will take care of the theme/template for you.
In my opinion, content really is king: write with passion, authority
and dedication, and you're on the right track to making the blog a
Now here are two existing small businesses who have made the leap and launched blogs:
- The English Cut
- Once upon a time, a marketing consultant and a Saville Row tailor
were enjoying a drink together in the pub. The consultant (who
also happens to be a very funny and influential cartoonist), Hugh MacLeod,
convinced the tailor, Thomas Mahon, to blog, saying that people will
care to see his website if he blogged with passion and authority.
The blog was launched in January 2005. Whizz forward a bit and
interest in Mahon's business exploded - thanks to The English
Cut. On a pre-blog visit to New York, Mahon sold 2 suits.
Post-blog and he sold 20 suits and 8 sport coats. As MacLeod
himself explained, "The blog represents as much as a 300 percent increase in new business in less than 10 weeks."
- Flowers... uncut
- The blog for online florists Arena Flowers. The Arena Flowers
team published the following, superb explanation on why they decided to
create a blog:
"[The blog] was actually an easy decision for
us. We’ve got a website but no shop. We don’t do any print or TV
advertising. We’re a fully online business. We occasionally talk to our
customers on the phone. We also communicate with them through our copy
on the website. And through email. But most people don’t really read
those things and only in very unusual circumstances do they ever see
one of us face to face. So it’s fair to say that our customers don’t
really know much about us at all – but yet we expect them to entrust us
with their money.
A lot of individuals don’t really want that stuff
anyway; they just want good service (we’re delighted to provide it)
and, on the basis of our website, they’re happy to trust us despite not
knowing us. But some people do want to know who they’re dealing with,
they do want to know how their product was sourced, they are interested
in what makes the business they’re interacting with tick. For those
people, we think this blog will be an opportunity for our team to be
transparent and open about who we are and what we’re trying to achieve.
In our blog, we’ll talk about what we’ve done to build
Arena in the twelve months since we decided to set up the business, and
where we went wrong. We’ll talk about flowers, of course, but also
about ethical sourcing and the daily nightmare that is Google’s natural
search rankings blood bath. Basically we’ll talk about who we are as a
business and things that we think people might want to understand about
Next time, I will cover blogging platforms...