Do you need a blog for your business? Yep. Why? Because blogging works. But there’s one catch here that most people don’t seem to grab hold of when they first start blogging. I didn’t get it at first either.
If you’re going to launch a blog that you’ll be running yourself, you should definitely, without a doubt, FOR SURE…
Blogging is one of the most effective, affordable, and profitable marketing tools a small, new, or bootstrapping business can use to make money. But blogging and creating content for the web is time-consuming. And if that isn’t your primary business, you can end up putting in a lot of work then questioning whether your efforts are really worth it.
There are about a billion digital properties currently online, each fighting for the attention of two billion Internet users. That means you have to find a way to rise above the noise.
A great strategy to implement if you’re going to start blogging to promote your business is to focus your attention on specific topic. Try to appeal to just a segment of your target audience and provide them with information about the things they want to know about.
In his book, The Longer Long Tail, Chris Anderson talks extensively about focusing on selling greater quantities of product to a smaller segment of your target audience.
Uh-huh. How does that translate into blog content?
I’ll tell you.
First, let’s get the obvious hiccup out of the way: The narrower your topic, the better your chances of getting found for your specific area of expertise. But it’s also true that the narrower your topic, the smaller your audience.
That’s not a bad thing though.
Let’s say you run a nursery with lots of greenery, flowers and gardening tools. You may be tempted to blog about all things green in an effort to attract the widest audience. There are several challenges you face by going this route.
First, you’re not going to be able to turn out enough content to meet everyone’s need unless you hire a team of writers. And contrary to popular belief, great writers ain’t cheap.
The second challenge you will face is that going wide puts you in a position where you’re competing online with everybody from HGTV to The Huffington Post, both of whom occasionally publish content about plants.
If you “niche-down” your blog (that is, narrow your focus), you may decide to zero in on creating content that helps novices develop a green thumb, for instance. You will be targeting a smaller audience, but you will have a better chance of getting and keeping their attention. You could blog about topics like:
- Which plants are the safest indoor plants for pet owners
- How to quickly grow tropical plants
- When to re-pot your spider plant
- How to recognize poison ivy from a mile away
- Fifteen edible plants to plant in your yard
- Six edible plants that you can grow in your apartment
By only targeting new gardeners, and plant lovers who have special circumstances like living in apartments or raising small children, you can draw droves of potential customers who may have a hard time finding what they are looking for on larger sites that publish masses of content on every aspect of your industry, but not enough content on the topics that specifically appeal to them.
Just think about it: If you’re a novice at something, you do want information, but what you’re really looking for is guidance. You want a step-by-step plan to accomplish what you want to accomplish.
When you are trying to grow your business with a blog or use blogging to position yourself as an expert, your best strategy is to be very specific about who you’re talking to, and use the momentum you create to build a loyal and growing following of a very particular type of customer.
By the way, search engines love good blogs on specific topics. She whom the Great Search Engines loveth, gets the first of the traffic.
One of the challenges many micro businesses face is finding the most effective ways to market so they get found online. If you’re not an Internet marketer it can be difficult to find the time to make DIY online marketing efforts worth your while.
For all it’s simplicity, Internet marketing ain’t all that easy. It’s time-consuming enough just to learn the jargon – content, backlinks, SEO, keywords, long tails, CTR, PPC, PPM, on and on… Let alone the fact that tomorrow (if the Google gods see fit) the entire landscape of online marketing could change.
I’m going to let you in on one of the easiest strategies you can use to get found online. And you won’t have you to attend several days of YouTube University for it to work.
It is this: Add a Product and Services section on your site, not just a single page where you list your products and services.
Why You Need to Create a Page for Each Product or Service You Offer
The Services / Products section of your site is made up of a series of pages. Those pages should quickly answer a single question for your customers: How can you help me?
As awesome as your products may be, your customers don’t care about your products. Your customers care about their own problems. If you position your products and services as solutions to their problems, you can close the distance between your customer’s first visit to your website and an actual sale.
Search engines rank individual pages, not entire websites. So, make sure each product or service you offer has its own page that search engines can rank.
Think about the last time you searched for something online. You probably asked Google (or your search engine of choice) a specific question: “What time does Fung Lim’s close tonight?”
Maybe you didn’t ask an actual question; maybe you searched just by saying keywords: “Chinese restaurants near me” or “Chines restaurants 48220”
If this is the way you search, you’re not an anomaly. That’s how most people search now – few words, no filler, very specific.
Search Engines Rank Individual Pages, Not Entire Websites
With that in mind, if your customer conducted a search using just the name of your city and the service they were looking for, would your website come up in Google search results? Would your customer be able to find you online?
Check out the screen shot below. As I was writing this article, I conducted a search for the term “avocado nutrition benefits.”
In the screen shot above, you can see “avocado nutrition benefits” in the search bar, and the featured result comes from AuthorityNutrition.com.
Authority Nutrition is not a website about avocados, Authority Nutrition”provides daily articles about nutrition, weight loss and health,” according to its About page.
But Authority Nutrition has at least one page on its website about the health benefits of eating avocados. Authority Nutrition isn’t the only health website that does.
In the screen shot above, you can see results from WebMD, Medical News Today, Well-Being Secrets, and Organic Facts. Each of the websites showing up in the search results for “avocado nutrition benefits” contain at least one page on their site that is about the nutrition benefits of avocados. None of the sites are websites specifically about avocados.
That’s what you want to happen when people search Google for answers to problems you can solve.
You want specific pages on your site to be so well-written and so succinct that search engines know what your page is about and can recommend it to people when they are searching for the service you provide.
Your Products and Services Are Your Keywords
Think of each product or service you offer as a keyword – that is, an actual search term – that your customers are using to find you and your competitors online.
Make sure search engines can find you, not only by your industry (as in “plumbers in Decatur, GA”), but also by the specific products and services your company provides (as in “how to fix a busted pipe”).
You exponentially increase your chances of getting found online by creating one page for each product you sell offer.
Describe your product – the features and benefits, how it works, how it helps. Include any testimonials you’ve received or case studies you’ve conducted in support of the products.
Your product pages are basically sales pages. And they are key digital real estate on your website. Include images of the product and a description of what you have to offer. Also list specs, prices and what the user can expect to receive by using your product or service.
Use Geo-Locational Keywords to Get Found Online
If you target customers who live or work in a specific area, they will probably search for products and services in that region. For instance, someone who is looking for lawn services will search for local landscapers.
“Landscapers in Atlanta” or “Denver snow removal”
If you offer a product or service that is specific to one geographic location, add location to the products and services you offer. A Denver-based landscaping company may have the following pages on its website:
- Denver Topiary
- Snow removal in Denver
- Lawn services in Denver
- Denver Hardscape design company
Help your customers find you. Once they find you, use your smarts and good web design to help make the buying process easy.
Here’s a Quickie for you.
The “About Us” page is the section of your website where you direct the reader’s attention away from what you have to offer and focus more on answering core questions:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why they should care
The “About Us” page is the part of the website where you tell your story and demonstrate your value.
The “About Us” page generally serves two core purposes:
- To build a connection by engaging the reader, and
- To establish the value and build trust by telling the backstory that eventually led to them finding you
Companies often have multiple “About Us” pages, in the form of company information, corporate culture, mission and values, and bios of key personnel.
When this is the case, it’s good to include each topic as a separate drop-down item under the “About Us” menu. Doing this makes it easier for your readers to navigate your site.
Different Types of “About Us” Pages
- Bio – This is the “why you should trust everything I say” page. The bio is often written as a third person narrative. It is the go-to choice for professionals who want to establish their expertise in a certain area. The bio leans heavily toward chronicling your technical or functional competencies. Its job is to establish trust based on these competencies. It focuses on providing specific brand-building information such as academic pedigree, professional experience, credentials and career achievements.
- About Me – The About Me section of your site is like “bio lite.” Usually, companies will write the About Me section in the first person to make it read more like a short story than a list of credentials. This page leans more toward chronicling your behavioral competencies and facilitating empathy to establish a connection between you and your customer. It can focus on the challenges you have overcome, your values, job-related discoveries, and personal or professional goals. It’s the “I’ve been you” page.
- Our Story – For corporate websites, this page helps to bridge the distance between brand and consumer by delivering a compelling backstory. Popular backstories are ones where regular people play a key role in the company’s conception, development and ultimate success. The “Our Story” section of the site can help the company demonstrate relevance and add a human element to a corporate entity. It’s the “This company is an ‘us’ not an ‘it’” page.
- Mission – The Mission page relays to the reader why the company, brand and/or site exists. It defines the function, audience and promise of your website and business. Your mission statement should reflect your company’s culture and personality and mimic your company’s voice. It is a reflection of the brand itself.