Is Your Small Business Blogging Yet?
Does your business have a blog? Are you sharing information with your readers about what it is that you do and how you can help them build and grow their business? Do you have a wonderful tool, product, service, or widget that can be a money or time saver for other small businesses?
Blogging has become one of the most popular ways to get the message of your business and service out to the world. It is no longer just a way for people to share thoughts, pictures, recipes, wedding and vacation plans online with friends and family.
Business blogging is a very powerful marketing tool and every major industry uses blogs to ensure that their customers and clients are kept abreast of new developments and just about any other kind of news that needs to be available on the internet 24 hours a day. If you are not leveraging the Internet to market to a global audience and give your small business a decisive competitive edge, you are very likely leaving a lot of money on the table.
Combine blogging with social media marketing and you can literally explode your online presence in a very short time. By committing to posting to your blog at least 3 times a week you will create a wealth of content that can be used to advertise your services and build trust and rapport with your prospects. And search engines love blogs that are updated regularly!
By leveraging the Internet, your small business can get more done and complete effectively in a global marketplace, but this can be time consuming, and often confusing for a small business. That’s where outsourcing can help. Blogging is one of the services a highly technically savvy Virtual Assistance firm can handle with ease.
There are a number of great blogging platforms available today with the most popular being WordPress and the list below will help you get started with your blog.
A common checklist of blogging tehnologies that you may need to get started:
- Domain Name. I use and recommend GoDaddy for domain name purchases, but NOT for hosting. Be sure to purchase most extensions of your domain name such as dot com, dot net, dot biz, etc., to ensure that your name and brand is protected. Each domain name will cost about $11 annually.
- Hosting for your website. I use and recommend HostGator for hosting. Depending on the plan you need, your cost range from $4.95 to $12.95 per month. If you need a toll free number this is also available on their largest hosting package. You will be able to install WordPress from your cpanel using the Fantastico application. This is easy and quick.
- Premium WordPress Templates. I have several companies that I use a lot, but these are two of my favorites:
- If your website/blog will be functioning as a membership site, now or in the future, I consider WishList Member an essential plugin.
- Shopping Cart. 1ShoppingCart incorporates all of the tools your business needs to market and sell online in a single, easy-to-use web-based solution. If you need an affiliate program, you can build that in your shopping cart. The basic plan (I don’t recommend anything below this plan) will cost $59 per month and the professional plan, which includes affiliate marketing, is $99.00 per month. You can also make application here for a payment gateway through Authorize.net or PowerPay so that you can accept credit card payments on your website.
- PayPal account for accepting payments if you don’t currently have a payment gateway. This is free and you will only pay a fee when a payment is made. You will be able to use your PayPal account in place of a payment gateway if you prefer.
- Newsletter or email marketing software. Two excellent tools for this are Aweber and Constant Contact.
- Social Media Profiles. KnowEm Username Check allows you to check for the use of your brand, product, personal name or username instantly on over 400 popular and emerging social media websites. Grab your name and secure your brand before someone else does. They offer free and premium plans.
- LinkedIn Profile (FREE)
- Facebook Fan Page for Your Business. (FREE)
- Twitter Account. (FREE) For branding purposes we use and recommend TweetPages for a very professional Twitter background. They can also create and Facebook designs. Tell Matt I sent you!
- Gmail account – you will need this for various services such as Feedburner, Google Analytics, Google Maps, etc.
- Essential WordPress Plugins. The WordPress community has developed thousands of plugins and themes. If you haven’t tried out WordPress plugins yet, you owe it to yourself and your blog to give them a try. They’re amazingly easy to set up and can boost the functionality of WordPress to an astonishing degree. You will install these directly from your WordPress control panel:
Are you ready to start building?
If you are interested in tackling this project on your own and want to learn how to build a seriously professional WordPress website/blog my best recommendation is that you sign up for the next Go For Your Dream WordPress Website Workshop. This 4 week online e-course takes you step-by-step through the process of building your website using the Premium Dream Theme. There’s also an additional 2 weeks of basic training bonus modules on 1shoppingcart, Authorize.net, PayPal, and installing a Membership site. I highly recommend this training.
Too much information! I can’t even begin to tackle a project like this.
Another alternative is to have us build it for you. We are a Web Development company paired with a Virtual Assistance firm. What does this mean? It means that we do it all, from concept to launch. Our websites are turnkey, meaning that your social media marketing is built in, your branding is complete and all you have to do is blog! And we train you on the backend of your website/blog so you are in control of your content.
For a free 20 minute consultation please call us at 888-719-6711 or use our contact page. We are here to help!
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