I first started my own small business when my kids were young. Doing photography gave me a creative outlet as well as an additional income source that helped allow me to be a stay at home mom. Naturally, I loved looking at other photographer’s work to help me get inspired. One particular photographer from my hometown always stood out to me. Her photos looked like something you would see out of a high fashion magazine; except classier. Then I realized she had a blog. At the time I didn’t even really know what a blog was. Why in the world did she write all of these blog posts on top of all the hard work she put into her photography business? Well, now I have the inside scoop and I totally get why some small businesses choose to start blogging. If you own a small business, should you be blogging too? Is there something you’re missing out on by not blogging? Maybe. Let’s run through all the potential benefits of starting a blog for your small business.
*This post contains affiliate links through which I may make a commission. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Now, I will admit, starting a blog isn’t a perfect fit for every small business. While that’s true, I honestly can’t think of great reasons why it wouldn’t benefit every small business! If you own a local landscaping business, creating a blog filled with tips on how to style your yard or maintain healthy plants would be a great idea. Your local clients would love these tips and it would be a great way to display some of your best landscaping before and afters. Just like local clients would appreciate this information, so would millions of other homeowners!
Even if you can’t think of exactly how a blog would benefit your small business, take a peek through some of the perks before you make your final decision.
Starting a blog helps people form a connection with you. People are more likely to purchase from someone they know. Representing yourself and your business through a blog is a great way to form personal relationships with people that ultimately encourage them to continue to purchase from you. We all know people in our life that we would never trust making a purchase from. Sometimes learning who we can trust happens the hard way. What we do know is that we want someone that we can trust and have total faith in. Customers who are looking to purchase products or services are wanting the same thing from your small business. They want to know they can trust you with their time and hard-earned money. Connecting with them through a single weekly blog post is a great way to start building that trust and get them talking about you to their friends.
Another great way of connecting is through weekly emails. Having a blog allows you many great ways to get people to sign up for your email list. I was able to grow my list from 500 to over 5,000 in one month with a few small tweaks. See the full story. Having an e-mail list for your small business is crucial because it allows you to directly share products and promotions with your (potential) clients.
I once stumbled upon the blog of a local photographer. She had taken some amazing photos during her family vacation to Disneyland and she gave all the credit to her brand new camera. This camera that was given to her from a major camera company in exchange for her honest opinion in a blog post!
Starting a blog can allow you to start collaborating with major big brands in your same line of work. Bakers can gain access to food companies or quality baking equipment. Home repair companies stand the chance to partner up with places like Home Depot or Black and Decker. No matter what your expertise, having a consistent, high quality blog can help you gain exposure to bigger opportunities that your small business may not have otherwise had.
Many people start a blog and think they will instantly gain national exposure. While this is totally possible, it’s really not that simple. Just like anything in life, you have to put in the work to get the reward. Being active on social media outlets, especially Pinterest, will help you get that exposure.
In fact, on Pinterest you can create pins specifically about any products you might be selling. This is an instant way to draw in potential buyers and start making sales.
If you have a more stationary small business, like lawn mowing or piano lessons, you may not think a bigger audience is necessary for growth. That’s true in a lot of ways since your clients will need to be local. However, don’t over-look the potential of branching out. Chip and Joanna Gaines operated local businesses and have been able to dominate the entire world (or so it seems) and it was due in large part to Joanna’s blog gaining the attention of people at HGTV.
Aside from the day to day of your small business, starting a blog has the potential to bring in multiple different sources of income for you as well. I’ll run you through two of the simplest ones.
Just like collaborating with big brands, you also have the potential to get started working as an affiliate for some of them right off the bat. Depending on what your small business does, there will be a variety of affiliate programs available to you. If you own and operate a landscaping company, you could easily suggest some high-end, quality tools for people to use when doing their own landscaping. Amazon Associates would be a great option in getting started with this type of blogging. You can search for the products you’re recommending, add a link to your blog and if anyone makes a purchase, you will get paid a commission.
Amazon affiliate program is extremely easy to use and a great way to get comfortable with affiliate marketing, but if you are not selling higher priced items, you don’t stand to make much of a commission.
If you are creating hand-made products out of your home, share the equipment you use. You could do an entire blog post on your work space and create affiliate links for people to purchase some of the things that were demonstrated in your post.
It can be intimidating, but affiliate marketing is actually a very simple way to start bringing in additional income through your blog. One blogger is actually making over $50,000 PER MONTH through affiliate marketing alone. Her course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing will walk you step by step through exactly what you need to do to get starting making money with affiliate marketing.
Ads. We all know ’em and probably hate them. That’s why I try to have only 2 ads displayed on my blog at any given moment. I don’t want to be known as one of those spammy sites that drive everyone crazy with popup ads and videos. Even though I keep my ads limited, I still make a good amount of money each month by displaying them on my site.
A great way to get started is through Google Adsense.
Alright! This blogging thing sounds great, how do I sign up? There are a few important things you need to know about when it comes to getting a blog started if you don’t already have a website setup.
If you are really wanting to spread the word about your small business and it’s great products, it’s important to get set up with a self hosted site if you don’t have one already. While there are a lot of tempting free website builders out there, (hosted sites) you won’t get the same results as you would by going self-hosted.
Two major downfalls with hosted sites:
Two major benefits of self-hosted:
Downfall of going self-hosted:
I know it can sound super overwhelming if you’re not sure what to do. My mind was racing when I first learned everything it took to start a blog. Don’t stress, I have a step by step guide on how to get your blog self hosted with BlueHost. BlueHost is the host I have used since starting my blog and they have helped it become what it is today. They even did all the work for me when I wanted to completely rebrand and change my blog entirely! Read my full story here.
After getting a site name set up and hosted with BlueHost, you will get to choose your layout and start designing with WordPress! WordPress has free layouts for you to choose from, or you can choose from beautifully pre-designed themes. Checkout some of these theme shops to get an idea of what layouts are available:
If you are putting all the work and effort into building and maintaining a quality site, you’re going to want to make sure you call for backup! Once your site is all set up, you’re going to want to get yourself set up with the Jetpack plugin. Adding Jetpack will help ensure your site is safe and secure from spam and will keep your files backed up so you don’t lose anything!
Does your small business have products or services? You can get your shop setup easily with WooCommerce. WooCommerce works with WordPress and allows you to sell either products or services. “…sell anything from luxury mattresses and cupcakes, to kayak lessons and hand-crafted jewelry.” They also have great tutorials to help you learn how to make the most out of selling with them.
So maybe writing isn’t your thing. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Getting ideas together will become more and more natural if you just stick with it. Ask yourself these questions:
Get creative with different things to put on your blog. My biggest recommendation when it comes to getting blogging material is to stalk other people. Yup, I’m totally promoting stalking. Find bloggers who have topics similar to your small business, and read what they are writing about. What do magazines related to your small business talk about month after month? Maybe you should get a subscription! I’m not saying to copy other people’s work, that’s illegal, but these can be great sources to get some inspiration from.
No matter what you decide, I highly recommend getting a set schedule and staying consistent. Even if you are only consistently writing one blog post a week. Start where you can and stick with it. You won’t find success any other way!
Building a Framework – Building a Framework is the best course for getting a new blog up and running. I purchased Building a Framework early on in my blogging career and it completely changed the way I blogged. Abby teaches everything from how to start to how to start making a profit.
Food Blogger Pro – Food Blogger Pro is a terrific online course you can take that was created by the creators of Pinch of Yum. They have seen tremendous growth from their food blog and share all their knowledge with you to help you succeed as well.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate marketing is a great way to create an income from your blog. So much so that one blogger shares her secrets to making over $50,000 a month from it!
Pitch Perfect Live – Pitch Perfect is a course I took hosted by successful blogger, Jenny Melrose. She will walk you step by step through how to pitch to brands and what to do once you’ve got them.
10 Day Blogging Quick Start – A 10 day course that teaches you step by step how to start a blog. Created by successful full time blogger Abby Lawson.
10 Easy Tips to Increase Your Affiliate Income – Just enter your name and e-mail and you will be enrolled in the course.
5 Day Blogging Bloopers – Al my personal blogging mistakes. Avoid making the same mistakes by taking my course.
Brand Pitch Cheat Sheet – A helpful cheap sheet to get you started working on pitching to brands.