How To Start A Blog For Your Small Business
I’ve been getting a ton of questions about why I switched my spray tan businesses “information only” website to a blog.
If you are a small local business owner running a service type of business (Massage Therapist, Stylist, Bridal Business, Photographer, Make up Artist, etc) you will want to keep reading.
An information only website is one that just has a few pages that explain what the business does and has the basics like where you are located, what services you offer and how to get in contact with you. Kinda like the online version of the phone book. Very simple and straight forward.
A few years ago this would have been sufficient for your online presence.
In 2018 not so much.
The problem with this type of website……It’s VERY easy to get lost in the crowd.
Within this post there may be affiliate links to the products I am referring to. If you purchase a product through one of my links it will NOT cost you anything but I will receive compensation.
There are millions of websites out there (and more going live each day) and there is most likely more than one business just like yours in your town.
So how do you stay one step ahead of the competition and really connect with your potential clients?
Let me explain….
My website was doing ok. Floating around at the bottom of page one of Google and sometimes page two in an organic search.
People were finding me sometimes but my competition was also right up there on page one. I did NOT have a solid lock on my page one standing. So if my potential client wasn’t seeing my webpage then they are definitely not calling to book my services. Because there really isn’t a page two of Google.
Something needed to be done.
After some research, I realized that a blog would allow me to hit that page one rank consistently, by providing Google and my customers with the additional information about my business that they needed to want to show my website.
This would also established me as an expert in my niche (spray tan business) with all of the great content that would be added to my webpage.
So I made the super scary leap and switched from my GoDaddy web builder information webpage to a WordPress platform.
I switched my website to a blog format in September of 2016.
This would allowed me to easily:
- share information with my clients as I need just by writing a blog post
- update information and product recommendations at any time without the help of a web developer
- add affiliate links to products that I don’t carry in my studio and get PAID (more on that later)
It’s kinda a genius set up!
After a little over a year with my new webpage I have to say I would NEVER go back!
I now have a solid lock on my page one Google standing, I am making money off of my webpage, clients are calling because my webpage is showing up on the search engines and my web traffic is through the roof.
At the time of this writing 40,000 page views this month.
A year ago that traffic was at 430 for the whole month. I am doing 4 times that amount a day now.
Those are real eyes reading my webpage and searching for ME. I am not having to pay for advertising at this point, wondering if the right person will see my ad. I know for sure that the people coming to my site are there because they want to learn more about me and my business.
They searched for me and my service. They want to know what I have to say.
My blog has brought more high quality clients into my shop because more people are finding me through SEO and general Google searches. It’s been a win/win for my business and my bottom line.
All because I wrote a few articles about my business, answered my clients questions and recommended a few products.
Another really great thing that I learned about is affiliate income. It’s how I am making money from my webpage and how I gave myself a raise.
How do I make money from my webpage?
A little thing called affiliate marketing that pays you for the products or services that you recommend to your readers.
Sound like magic? I thought so too. I also wasn’t sure it could work for my business.
I am a service based business which means that the traditional time for money exchange eventually locks me out of making more money because there is only so much time in a day.
And let’s be honest, I really like to sleep!
So how can I give myself a raise without having to book more appointments?
I had been introduced to the idea of affiliate marketing in a class that I took. It was new to me but the concept intrigued me and I was willing to give it a try to see if I could make it work.
My goal at first was just an extra $100 a month.
At this time I am happy to report that in a years time I am making an additional $400-$500 a month of passive income (meaning that once I set up the blog post with the links that this runs on auto-pilot)
Blogging lets me make extra money (can you say side hustle) just by sharing my thoughts with my readers and linking to the products or services that I recommend.
These are the same products and services that I was sharing with clients in my studio for free but I am now getting paid for what I recommend.
It’s amazing to me that I can actually make money with my website!!!
It didn’t happen overnight but as the web traffic increased so did the number of people purchasing through my links.
Starting a blog for my small business ended up being really easy and it was way less expensive then the web builder platform that I had been using before. For just a few dollars a month you can have your blog up and running!
If this sounds like something you would like to learn more about keep reading. I am going to walk you through easily setting up your own small business blog and explain why WordPress is the platform that I use.
More details below.
Why I Use WordPress For My Blog
After a ton of research what I found was that if you are serious about your small business webpage being found online you NEED WordPress. And I am talking about self hosted WordPress.org NOT the free WordPress.com.
It technically offers you all the things that you need to make Google happy and actually let your customers find you. Something that the FREE web builder platforms don’t offer. And it’s what the pros use for their websites and blogs.
So let’s walk through the easy steps to getting your webpage started.
Choose your hosting service.
I think that picking where your website is going to live is the most important part of getting started. What do they say in real estate? Location, location, location. And this is true for where your webpage lives as well.
Your hosting service provides you with tech assistance, your websites uptime (or downtime-never good) and loading speeds.
You want a service that is affordable and top quality. You want a hosting service that is helpful.
My favorite hosting service is SiteGround. I used to have my accounts with GoDaddy but the confusing layout and constant charges and upsells became too much for me. Moving my site was a little scary but SiteGround was amazing, super helpful and had great communication. I have had zero problems since the move and zero additional charges (imagine that).
Since I have really enjoyed my experience with SiteGround I signed up to be an affiliate with them and I am able to offer you discounted pricing to get you started. Up to 60% off. Good stuff!
Choose your web address otherwise called a domain name
If you already own a domain name for your business then you are all set with this part. If this is a new website then your domain name is the name of your business or the name that you would like to use for your blog. Some people have a lot of fun with this part and others get overwhelmed with all the options.
Don’t stress! Just keep in mind a few key guidelines and then have fun with it!
- Stick with a .com
- Don’t make it too long
- Choose words that are easy to spell
- Make it easy to remember.
How To Install WordPress
SiteGround makes installing WordPress super simple. It’s a one click install if you want to do it yourself. If not guess what. They will do it for you. Can’t get any easier than that.
Pick a WordPress Theme
Now here is where the fun starts. Your theme is basically the layout of your webpage.
WordPress is an open format fully customizable platform and if you know code and all the techy back end parts to website building then have yourself a good time and dive in.
I on the other hand have no abilities in that department and I require a theme.
As do most people that I know.
So where do we get these themes?
There are thousands to choose from. There are FREE themes and paid themes. There are FREE themes with the option to upgrade to the Pro version when you are ready.
Two places that I like to shop for themes are StudioPress and Theme Forest. Think about the layout, fonts and general feel of the theme as well as any additional bells or whistles that you may need like the ability to have a shopping cart on your website if you will be selling anything.
After you choose the one that you like best its an easy download to your computer then an upload into your WordPress back end, activate and you are in business!
Congratulations You Now Have WordPress Website!!!
Whew! So that wasn’t too scary was it?
The two hardest parts for most people are choosing the domain name and the theme, mostly because there are so many options. Try not to get sucked into the rabbit hole on these choices. It’s very easy to loose yourself in there.
Really the rest of it is very straight forward and only takes a few minutes of your time.
So now that you have the first steps of getting your blog website started its time to get to work sharing your thoughts with the interwebs!!!