business blog

A blog for your small business may seem like a weird idea if nobody’s told you how it helps you attract new customers.

The reason for a small business blog is simple: the more content your site generates, the easier it is for potential customers find you online. And though the term blog seems more appropriate for a personal journal (true, the origin of the word blog is “web log”), nowadays most websites have a link to their company blog in their main navigation.

So how do you know if you need one for your small business?

Easy. Answer the following three questions.

Question 1: Do You Want More Website Traffic?

This may seem like a silly question, but a lot of small business folks just have a single page website. They don’t have the time, money and/or need for anything more. Their business is either comfy and stable or their business development is based on word-of-mouth/one-to-one marketing. Investing in a website just isn’t on their radar. The only reason they have a website is to provide contact information, directions and store/office hours.

If you’re one of these lucky folks, here’s the great news: you’re done! No need to read any further. (Yay!)

On the other hand, if you’re looking for more website traffic, sooner or later, you’re gonna need a blog for your business.

What’s Your Shoe Size?

I know that’s a weird question, but bear with me.

The idea here is you need to increase your online footprint. That’s a fancy way of saying you need more and more content and links back to your website.

I basically break small businesses out into two online footprint shoe sizes, so to speak: those with less less than 100 unique visitors a month and those with with around 600 visitors a month. (Sure there are folks with thousands of visitors each month, but I’m not really talking to those folks. I guarantee you they already have a business blog.)

If you don’t know how many online visitors you get each month, you can install the world’s most popular free visitor tracking software by Google Analytics. BTW, if you need help setting it set up on your site, Rushminute’s happy to help, just email us. 🙂

If you have less than 100 unique visitors a month, I recommend starting with one blog post a month. If you blog for 6 months to a year, you’ll likely see an uptick in your monthly visits. Now there’s no guarantee you’re going to be pulling in tons of new business from your blog, but you’re laying the foundation for growth. And if you do just one blog posts a month, you’ll end up with 12 new pages on the internet. Google will then reward you with higher search results for the each specific topic you wrote about in your blog.

If you have about 600 unique visitors a month – but still don’t have a blog – I recommend a blog post a week. That’ll give you 50+ new pages for Google to associate with your website in a year. Good for you! You’re now starting to expand your footprint with 50 articles to promote across social media to help you attract new and upset existing customers.

Question 2: Do Your Competitors Have a Blog?

This is easy.

Click on four or five of your closest competitors’ websites and see if they have a blog.

If they do, check out how many blog posts they have. Do they have a few? A ton?

Don’t get freaked out, just note how many they have. All you’re doing is looking around and checking out what’s going on with the competition.

Next, check out how often they post. Do they post every week? Several times a week? Are they current or have they not posted in a while? Maybe none of your competitors are posting – which could be a good thing if you’re ultra-competitive and want to beat them to punch!

Lastly, check out what they’re posting about. Hey, for newbie bloggers, there’s no shame in reverse engineering their blog by checking out their titles/topics.

The main takeaway is that you now know it’s time to step up your game and get blogging!

Question 3: Do Your Competitors Have Social Media Backlinks?

The reason you’re looking at social media is to see how your competitors use their channels to link back to their blog posts. And answering this question is a bit more difficult because different industries use different social media channels. A lot of B2C businesses rely on Facebook and Instagram while B2B service companies tend to use Twitter and LinkedIn.

First, check out which social channels your four or five competitors use. Then for each channel, scan their recent feed to see how often they link back one of their blog posts. Is it several different posts a day? Is it once a week? Never?

Again, you’re trying determine what your competitors are up to. If several of your competitors are linking back to their blog posts, don’t freak out. And if none of your competitors are linking back to their blog, consider it a golden opportunity. The main thing to realize is that you can use social media to drive traffic back to your continually expanding and helpful business blog. 🙂

Conclusion

So there ya go. If you answered these three questions, you now know if you need a blog for your business. And, btw, if you need help setting up your blog or writing posts, feel free to drop us an email.

Cheers! 🙂

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robbie Moore is the founder of Rushminute, a digital marketing agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. With 20+ years of experience in digital marketing, Robbie has worked with dozens of companies and organizations, large and small, around the globe. He also writes extensively about design, development, and business in general.

Convert to WordPress

Do you have an old website that isn’t optimized for mobile devices? Is it really a pain for you to change anything on the page? If so, you’re a fantastic candidate for converting your website to WordPress.

You Got This

Lots of small businesses have clunky old sites that, for one reason or another, are hard to maintain and out-of-date. It could be the person who took care of it is no longer at your company. Or it’s just too hard to make simple updates like changing the phone number or deleting a photo.

Whatever the reason, converting to WordPress is not difficult. If you know how to cut and paste, you got this.

The Goal

Today you’re going to learn how to convert an out-of-date, hard-to-edit website into a fully responsive, modern-looking WordPress website in Four Simple Steps. (I would have said easy, but and I’m assuming you’re new to WordPress, so this will be all new for ya).

Step 1: Hosting

First off, you’re going to need a place to build your website. If your web host allows you to have more than one website – a.k.a free subdomains – on your plan, great.

Then again, you may not know what I just wrote.

No worries. I actually think it’s easier to not build your new WordPress site as a subdomain.

What’s a Subdomain?

A subdomain is an additional part of your domain. For example, if your web address is: store.yourwebsite.com, then ‘store’ is the subdomain and ‘yourwebsite’ is the primary domain.

Option A: Free Temporary Hosting

You can find a bunch of web hosts that offer free hosting just by searching Google. Just type in “top free wordpress web hosting cpanel” (I’ll explain what it all means later on, but what you’re looking for is a temporary place to build your website).

Option B: Your Next Home

If you have $100 in your pocket and are looking for a great new web host, check out SiteGround (here’s my SiteGround affiliate link). It’s recommended by WordPress.org and even at the lowest level of hosting, it’s extremely fast.

Whether you choose SiteGround or not, as part of signing up with a new web host, you’ll be assigned a login and password. Once signup is complete, your web host will send you a couple of emails with technical information – DON’T LOSE THESE EMAILS OR LOGIN/PASSWORDS – which you’ll need to set up your new WordPress site.

If you can handle this, congratulations, you just took the first step! If this sounds to scary, shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to set up a meeting to hold your hand or answer any questions.

Step 2: Install WP

If you’ve signed up for hosting, login and find something called the CPanel.

SiteGround CPanel

Then, in CPanel, find and click on the AutoInstaller for WordPress.

SiteGround AutoInstaller

CPanel is awesome because it has a “one click install” of WordPress. This makes life so much easier to convert to WordPress! Go ahead and install WordPress and be sure to copy down all the technical information in the setup process – like the password and admin email. And there’s no reason to be nervous, just Google “WordPress CPanel One Click Install Tutorial” and follow the step-by-step instructions.

One thing to be careful about is to select the proper location for your installation. I recommend http:www when your building your new WordPress site. Do not pick https:www or https. Switching to https is something you do once your new WordPress site is up and running and you’re using it instead of your old site.

Step 3: Pick a theme

The theme of your new WordPress site is its “style” or how it looks: the fonts, colors and layout. There are literally tens of thousands of WordPress themes available and with a little bit of tweaking, you can change the colors and fonts to make it match your company’s unique brand.

Option A: Free Themes

If you’re into a cheap solution, check out some free themes by doing a Google Search for “best responsive wordpress themes”. You can give these a try, but I’ve found most of them a bit tricky to figure out – and I’m a seasoned WordPress user.

I have found one free theme that I like called Customizr. It’s pretty bare bones, but it’s fully responsive and a great place to start if you want a truly free, full-featured theme.

Pro Tip: The only catch I’ve ever run into with free themes is that some of the parts or functionality aren’t available unless you pay full price (about $60). That’s why I don’t usually use “free” themes.

Option B: Buy a Theme

My favorite place to buy themes is ThemeForest. A fully responsive WordPress theme will set you back $60, which isn’t bad, when you consider that to get a similar theme custom built would run you about $25K.

Over the years, I’ve purchased a bunch dozens of themes, but there are really just two ways you can go:

  • a theme that’s niche specific
  • a theme that’s flexible

The niche specific themes are great, but in my experience they’re typically not updated by the theme developers. That means sooner or later, your site is going to start to degrade simply because the internet is constantly changing. It’s not a huge problem because you can simply buy a different theme in a few years for $60. The advantage is you’ll have a theme that “looks” like it’s custom made for your industry.

The second alternative is a flexible theme. I typically choose these for clients and my favorite is Enfold (though there are other great ones like Avada, Divi, X, etc.). The idea is they’re really easy to modify and make changes to and have lots of cool built-in components (a.k.a. modules or widgets). Most importantly, these themes have so many users that they’re always kept up-to-date and answers are easy to find simply by typing in your question into Google.

Once you buy your theme, you can head back to WP Admin > Appearance > Themes > Add New and activate your new WordPress theme.

Pro Tip: If you intend to do a lot of customizations to your theme, you will want to create a child theme. That way when your theme has a new update, you won’t erase all your custom settings like accent colors, fonts or your company logo. This is a bit technical, so if you want to make some changes, drop me an email and I’ll point you in the right direction or set it up for you.

Step 3: Cut and Paste or Magically Migrate

At this point, if you go to your new site, it’s likely going to look really boring and confusing. That’s because there aren’t any pages. What you have to do now is get your content from your old site to the new WordPress version. And lookee here: another step with two options. 😉

Option A: Magically Migrate Your Content

This option is really slick. It uses what’s called a plugin. A plugin is something you add to your WordPress site to do something beyond what the basic WordPress installation can do. In this case, a plugin called HTML Import 2 by Stephanie Leary will do the trick. What it does is it takes the text and pictures from each page on your site and moves it over to the new site.

Chances are it’ll look a bit wonky, but it might work slick as a whistle. It all depends on how your old site was built. It’s worth a try because it could save you a ton of time.

Option B: Ye Olde Cut and Paste

Personally, I prefer this method. You simply create a new page with the same title as the old page, then you copy and paste the text from the old site to the new site.

The reason I like this is because it allows me the opportunity to make edits along the way. I can break up paragraphs or add new, bigger, better pictures. For me, that’s a really important part of the process of going from old to new.

Step 4: Going Live

Last but not least is going live. In other words, making your web address go from your old site to your new WordPress site.

If you created the site at a new web host, it’s simply a matter of making the domain name point to the new IP address. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry. You can either Google it or ask me – happy to help. 🙂

If you’re on the same web hosting as your current site, call and talk to your web host about migrating your site from your subdomain to your main domain. It should only take a 15 minute phone call and a few hours for your new site to show up on the internet.

If you’re on a temporary free hosting platform, you can install another free plugin called WP Migrate DB. There are quite a few steps to follow, but the directions are pretty clear. Again, if you get freaked out about some of this technical stuff, feel free to reach out and I can point you to some other helpful how to articles on the web.

Conclusion

So that’s it! Four Simple Steps to convert your website to WordPress.

Get ready for your new, up-to-date website that looks great on all devices and is very easy to edit. Cheers! 🙂

________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robbie Moore is the founder of Rushminute, a digital marketing agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. With 20+ years of experience in digital marketing, Robbie has worked with dozens of companies and organizations, large and small, around the globe. He also writes extensively about design, development, and business in general.

Many small businesses are stuck in a business-to-business (B2B) sales rut.

They’ve built their business over the years with a variety of tried and true sales strategies, but they’re finding it increasingly difficult to drum up or land new business.

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a blog on your small business web site, you can reach out to prospects with relevant information when they’re ready for it.

Prospects Control the B2B Sales Process

The content you create for your blog is an essential part of what is known as your company’s digital marketing. Other examples of digital marketing content can be a Facebook update, a YouTube video or a new page on your website. The more content you generate, the larger your company’s “digital footprint”.

The larger your digital footprint, the more traffic your site receives – and the more B2B leads in your pipeline.

Nowadays, a blog is vitally important for a small business to show they’re active and thriving.

But it’s more than that: a great small business blog is more effective at nurturing leads than traditional sales tactics.

A study by the Kellogg School of Management found that a blog – in tandem with other digital marketing efforts – results in more leads and closed deals than in-person meetings. That’s not to say that in-person interaction is no longer worthwhile, it’s just that prospects now use the internet to learn about their problems and to find people who can help them. They want to figure out things on their own, at their own pace, then reach out when they’re ready.

A blog allows B2B prospects to feel like they’re in control.

Great B2B Content, Great B2B Leads

The secret to getting folks interested in your blog is pretty simple: great content attracts great leads.

The trick is figuring out how to make great content.

That’s where a solid content strategy comes in. You want to think about what makes your prospects tick and what pain points they have in common. Then you can generate content to address that pain.

The role of great B2B content is to educate and inform, not sell.

There are dozens of ways you can present the information, from short how-to posts to infographics to e-book downloads – and your blog can be used to promote them all. What your blog should focus on is providing helpful information, wherever your prospect is at on their problem-solving quest.

The common thread throughout all your posts is your ability to position your company as thought leaders. Your expertise should position you as an authority in your niche without being overly salesy.

How to Get Started B2Blogging

If your website is on WordPress, getting started is easy. If not, you should consider moving your site to WordPress as it’s the most popular platform for creating modern websites.

Beyond that, you need to accomplish a few things to get your B2B blog off the ground:

#1 Get Started

Sure, your goal is to create great content, but you need to learn how to walk before you can win a race. Start with the goal of generating one blog post a month. If you don’t know what to write about, do a little bit of research. Read what the leaders in your niche are writing on their blogs and try to do as good or better. After a few months, go for two posts a month. Then weekly. And if you’re up for it, try a couple of posts a week. Remember: the more content you generate, the more traffic you’ll get to your site.

#2 Get Better

Over time you’ll pick up skills, confidence and insights. Your blog will naturally start to gain momentum and you’ll be signaling to Google and Bing that you’re generating content in your niche. This is when you can really start to connect with your prospects with the exact information they’re looking for – and, of course, positioning your company as experts in your niche.

#3 Get Crazy

Explore ways to present information: videos, infographics or slideshares each have different ways to engage users. YouTube is the second-most visited site for a reason: people love being entertained. If you have basic video skills and can make even a mildly entertaining video, you’ll be way ahead of your competiton.

In addition to YouTube, explore free sites that can help you generate infographics and slide presentations to keep things fresh for you and your prospects.

#4 Get Strategic

As your blogging and content gen skills become more effective, you’ll need to pick up strategy skills. You’ll need to figure out how to get noticed by your ideal customers. This involves getting savvy about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), promoting your content through social media and continually refining your content so that your prospects don’t even notice your helpfulness is all part of your B2B content marketing plan.

By consistently posting helpful information, you can revitalize your sales efforts and drive revenue to new heights.

Let Rushminute Help

There’s a lot that goes into creating and maintaining all of your digital properties. We know. We’ve helped dozens of clients in the U.S. strengthen their brands with website makeovers, social media management and digital marketing. If you’re in the process of updating your site or need a “go to web guy” to help you manage your digital properties, Rushminute can help. Contact Rushminute or schedule a virtual cup of coffee and we’ll talk about your vision and how a great website can help you achieve your business goals.

________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robbie Moore is the founder of Rushminute, a digital marketing agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. With 20+ years of experience in digital marketing, Robbie has worked with dozens of companies and organizations, large and small, around the globe. He also writes extensively about design, development, and business in general.

 

What? Another series about how to learn WordPress?

That’s right. But here’s the twist: each video is less than a minute.

The video series covers the following How-To topics:

Stay tuned for our videos on our favorite WordPress plugins and Visual Page Builder basics.

Let Rushminute Help

There’s a lot that goes into creating and maintaining all of your digital properties. We know. We’ve helped dozens of clients in the U.S. strengthen their brands with website makeovers, social media management and digital marketing. If you’re in the process of updating your site or need a “go to web guy” to help you manage your digital properties, Rushminute can help. Contact Rushminute or schedule a virtual cup of coffee and we’ll talk about your vision and how a great website can help you achieve your business goals.

________________

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robbie Moore is the founder of Rushminute, a digital marketing agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. With 20+ years of experience in digital marketing, Robbie has worked with dozens of companies and organizations, large and small, around the globe. He also writes extensively about design, development, and business in general.