Have you ever tried to start a business online? Wondered how others are raking in money while you are struggling to pay your hosting fees? Or why no one seems to care about that awesome product of yours? Well, if you have, I have a solution for you.
Or if you are an absolute newbie in the make money online bandwagon, I guess you could use it too. 🙂
This is the first post in a series that breaks down the steps involved in starting an online business into chunks. And here, we start with a blog.
Just imagine you walking into an electronics store and trying to find a product. Let’s go with a TV. So, you are just entering, and the store looks amazing. Great interior, and have a large variety of TVs to choose from.
But there’s an issue. You can’t find a customer service assistant/salesperson to talk with. You have some doubts you need to clarify before finalizing a TV selection.
The only person in the store other than you is the cashier who seems impersonal and hides behind a desk. Would you feel comfortable purchasing your TV from there? (I know I don’t. Unless you are absolutely tired of sales spiels, you won’t be too I think).
Or would you prefer to go to a shop where you can actually communicate with people and form opinions?
The glossy interior of the first shop may persuade you to purchase from that shop. But do you think you will revisit it when you are in the market for another product? ( Need honest opinions here. Leave a comment if you disagree. I am curious).
On the other hand, a store where you get to know the people who’re selling you the product will make the buying process much more comfortable. Don’t you think? You feel at ease when you buy from someone you know, rather than a total stranger.
That’s the case in the real world, where you can actually see the person who’s selling you the product. Now, what about the online world?
I agree that we purchase things from the big brands without ever having a communication. But what about the individuals who are selling you a product? When was the last time you went to some website and purchased a product or ordered for a service on your first visit? And by the way, how did you know they existed in the first place?
Rather than being impersonal, building a relationship and trust is what one should concentrate when trying to start a business online. And that’s why we are starting our online business journey with a blog.
Do I need a blog? Will it help my business?
If my long-winded example above wasn’t good enough to prove my point, here’s 4 important reasons why you need to have a blog when you start an online business.
1. It helps you to connect with your audience
Did you check out the list of mistakes you need to avoid when you start a business online? Then, you know not engaging with your customers and not offering the best customer experience is bad for your business.
You need to connect to the people to whom you are trying to sell your product. If you don’t know what they are looking for, how are you going to serve them?
And if your audience has no idea what your product or business is all about, how are they going to trust you when you are still in the startup stages?
Through your blog, you are offering your customers an overview of what you stand for.
By connecting to them through your posts, you are sharing your ideas about what you think. You are getting feedback directly from the group of people you are appealing to.
By understanding your customers better and by giving them an opportunity to communicate with you, you are building trust.
This creates an interaction and intimacy that will drive them to your product when the time for purchase beckons.
2. It boosts your website traffic
How many times can you update your product website in a year?
You have at most 5 or 6 pages and that includes your marketing spiel and contact details, your home page, landing page and maybe an FAQ, right.
So, that’s 5 or 6 pages you have in search engine listings. Unless someone knows what your product is and such a company exists, how often do you think someone will stumble on to your website?
And since it doesn’t have anything that retains a customer and prompts them to check out this new product, they won’t stick around.(Cue the sad music for lost sales here!!)
That’s why you need a blog. For each post you publish on your blog, you are getting a listing in the search engines like Google.
So, when someone searches a solution to their problems and your blog post comes up, it shows them that you know what you are talking about.
Unless your content is self-defeating, they will stick around and check your site. Also, if you are helpful enough, they will come back to you when a similar problem occurs.
This is bringing you a loyal following of potential customers.
You are actively marketing to a specific group of people whose problems you can solve. This is the basics of content marketing and is a really effective strategy to drive sales.
Also, by publishing regularly in your blog, you are giving your customers more opportunity to engage with you in social media.
They act as your promoters. This boosts your traffic even further. And all traffic is good traffic.
The more traffic you have, the more the chances of your search engine ranking will improve. And this will bring in much more traffic.
This is a win-win situation for both you and your customers. You get more of them and they a solution for their problems.
3. It gives you a platform to get your voice heard
What makes you different from your competitors?
Are you trying to solve complex customer issues?
Are you offering a better product than your competitors?
All these can be topics of conversation you can spread through your blog posts.
Your ideas and aspirations, your ideals and motivation – all these can be explained and communicated to your audience while captivating them.
This creates an intimacy between you and your audience.
If you are bringing in an innovation to the marketplace, what do you think is the best way to promote it?Instead of getting an ad or a social media post that’s forgotten easily, you can publish a post about the behind scene actions that lead to this product.
You can go on and on about your product’s features and how it helps to solve your customer’s problems. You have a platform that allows you to get your voice out.
4. Establish you as an authority in your field
Would you rather purchase a laptop from Apple or company ‘ABCDEF’ who’s new to the market?
One is an established market leader and we know almost all we need to about their products. The other is the newest of technology companies to emerge in the market and we don’t know anything about them.
Both products are expensive and the specification bandied about by both companies are impressive.
So who gets your vote?
Normally, we will go with Apple. Why?
They are an established authority in the field. We know their product quality and what they stand for.
We know they have the expertise to back up their claims. And we don’t know anything about this ‘ABCDEF’.
This is the power of being an authority.
Even if, ABCDEF produced a product that’s better than any other laptop manufacturer, we chose Apple due to their authority in the field.
While blogging consistently about the issues your customers face and potential solutions to it, you are establishing that you know what you are talking about.
It gives an impression that you are not a newbie trying to portray them self as an expert. You are proving your mettle in taking care of your customers.
Now that you know why you need a blog, let’s go with the next question – Which blogging platform to use?
When I say blog, I think WordPress.
I think most of the world agrees with me too. Having doubts about my claims?. Here are the stats.
So what’s so cool about WordPress?
First, its free to use. It’s opensource and that makes it easy to use, modify and distribute. We love free things, don’t we?
Next, There’s plenty of help available if you get stuck while using WordPress. Due to its immense popularity, its one of the most talked about topics on the internet. For almost every problem you encounter, there are detailed solutions documented already.
It’s easy to learn and easy to use. And due to the huge amount of plugins readily available, you can add all the functionalities you need to your blog with a click.
The opportunity to stylize your blog in any way you prefer with custom themes. And again, changing the look of your WordPress website or blog as easy as clicking a button.
It makes SEO easy and with the use of plugins you can fine tune, it becomes a routine you don’t even think about in the long run.
And last but not the least, it’s flexible and offers an opportunity to create any type of website you want – whether it’s a blog or eCommerce site or a membership site.
How much longer should I keep on singing the praises of WordPress? I could go on and on, but since we are busy people, let’s just agree WordPress is the best and move on. Okay.
Okay now, you know the stats. You know blogging is good for you and your business. But why are you still hesitating? Are you worried that you are not technical enough to build one from scratch? Or that you don’t know enough to create constant content for your blog?
Not to worry folks. Here, we are trying to build a business from the bottom up. We will show you how to. All you have to do is to make up your mind. And prepare for the hard work ahead.
Be on the lookout for the next post in the series where we go through the exact steps you need to take, to create an awesome blog for your business.
What do you think? Do you agree that a blog is essential for the business? Leave a comment below and let me know what’s stopping you from starting one.