Tips From the Community - Should I be Blogging?

The majority of you are probably savvy to the fact that a blog is the living part of your website. It’s where you could, if you wanted, talk to your audience every single day, or every hour or every minute. But let’s face it, that’s the real problem, isn’t it? Most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t have the time to blog every minute, let alone every day. Plus, finding blog topics poses another serious dilmma for small business owners. 

I’ve always questioned the benefits of business blogging until I started doing it for my husband’s business, Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture, Inc.

We started our high-end furniture business in 2004, and had a nice website built. However, we didn’t upgrade our website until 2011, and suddenly we had the ability to blog on it. At first we had grand plans. Ryan decided that he would blog once or twice a month and for a while he did – a short while.

His first post was on January 22, 2011. It said this: “I will do this.... LOL. I have a few ideas and hope to be entertaining. I compose slowly so practice will be necessary. Is this post even legit? Maybe a bit more worthwhile content....”

Ryan’s second post was 2/9/11.  He managed to write three more blog posts, including a popular post about the worst woods for splinters, that still gets hits today, but then the blog went silent for over a year.

In September 2012, I decided to start blogging on RTSFurnitureDesign.com once a week. The results were astounding. Within a month Ryan’s website went from getting around 30 views a day to receiving anywhere from 130 to over 200 hits a day. It’s been over four months, and this trend continues.

We aren’t positive that the blog has generated any sales yet, but it is certainly generating more interest in Ryan’s company. Each week I post the blog on Ryan Schlaefer Fine Furniture’s active Facebook page and I tweet about it using @RTSFurniture. I also post it to Ryan’s G+ page and LinkedIn account.

So what do I blog about? Here are some examples:

9/12/12 Does your turkey deserve a new dining room table?

9/19/12 Castles & other things that inspire our furniture

9/26/12 Why we chose Loveland, Colorado

Our most popular blog post to date was posted on 10/3/12, Owning a business isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle and it seemed to strike a chord with other small business owners. It was shared widely on both Facebook and Twitter and received hundreds of hits.

Blogging tips:

Don’t sell on your blog, but if you do, try something like my Does your turkey deserve a new dining room table? post.

Use photos, but give credit. Blogs are notorious for lifting photos without asking permission or giving credit. If you want to use a photo from the web, ask permission first. Photos on your blog are GREAT, because you can link them to your Pinterest page, and photos for a businesses like Ryan’s are crucial.

Talk about your community. Take The Armory’s blog, for example. Often we write about coworking and business topis, but other times we write about Loveland, Colorado, the town in which this coworking space is located.

Talk about YOU (but not all the time). People do business with people they know. You don’t have to blog about intimate secrets, but let your audience know a little about you so that they feel connected and invested in you as a human being, not just a business person. Talk about what inspires you – is it travel? Food? Sports? Let people feel as though they know the real you. Tip: If you have a larger company, interview employees and turn those interviews into blog posts.

These are my basic blogging tips. Feel free to ask questions or leave your own suggestions in the comment section. I realize that finding time to blog is probably the hardest part of this equation for the small business owner, but if you keep it simple – once a week, 300 words, and be consistent, you’ll find that the rewards far outweigh the hardship.

Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer is a freelance writer and founder of HeidiTown.com. She has been coworking since early 2010.

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