This is a guest post by Bailey Digger, she writes on the topic of web design degrees.
If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Much of the talk on the web today is centered around the fact that business websites seem to be becoming obsolete; what with social media taking over the online world, do people even need their own sites in order to promote their businesses and sell their products and services?
Isn’t it enough to just establish a presence on Facebook and/or Twitter and try to interest at least a few of the 500 billion people with profiles in their products and services?
Not really, because while social media is a great marketing tool, it cannot replace your company website which provides your organization with uniqueness, credibility and form. So the best thing to do is to use Facebook, Twitter and other social media to drive customers to your main website, from which you can continue to interact with them.
Most small businesses or freelancers use blogs as their main website, and if you belong to this category, you must remember to do the following:
- Ensure that the About section is clear and concise – it should contain a short yet unambiguous description about your site, about what you do for a living, and about the kind of business you hope to achieve through your blog.
- Organize your content into sections, each of which relates to different aspects of your business.
- Ensure that your blog entries are consistent with the events of your business – it may be a blog, but that’s no reason to bring your personal life into it. If you want to use your blog as a journal, do so under a different profile and id.
- Respond to user comments honestly and promptly.
- Use your blog to promote events and launches, to invite job offers and to connect to your customers.
- Don’t use your blog to spam other blogs or to badger customers – send out emails only to those who sign up to receive them, and make newsletters and other promotional email as an opt-in rather than an opt-out service so as to avoid being labeled as spam.
The trouble with using blogs as your main business site is that many of your visitors don’t really understand what your business is and what you’re offering them by way of products or services.
So the best thing to do would be to get a website of your own with a separate section for a blog which you can use to update visitors and customers about your policies, innovations and events. If you cannot afford to host your own site, stick to your blog, but make it as businesslike as you possibly can.
This guest post is contributed by Bailey Digger, she writes on the topic of web design degrees . She welcomes your comments and you can contact her by email: baileydigger189(@)gmail(.)com.
My about page is very popular and it has been re-tweeted and shared on facebooke over 65 times from my page..the about page can explain who you are and what you do.
BTW Andrew..Can you can contact me on my contact page..Its very important..I need your help.
“Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”
People like to read about the person behind the blog so I can understand why yours is so popular!
My business site is using WordPress as the CMS and many of my information pages are actually posts with the ability to make comments.
But, nobody comments which is fine with me because that’s not really the goal of the site.
So really, for all intents, it’s jsut a site that uses WP as the CMS and that works pretty good, BTW.
Using WP as a CMS is a perfect strategy.
Many of my clients just want a website – not a blog – and I still use WordPress.
I agree that it’s best to run a blog and a business website.
Blogs are powerful branding tools but it’s best to separate the copy you’d use on a capture or landing page from that of a blog. If you include squeeze page copy on your blog you’ll be seen as a shill.
In the same respect, if you include blogging-type, content based copy on your business page it will be difficult for visitors to understand exactly what you’re offering them.
The About page is highly visited page on most people’s blogs. Before trusting the advice we want to know the source. Enter the About page. Be as clear as possible in describing what you do and most of all, be personable. A few nice pictures of yourself or of you and your family let visitors know that yes, you are a real person.
Showing your human side disarms potentially skeptical visitors and can also help you to build connections with your audience.
Thanks for sharing your insight Bailey.
I can undertand what you mean by not mixing business pages with blog pages/posts.
Many of the WordPress premium themes make that quite easy to do.
It would also help if your blog is highly optimized, and thus has better chances for online visibility. Since your business’ online presence is solely dependent on your blog, it might as well rank high in Google.
You are right that social media has taken off, but that is not a substitution for your website it’s just a complementary method of getting more exposure for the business you have.
Also, setting your blog in a professional way, with all the information (about your business) clearly available and providing helpful post related to what you have to offer, is a good way to make your blog become the main business.
In my experience, business owners start with a website…then add a blog…then add social media.
Getting and having all 3 is the best approach.
If you are running a business, then the website is obviously not about the blog.
If your demographic consists of folksy types, then personality in the blog is essential. But if your demographic is business executives, they may see that as unprofessional.
The job of the blog on a business site is to support the selling process. As such, it’s a sales tool that must be wielded in the same fashion as the other tools used for that demographic or particular customers base.
In other words, there is no hard and fast rule for what a blog should be, or how it should be used. But I do believe it’s use should be seamless and consistent with the overall company presentation, face, message–however you want to define that.
I’m a little bit torn about this post. If you’re a multinational corporation, fine, don’t put any personality into your blog or website (not that that’s the best thing to do, but it’s the most accepted thing to do). But I think it really depends a lot on the nature of your business.
I think one of the keys to a successful blogging business IS being personal and that some of the worst blogs out there are the ones where the author is 100% absent from the articles. It’s hard to like, let alone build trust with, a robotic blogger.
I like what you said about social media vs. blogging. It’s so true; connectivity and networking can’t replace good ol’ information.
Thanks for the thought-provoking post! I enjoyed and retweeted it.
I’m with you when it comes to personality and blogs.
I left in Bailey’s views as it is her post and I’m interested to see how she responds to your comment.
Excellent article Bailey, and a prime example of way you should read an entire post before commenting.
My entire business model is showing small business owners (specifically in direct sales) that they NEED an accompanying blog to their business site.
I read the first couple paragraphs and wanted to go Cujo all over you. LOL
I enjoyed the article. Blogs need to simplify, often they are so cluttered and un-relevant. I like the idea of having a blog, but not as your main site.
It’s really tough to make money with your blog as your main website However, I have seen it done with great success for some WAHM’s. They post tutorials and how-to’s with lots of photos to illustrate the different steps, and these women are very creative and make a nice living so they can remain at home and raise their kids.
This is how I aspire to be. Thanks so much for this helpful article!
I think it really depends on what you choose to do with your blog. Many people choose to use their blog as a platform to market a product rather than a business site itself. That being said, sometimes creating a landing page for people entering your blog is a good idea since most people would not get the whole idea at first glance.
So i think its a good idea to have a landing page as well as an about page. An about page can talk about who you are while a landing page is where you would include things that can give any first time visitors a rough idea about what the blog is.
Hi Andrew and Bailey
I believe it depends on the blog. Rick puts it more succinctly than I do. Probably because he is an experienced marketer and has seen what really goes on in the business world.
As a blogger and being new to marketing I am learning heaps. I have an active community interacting on my blog but it is only a platform for my sourced products. The blog gives free information on my chosen niche but is still an integral and important part of my business plan.
Patricia Perth Australia
Thanks everyone for your comments and appreciation.
Tristan, I did not say your blog must be devoid of personality, just that it’s not nice to use your business blog to air your personal grievances. There’s a marked difference between personality and “personal life”. All I meant was that your business blog cannot be a journal that details all that goes on in your life; rather, it must offer your visitors what they’re looking for. It’s up to you to know how to let your personality shine without including details that are personal and could possibly put off your visitors.
Dennis, thank you for reading through before you formed an opinion.
Rick, I agree with you that there is no hard and fast rule of what a blog should be and that it depends on what you want it to be and achieve. But yes, as you said, it is necessary that your blog should seamlessly integrate with your main business page and the message from both should be unambiguous and clear.
Andrew, thanks again for allowing me to post on your site.
Bailey, having such the same mindset we should consider some collaboration. 😉
You’ve never asked me to collaborate!
Wait, aren’t we already? Sorta? Where’s the new one btw lol
That’s a good set of bullet points, almost all of which I’ve gradually implemented over the last year or so.
I also want to give a +1 to your point about the blog being a section of the business site, not the whole business site. Initially my business blog was my front page, but since I gave it a section of its own, and made the front page a “landing page”, I get more leads.
That is exactly what I am thinking of doing…making the front page a landing page.
I’m studying the same issue here for about a month now.
My front page initially became complicated, cluttered and full of way too much information. The thought was to show as much value and content as possible and this would capture eyeballs.
This was about a year ago.
Now, i have come full circle in my thinking and I am studying sites every evening and trying to plan out a redesign.
Now I want the home page to provide very clear and compelling paths to 3 or 4 of my company’s main functions. It also needs to be awesome looking so, well, people like to look at it!
I know. All very basic, but when you do it ALL yourself, then you have to travel some of the same (wrong) paths that have been already figured out before you.
Oh well, it’s all a learning process.
I’m still in the ‘thinking’ stage. I know I want to do it and I shall…just a couple of other priorities first.
For sure. I know. There’s a lot of pieces to it not even considering the main piece – the redesign, both functionally and aesthetically.
There’s the figuring out what to do with all the current data, pages, taxonomy, etc., and what that will look like in the future site and how it will be organized and accessed.
All without breaking the site or hosing your SEO positions.
I have a very small 15 page site I use to test all ideas on. It’s at http://www.atlantatownhomeinfo.com/ and you can see it almost exactly parallels my main money maker site. It’s a Thesis site as well.
I try all experiments there and if I like them, I move them to the main site. I test out all plugins, new menu ideas, styling ideas, etc., etc.
In the last week, I’ve tried a few Woo themes on it and even the Genesis framework with the Agency child theme (aka Copyblogger).
Didn’t care for either. Genesis is great but Thesis is even more customizable and other than that they are basically the same product.
To me, the Woo themes come across a little cartoonish in the end.
So, I’m full circle back to Thesis and figuring out a no sidebar front page (basically a landing page) and how the rest of the site will look and be organized.
I’m glad you said ‘fun’!