🎉 How to Start a Blog for Business & Build Your Own Magnificent Website! 🎉

Hey there, savvy business owner! Have you ever thought about starting a blog for your business? Maybe you've heard whispers about its magical powers to boost your online visibility, or perhaps you're just curious about what all the fuss is about. Well, you're in the right place, and I'm here to share the sparkling secrets of the blogging world with you.

Blogging isn't just a trend; it's a powerhouse tool that can supercharge your business. And the best part? It's woven right into your website, a dynamic part of your online presence. But hey, don't just take my word for it; let's dive into some impressive facts that'll have you itching to hit the keyboard:

🌟 More Leads, More Opportunities

Did you know that B2B marketers who embrace blogging pull in a whopping 67% more leads than those who shy away from this strategy? That's right, 67%! Imagine the doors that could open for you, the connections you could make, and the difference it could mean for your bottom line.

🌟 Your Time is the Only Investment

Unlike some marketing strategies that come with hefty price tags, blogging only costs you one thing: your time. And what a worthy investment it is! Crafting thoughtful, engaging content creates a unique connection with your readers, turning casual browsers into loyal fans.

🌟 Boost Your SEO and Visibility

Here's where it gets really exciting: Companies that blog receive an eye-popping 97% more links. These links are like golden tickets, boosting your SEO and skyrocketing your visibility in search engines. Imagine your website proudly standing tall on that coveted first page of Google!

Ready to Start Your Blogging Journey?

Starting a blog for your business is like planting a seed of opportunity. With love, care, and a sprinkle of creativity, you can nurture it into a thriving garden that attracts visitors from all corners of the web.

And guess what? Building your own website to host this blog is easier than you might think. With user-friendly platforms, dazzling templates, and an ocean of resources to guide you, you'll have your own slice of the internet in no time.

Did you know that there's a vast ocean of opportunity out there, just waiting for you to dive in? I'm talking about the digital sea of searches, where an estimated 90 billion queries are tapped into search engines every single month. Yep, you read that right: 90 billion! That's a staggering 45 times more searches than there are users on the Facebook platform. Mind-blowing, isn't it?

Now, imagine a portion of those searches leading straight to your business blog. Picture curious readers discovering what you're offering, being charmed by your voice, and ultimately becoming part of your engaged audience. It's not just a dream; it can be your reality.

But—and it's a significant but—there's a right way and a wrong way to set up your business blog. Do it right, and the searchers will find their way to your virtual doorstep. Do it wrong, and your voice might get lost in the vast wilderness of the internet, leaving you feeling like blogging success is a secret club where only "others" hold the key.

Don't panic! That's where this post comes in.

I'm here to guide you, step by step, as you embark on your exciting blogging journey. With a bit of wisdom, a sprinkle of strategy, and a whole lot of passion, you can create a business blog that resonates, attracts, and thrives.

Choose Your Website Hosting

Ready to take control of your online presence? It's time to chat about something super important: web hosting. Yep, it's like the land for your virtual home, and it's where all the magic happens.

Let's clear something up first. You might be thinking, "Why not just have a free blog on LinkedIn or another social media platform?" Well, my friend, I've learned the hard way that free isn't always free. If you get banned, or if the platform goes under, you lose all your content. And that's a heartbreak no one wants to experience.

But here's the good news: You can own your content by having your own website. Social media platforms come and go, but your website? That's yours, and no one can take it away from you.

The First Step: Choosing a Hosting Company

Think of your website as your online home. If that's the case, then hosting is the land it's built upon. And just like in real life, you've got choices.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Know Your Needs: The hosting you choose now might be different from what you need in a year or two. Don't stress too much about finding the "forever" host. Focus on the present and find what suits you now.
  2. GDPR Considerations: Be mindful of where the data is stored and processed for compliance with GDPR.
  3. Check the Security Measures: Ask what security is in place to keep your site safe and sound.
  4. Domain Name Included?: If following instructions isn't your thing, opt for a host that includes a domain name. It makes life a little easier.

I know this sounds like a lot, but don't spend all your time researching. The most crucial part is getting started.

And since I'm here to help, let me recommend WPX for your web hosting. I've got experience, and I love what they offer. Curious to know why WPX is so great? Check out the article below, where I spill all the beans.

Your online home awaits, and I'm here to help you lay the first brick

SSL Certificates

Finally, make sure your hosting will help you install an SSL certificate on your site, as the search engines will be looking to send their users (your visitors) to a safe and secure site. An SSL certificate is a sign of this.

Please also note: Your hosting company can help you with many things relating to hosting your website. They will not design it for you, or show you how to design it. They will not complete updates on your blog, or fix rogue code, broken themes or broken plugins. This isn't part of your hosting plan. Tech support will be limited to your hosting issues and not your blog or website issues. Some hosting companies will offer you a paid upgrade for these services. 

Selecting a domain name for your blog or website.

If hosting is the land that your virtual presence is built upon, your domain name is your door number of your house; it's what people type in to find you. Some people use their own name (they're a personal brand) and others use their company name (a business brand). A smaller group of people use a keyword in their domain name which helps boost their findability online.

Should you use your own name as a your domain name?

Yes, if you are a personal brand or people will search your name. No if you plan to sell your business.

Do you need the word "blog" in your domain name?

If you want a phrase that is common, then it can be hard to get the domain name. Adding the word blog, or, online will help.

Can I change my domain name if I don't like it?

Of course. You can have several domain names including the .com and .co.uk of your name or company name.

Complete your hosting registration.

You've picked out the perfect domain name, and now you're all set to finalize your hosting. Exciting, right? But wait, before you dive in, I've got some insider tips to make this step a breeze.

First things first, let's talk about payment. You'll find some tempting deals for paying a year in advance. But here's my friendly advice: Consider starting with just 3 months. Why? Well, sometimes we change our minds, discover new needs, or simply want to switch things up. By opting for 3 months, you have the flexibility to reassess at that point. It's like trying on a new outfit—you want to make sure it's the perfect fit before committing long-term!

Now, when you're putting in your details to wrap up your hosting registration, pay special attention to the email address you provide. Make it one you check regularly because this isn't just any old email—it's your lifeline to important notifications like invoice reminders and maintenance alerts. Think of it as the key to managing your online business effectively.

Imagine missing out on a vital update just because you used that old email address you never check? Yikes! We don't want that.

So, grab a coffee (or tea if you prefer!), settle in, and take your time with this step. Your hosting is a vital part of your online business, and we want to make sure you start off on the right foot.

And remember, you're not alone on this journey. I'm here cheering you on, every step of the way. You've got this!

Remember: 

The most common reason websites "go down" is forgetting to pay the invoice for either the hosting or the domain name.

Installing WordPress.

Guess what? You're about to embark on one of the most thrilling parts of your journey – building your very own website! And don't worry, you don't have to be a tech genius to pull this off. We're going to use WordPress, and trust me, it's like the friendly neighbor of the internet world.

You've heard of WordPress, right? It's the backbone of the web, powering a massive chunk of online sites. Why is that good news for you? Because it means finding help if you need it—like a designer or a coder—is a breeze. Plus, with a magical library of "plugins," you can make your site do pretty much anything you want.

Ready to dive in? Great! Here's what you need to do:

  1. Navigate to Your Hosting Dashboard: You'll find a link to something called cPanel (or something similar depending on your host). Give that a click!

  2. Look for Softaculous or "Install WordPress": It might sound fancy, but it's really your gateway to the wonderful world of WordPress. With WPX hosting, it's as easy as one-click. Really!

  3. Follow the Guided Steps: You'll be asked for a username and password. Here's a pro tip—make them unique and strong. Mix in letters, numbers, and symbols. (Don't make it "password123," okay?) Write it down somewhere safe if you think you might forget.

  4. Use the Wizard if Available: Some hosts are extra friendly and have a wizard that walks you through everything. And if you get stuck, just search online. Help is never more than a click away.

See? Building a website is not so intimidating after all! You're crafting something incredible, and every click brings you closer to unveiling your masterpiece to the world.

So go on, let your creativity flow. And remember, there's no "wrong" way to build a website, just like there's no wrong way to paint a canvas. Have fun with it!

Create Your Reader Avatar

Once WordPress is installed the next step isn't to make your blog look pretty. The next step is to think about your reader avatar. Who will read your blog? What problems are they looking to solve when they reach your blog? How will they contact you or stay in touch? When you have a business, the reader avatar is the same as your ideal customer. 

Do Your Audience Research

Once you have your ideal client / reader avatar established the next phases is audience research. This is the part where you look online where your readers are, and find out a bit more about them. 

  • Where do they currently get their advice from?
  • What blogs/podcasts/video do they follow?
  • What content do they share?
  • What content do they want but can't find?

Audience research is an ongoing activity when it comes to blogging for business. Set up a folder in Dropbox and add in your audience research. This can be screenshots, it can be interviews, it can be memes that are shared. The more you know and understand about your audience the better your business blog will be.

The best business blogs are continually keeping their finger on the pulse of their audience. 

Writing your Home Page

Once you've completed your reader avatar and audience research it's time to write your home page. When you installed WordPress the default theme was installed. This is a plain theme and probably won't fit your brand perfectly, we will look at changing your theme after you've written your home page.

What Content Goes on Your Home Page?

  1. Main headline - what your website has to offer. Keep it short. Keep it simple.
  2. Sub-headline: This where you talk about your audience's biggest pain point and how you help your ideal readers. This page is not about you, but them. No one likes to go on a date where the other person only talks about themselves. No one likes it online. Don't be that person. Focus on your reader.
  3. Add a call to action above the fold (the part of your website your reader sees without having to scroll)
  4. Add a visual or a video welcoming the reader. Some times an explainer style video is used. Use what you are most comfortable with. you can always change it later. 
  5. Share the benefits of working with you and why they would want to work with you rather than someone else.
  6. Share your testimonials & social proof - your audience need to feel safe, reassured and confident in your expertise.
  7. Make sure your navigation is clear so your reader knows where to go next -they will want to look around if they like what they see.
  8. Your reader has only just found you, they may not be ready to buy, so guide them to your subscribe page and your blog.

Write this in a Word document so you can catch the typos, and have it ready to add to your business blog's home page. 

Selecting & Changing Your Theme

Login to your WordPress website. When you are logged in you will see the backend or dashboard area of WordPress. On the left hand side you will see a menu. Scroll down until you see appearance.  Click "appearance" and you will be taken to the theme section of your website. Here you can see the designs that come with WordPress, and you have the opportunity to add your own. 

Here are some of the themes that we use on a regular basis. 

Divi is a framework create by elegant themes, and it comes with many child themes that slot into the parent framework. Divi is a popular choice for website themes and if you need help, you will be able to find someone who can customise Divi pretty easily.

Thrive Themes have a great theme builder. This site is built upon their Kwik theme, and every part of it is customisable. It's faster than Divi to set up, and comes with a wizard that walks you through the steps. You can choose your design, add your brand colours, select your fonts, and be ready to go in 20 minutes. 

I love the templates that come with this theme - it makes your life easier by having ready made layouts. If you have Thrive Architect as well, then, you can access hundreds of templates so you can easily create your perfect website

Each year WordPress release a theme. This can be customised and is free to use. 

If you are starting out, and you business isn't fully established then using a free theme is a great place to start.

You can change your theme at any time. If you change from Divi, you will need to remove the short codes on the pages and blog posts when you active the new theme. You will have this with most page builders (tools to help you create your pages faster). The exception to this rule is Thrive Architect (there's a light version in Thrive Theme's Theme Builder). Here you will have the text revert back to the usual WordPress editor. 

Writing Your First Blog Post

My first blog post was 50 words and it took 2.5 hours (yes, you read that right!) to write. Your first blog post will come easier when you follow these tips:

Create Your Contact Page

As you're using your blog for business you need a way for your prospects to get in touch with you. 

A contact page is a great starting point for that.

Add a new page to your site, and call it Contact. 

  • Write about your business location, add directions and embed a Google map. 
  • Add your phone number
  • Add your social media follow links
  • Add a contact form
  • Let people know when to ring, when to stop by (opening hours or hours of business) and when to fill in the contact form.

Publish Your Privacy Page

Data privacy is a big thing, and your audience will want to know about how you take care of their privacy. WordPress creates a starter privacy page for you when you set up your blog. Without a privacy page you will have a hard time getting other sites and businesses to take your site seriously. 

  • Write about how you use data in your business
  • Add any data company registrations (like ICO in the UK)
  • Note down how someone can contact you / Add a contact form
  • Be honest with how you use data. Don't pretend you don't do something when you do. I say in mine that I have the Facebook tracking pixel installed, which in theory allows me to show ads to the visitors of this site. I also say that I don't actually do that because I don't have the time for FB ads along with everything else. 

Optional - Create a Subscribe Page

A key to creating a successful and growing blog is to regularly publish new content. But what would it be for, if there are no people to read it?
Nowadays, having a separate page for subscription is a must. It's up to you how to design it and what to include, but we can still give you some advice:

  • Don't overload it with information. That's what the other sections of your website and blog are for. Include a short overview, maybe showcase some feedback or a list of articles that people enjoyed the most, and keep it clean and clear!
  • Give your visitors a reason to subscribe. Let them know what they can expect from you and what kind of content you're planning to post.
  • Don't clutter your subscription form with unnecessary fields. 
  • If you decide to give your readers a choice of different subscription options, analyze those options beforehand. Make sure that subscribing to several of them at once won't end up in your notifications flooding their inbox.  

Create Your About Page

When people visit your website for the first time, they have to know what makes your business stand out and what you're offering to them. This is what "About Us" can do for you!

There are many things you can include, but the best approach would be:

  • Tell the story behind your business. Why did you start it? What motivated you? When did you do it?
  • Describe how your offer is unique. Let your customers know why they should be interested in your products or services and not go to your competitors instead.
  • The "About Us" page is a good way to include information that you wanted to include into the homepage, but felt like you were cluttering it.
  • Another interesting information to include would be a small description of your company morals or business model. Introduce people to your high standards!
  • If you're going for a clean homepage, try integrating press mentions, reviews and testimonials into your About Page! That's the best place for people to find them.

Basically, this page of the site is an introduction. A chance to tell your story and convey your mindset. Use it to the fullest!

Protecting your blog 

I hear lots of stories about WordPress website security. So, lets put a few of these myths to bed.

WordPress Myth: WordPress sites are easy to hack 

WordPress is a robust piece of software. It has lots of built in security aspects and you can add in extras if you want to. It doesn't matter how great WordPress is if you use an easy to guess password and fail to update your themes and plugins.

WordPress Myth: WordPress always needs updating

Just like a car needs a service, your business blog will also need to be updated and maintained. This takes approximately 30-60 minutes a week and is easily outsourced.

WordPress Isn't Secure

WordPress is part of an eco-system. As well as the WordPress element, there's themes, plugins and hosting to factor in as well. If something goes wrong it's easy to blame WordPress as it's the biggest component of your website. 33% of the World's websites are on WordPress, and they wouldn't be using it if it wasn't secure.

Hosting will clean up after hack

You are responsible when something happens to your business blog or website. Your hosting company will not clean up your site if you're hacked. You will have to do it yourself or hire a company to do it for you. Having a back-up of your site is very important. You can't rely on hosting back-ups as they may be contaminated as well.

There's a wealth of security plugins to protect your blog. Here are some of the ones I like to use on the sites I build:

  • Wordfence - this is a freemium plugin and the one most people use to protect their WordPress website
  • UpdraftPlus - this is a back up, freemium plugin, and will take a back up of your new blog. Many hosts back up your website, but you also need your own back up. Trust me, you will thank yourself for acting on this piece of advice.
  • Bullet Proof Security - Another freemium plugin that includes Malware scanner, Firewall, Login Security, DB Backup, Anti-Spam and other things you don't know you need until you need them.

Publishing Content Regularly on Your Blog

It's no secret that to keep your audience invested, you got to constantly supply them with new and relevant content.

For a start, decide how often you want to make updates. Posting too frequently is almost as bad as not posting anything at all: it can push people away instead of attracting them. Caveat - it's depends on your niche. For example, if you are publishing several times a day on a fashion site, or a gossip site, or an industry news site then you're posting about the right amount. If you're a tradesperson, then you can publish weekly and it be just the right amount. Most business owners find 2 or 3 times a week is about right for them. You might find that your audience is seasonal and you slow down posting in the summer months and more in December.

You get to choose your frequency when posting. Set up a posting schedule for yourself and adjust as you need too.

After you've decided on the posting schedule, create a content plan. Having a structure definitely helps. Select topics you want to write about, put them in order, come up with a way of linking them together to give your readers a chance to learn more.

Making your posts regular allows people to know when they can expect new content to come out. They can look forward to an upcoming update and be more invested into what you're doing.

Images for your Business Blog

Google Images isn't a free library where you can just take an image and add it to your website. Images will probably be your biggest blogging expense for your business blog. We recommend creating branded images for your site, and using images that reflect your audience. 

WP Plugins to Grow Your Audience

WP has several plugins that can help you increase your reach. From the ones that can help you analyze your SEO data to the ones that encourage social media sharing, the list goes on and on.

For example, some of those useful plugins are:

  • GDPR Framework plugin will help you meet some of your responsibilities around GDPR including cookie consent. 
  • Convertbox captures the emails of your visitors and reminds them about your website. It can create a personalized offer for each customer, based on their activity on your website, while sending them reminders in the right moments.
  • Inline Related Posts for internal linking that detects headlines and paragraph breaks. If you can't remember to link your content this will help.
  • Monarch is one of the best plugins when it comes to encouraging the social media sharing. It has a broad choice of social networks to choose from, as well as great customization and design options. This is included in your Elegant Themes membership.

There are plenty more plugins and features to choose from. Just keep in mind that while it can be great to implement several of them at once, using too many could ruin the overall experience for everyone.

 Analyze what exactly would your visitors like to see and give them just that. 

Don't Want to Do it Yourself?

We'd love to help put your business blog together. We have two options - branded (as in you have no brand and we help you create it) or un-branded (as in you already have branding for your business and want to add this to your blog).  Let's have a chat!

About

Sarah & Kevin Arrow

Sarah and Kevin Arrow have been in the thick of the online marketing world since 2006, and they're buzzing to share their know-how right here with you! If you're keen to get noticed, they're the experts you'll want to talk to. Why not schedule a call or send them a quick message? They're all ears and can't wait to hear from you!

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