Why Your Business Needs a Blog

Image created by Retro Stockli - Nazmi El Saleous & Marti Jentoft-Nilsen NASA GSFC

There has been a revolution in the business world and it has been coming for a long time. Businesses are going out onto the Internet to meet their customers and they are going global.

The world has never seemed like a smaller place. You can read information from people in your line of business from New Zealand, Australia and the Philipines to name but a few. You can make contact with business owners large and small all over the world and it is all thanks to computers.

However because so many businesses are coming online, it becomes harder to stand out from the crowd. You are now competing on a global scale and you want to be as high up in the search engines as you can. How can you mark your business out as one that people will want to use?

Start a blog.

Adding a blog to your website will add relevant content to your website which will be of interest to your customers. It will add information for your customers and can be used to sell further products to them. A blog which is regularly updated can rise in the search rankings as articles related to your business is added. You can encourage your customers to add comments in your blog and you can take note of this feedback from your customers to help you grow your business.

Starting a blog can bring benefits to your business and it is relatively simple to set one up on your website.

What if you’re not wordy? What if you’re more kind of picture-y? (I saw this on a forum comment and thought it was a brilliant comment).

You can hire a writer to blog for you. Hire them to blog two or three times a week so that content is regularly added. You can look into adding podcasts instead or even video.

More discussion will follow on some of the ideas this blog post throws up. Do consider it, however and add a blog to your business.

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Why Your Business Needs a Newsletter

Image on Flickr by Andrew Whitacre

It sounds like a lot of work. Collecting information, articles, even adverts together, formatting them together in an attractive format then, possibly the worst bit of all, printing and distributing them. Is there really any need for your business to have a newsletter?

I would suggest that it can be worth the effort for your business to have a newsletter and here’s why:

– It keeps your business in the forefront of your customers’ minds

– It can enable you to offer other companies you work with extra exposure

– It enables you to make special offers to your customers to encourage them to spend more money with you

– You can tempt your customers with new products.

– You can send an email newsletter rather than a paper one, avoiding the recycle bin and saving the planet!

– You collect details of your customers and know who they are.

There are lots of great reasons why a newsletter should be at the forefront of your mind. So how do you do it?

What Makes a Great Newsletter?

The elements of a great newsletter is great headlines, interesting and succinct articles and  graphics. You can include adverts for new products, news and information that is likely to be of interest to your customers and of course information on how to contact you should any of the offers be of interest to your customers.

There are some great publishing packages out there and if you are going to do it yourself, it might be worth investing in software that will help you set it out professionally. Being able to move graphics around easily and play around with the format can help the ease of putting the newsletter together.

Your newsletter can be as short as a page. If you are planning on printing a newsletter, bear in mind that for a folded format, you will need a minimum of four pages if there is not to be a large piece of blank space on it.

Fonts and Graphics

Make the font easily readable such as Arial. Times New Roman has also been traditionally used. At least 11 point will be easily read by most.

If you are printing, graphics quality is everything. Pictures do not come out so well on coloured paper and need to be as high a quality as possible. They also look good with a border to separate them from the text on the page.

Check Your Newsletter Well

Proof read everything thoroughly and preferably get a second pair of eyes to look over them to pick up mistakes you have missed. If your spelling and grammar is not as good as it could be, then use your publishing software hints to help you out and spell check the whole. Bear in mind that this will not pick up words spelled right but in the wrong place.

Make a commitment to getting out the newsletter weekly, fortnightly or monthly and stick to it. Make a commitment, block out some time to deal with it as appropriately. Get used to squirreling bits of information away for the newsletter and collect graphics.

Finally, if you really think it’s a great idea, but just don’t have the time, then hire a writer. Give them the information and ask them to format and produce it as a pdf or a printed book. Rates will depend on how much work will be involved in producing the newsletter.

If you wish to discuss starting a newsletter with me, then please check out my contact page.

Photo Link: Newspaper Icon

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Helpful Business Blogs

I haven’t written a ‘helpful blogs’ post for a while, and I’ve been enjoying some new heights of helpfulness since my last one. If you’re running a business, then here are some blogs you may find helpful.

Photo by crystaljingsr on Flickr

I love Enterprise Nation! It has a great forum for asking questions, daily helpful articles and a twitter meet-up every day around the watercooler at 11 am.Particularly if you are a UK business, then do check it out.

I found Enterprise Nation from Startup Donut. Again it has a help forum and is particularly useful for information and help for newly formed businesses.

Karen Gunton’s blog, Build a Little Biz is a new favourite of mine. It is great reading for new business owners, or even those just beginning on the Internet. She writes well for Mum entrepreneurs but her advice would suit anyone looking for more information on running a business online.

Freelance Switch is a great site for web developers and designers, but it also includes writers in the mix. The articles are regularly added and very helpful, it has a great cartoon strip and advertises jobs. Well worth a look.

I have only recently begun following Freelance Folder. It is similar in style to Freelance Switch which is a clean professional look. The articles are just as good with lots of helpful hints and tips for business owners.

Finally, if you are looking for either a creative job or for creative workers, try CrowdSpring. It is a simple website that posts projects for a set amount, allowing simply the best proposal to stand out. There are jobs for graphic or web design or for writers. Check it out if this sounds what you are looking for.

We all have different websites that we regularly visit and enjoy. Recommend your favourites in the comments below.

Photo Link: 3D People and Internet Symbol

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All You Need is Love

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr

Link love that is!

Building a blog like this from scratch is harder than you’d think. It’s not just a case of setting it up and waiting for the knocking to begin on your door.

If you write it, they will come.

Unfortunately not necessarily true!

For a long time, it feels like you’re writing into a void. The posts are going up, but it seems that no one is reading them, well no one obvious anyway. You don’t even rank for your domain name so not even Google has found you yet, so how do you expect anyone else to?

Well, I’m certainly not up there in the big blogs. Not yet. Am I giving up?

Not on your Nelly!

Behind the scenes, I’m commenting on relevant blogs with (hopefully) insightful comments, I’m on the hunt for like-minded individuals who are also searching for a pack and I’m regularly adding new posts.

I’m also adding time. The blog needs to get older, be here a while and be filled with useful information.

I can wait while you find me. If you want to join me and for me to visit you, let me know in the comments below.

Photo Link: Pretty Pink and Green

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Are You Linked-In?

Copyright: Manan Tuli at Open Photo

Linked-In is a really great tool for networking and growing your business. I’m still exploring all it can do, but if you are hoping to get an online business up and running then it’s a great idea to join Linked-In.

I know lots of people who have heard of it, but many are doing nothing about it. It’s easy enough to get started, put up a profile and post a picture, but then what?

Well, I’m still answering that question! I am still fully exploring Linked-In and what it has to offer to me, but I know a woman who does!

Her name is Laura Espinosa and I learned about her through LaVonne Ellis’ site when she posted How to Generate a Warm and Fuzzy on Linked-In which was a great, thought-provoking post.

Laura is also taking part in the #Customer Love Challenge and promises to answer your questions on Linked-In on her website as part of it.

So, what are you waiting for?  There’s an expert who wants to give you her help on one of the most useful sites on the web!

Don’t forget to say I sent you!

Photo Link: All Eyes

www.thecompleteflake.com
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#Customer Love

www.thecompleteflake.com

In the spirit of the New School Year, New Start, I have joined the #Customer Love Campaign which was started by LaVonne Ellis of  The Complete Flake.

Basically this campaign is all about showing your customers or even people who just come by your site and read it much love! If you want to know how it all began, then check it out here.

I really like this idea. If it’s something that you would like to join, then go to the challenge page to declare your intentions.

This is a 28 day campaign and at the end of it, I plan to offer a free report probably on grammar and style usage. This is not completely decided, however, so do let me know in the comments if there is something else that you would like information on.

Much love!

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New School Year, New Start

Photo on Flickr by Avalore

The summer holidays are over almost as soon as they began (or so it seems). Cakes have been made and eaten (several times), castles have been explored and cheap places of interest have been visited and now it’s  time to send the children back to school.

It’s almost like a second new year. The children look smart in their new school uniforms, the school run traffic is back blocking the roads and the weather cheers up again again after a rainy August (at least here in the UK).

Find Out About Freelancing

A year ago I started reading all about freelance writing jobs on the Internet.  I had a health problem which meant that I could no longer continue teaching and I wanted to find a job that would suit me. I have always loved writing and find it flows easily when I am working. I am very comfortable with spelling and grammar and it seemed that this might be something that I might want to do.

I read as much as I could. I found Anne Wayman’s blog and Jenn Mattern’s blog invaluable, but there was lots of other information out there. I was wary of sites which seemed only designed to sell you something, but I devoured all the information I could.

Find Some Clients

I found my first clients myself by emailing some local web designers. I wrote some spec articles for them, had them accepted and they now use me regularly. I got a job from Elance and am also working with another local entrepreneur. All of these jobs I have got through having the courage to put myself forward, but I was also able to look honestly at myself and my own skills and weaknesses.

Now it is September again and I am looking forward to hitting the ground running. I will be continuing to contact new people to find out what I can do for them and I hope that my business will enter a new phase as I continue to grow in experience and ability.

Take the First Step

What does this have to do with you? If you are confident in your writing ability and find that putting the written word down on paper comes easily to you, then you too could consider writing for the Internet. Read through all the information you can find, book mark the interesting sites and learn all that you can. The information is out there and you can use it to form your own freelance writing career.

Make a plan. Have an idea of the goals that you want to achieve and put a time span on it. Write your goals down. Aim high.

Take the first step today. Who knows where it might lead.

Photo Link: Back to School

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