In PART 1 of this blog post, we explored the technical hurdles you’ll have to scale as you add a small business blog to your website. In PART 2, we’ll look at some stumbling blocks that could trip you up, if you reach the writing phase.
The Empty Page of Nothingness
What is the empty page of nothingness?
It’s that blank white space in the post editor of your CMS (content management system) that will confront you when you first sit down to write a blog post. At first, it will be white. It will be empty. It will contain nothing. How will you turn that intimidating blank writing space into something informative or entertaining?
The good news is that you don’t have to create a masterpiece all at once. A CMS such as WordPress gives you the ability to save a blog post as a draft. So even if you only have a blog title in mind, you can add it, save the post as a draft, and walk away with a slight urge to pat yourself on the back. It may be easiest to start your blog post on paper or in a simple text editor first. You can jot down ideas and revise them several times before you even open WordPress.
Keep it informal and use headings.
As you write, keep in mind that most blogs are informal. Use headings to separate content into short, easy to read sections. Tell a story if you can. If you own a restaurant, you can blog about recent renovations or the unexpected visit of a presidential candidate. Be sure to include optimized photos.
A blog post is more personal than a web page. You will be sharing your thoughts, sense of humor, wit and opinions.
As a result, blogging says a lot about “You.” Is that a good thing?
Blogging will show your personality. The conversational nature of it makes it personal. But it may also expose your shortcomings. If you are highly opinionated about some controversial subjects, those opinions may seep into your blog. Be careful not to offend your audience.
Will you take feedback too personally?
Blogs have sections for comments. How will you react to negative ones? What will your response be to a customer’s critical comment? If you resort to an impulsive, snarky response, it could hurt your business more than any great post will help.
5 Blog Stumbling Blocks to Consider
1) Grammar is a challenge.
Do you question your writing skills?
Keep in mind, poorly written blog posts can hurt your website’s reputation and even scare off customers.
Planning to assign a staff member to it?
If you’re planning to designate your hostess or bartender to be your small business blogger, check first to see if grammar is a challenge for them also. If they, too, struggle on paper with sentence fragments and run-ons, consider using Facebook instead. Your Facebook posts will likely be shorter, simpler and much easier to proofread.
2) Self-doubt tends to ruin your creativity.
If this is your biggest stumbling block, you can overcome it. The good news is that blog writing gets easier with practice. You will likely develop a distinct voice after a while. You can’t force it. It will develop on its own.
Luckily, if you are passionate about your blog, it will be much easier to forge ahead through self-doubt. Every blog post you write makes the next one just a little bit easier.
3) You develop blogger’s block.
Many blogs reach the magic number of three. Three blog posts and then silence. All of a sudden, you become stuck. Fortunately, you can beat this one too. Try keeping a couple of posts in “Draft” mode. Add to each one as you get new ideas and inspiration. Start with titles. Jot down your ramblings. Just don’t hit the “Publish” button too early in the process.
4) You barely have time for lunch breaks.
If you don’t have time to write and you can’t appoint an eager, qualified staff member to write, you shouldn’t have a small business blog. Having a poorly maintained blog gives a worse impression than not having one at all. Hopefully, you’ve come to this realization before going through all the work of setting up your blog. Limited on time? Consider Facebook or Pinterest instead.
5) You rarely visit your own website.
Think about your website for a moment. Where exactly does it rank on your list of priorities? If it is way down on the list, below the priority of keeping the restaurant salt and pepper shakers filled or ink in the printers, you have no business starting a blog. If your website hasn’t been updated in six months, and you think your blog will be any different, you’re kidding yourself.
- A website “deserves” fresh content.
- A blog “requires” fresh content.
It’s okay. Blogging isn’t for everyone or every business. Move on. Put the idea to rest.