In this day and age, every business needs to start a blog. As billions of people from around the world access the Internet on a daily basis, you need to have an online presence to engage those customers. And I’ll show you one of the best ways to do just that.
Of course, it’s up to you to structure an attractive site people will love to visit. However, I’m going to break down some of the easiest methods to start a blog for business where virtually anyone can start immediately.
Note: This guide contains an affiliate link. I’ll earn a commission of any sales generated.
Why Do You Need to Start a Blog?
A blog is a way to promote your business while engaging a base consumer. It’s one of many methods to draw in potential customers to possibly make purchases.
Blogging is a platform where you can show buyers what they can do with a product and then give them an opportunity to purchase the items.
Setting up your own blog gives a way:
- To Set up a Base of Online Operations
A blog can easily become a base of operations for any business. You can create an intricate web of connections with the online community all leading back to your website.
- To Engage Your Target Market
Perhaps one of the more important reasons to start a blog is to engage your target consumer. People who are interested in buying your goods are also looking to learn more about them.
- To Connect with Local Customers
Thanks to evolving technology, you can easily promote a blog to your local consumer. People nearby can find your brick-and-mortar location from a simple voice search on their smartphones.
- To Establish a Contact Point for the Business
Although you can use a simple website as a contact point for a business, it doesn’t have the same sense of “activity” as a blog. Your blog can also promote email, phone number, contact forms and more.
- To Help Generate a Revenue Stream
If you properly monetize a blog, it can easily pull in a secondary revenue stream. Even if the business relies on direct in-person sales to customers, the website can still generate income on its own.
- To Boost the Reputation of the Business
Another important aspect of blogging is to enhance the reputation of the business. The more people read about the company and what it offers, the more engaged they become.
Virtually any business can benefit from a regularly published blog. From a daycare posting content about the best ways to care for children to a zoo providing facts about animals, every establishment can engage an audience.
The hardest part is coming up with ideas people will want to read about.
Can You Use Free Web Hosting to start a blog for business?
Free web hosting sites like WordPress.com are good for personal blogging. However, they often lack tools and flexibility to really be of any use to a growing business.
Not to mention how some of them have rules about selling or performing direct business from the pages.
And although the word “free” is attractive to many, it’s not a good option when promoting a brand. From a small business point-of-view, paying the $120 per year is a better investment for setting up a website.
8 Steps to Start a Blog for Business Today
Learning how to start a blog for a business isn’t all that hard. In fact, a lot of the process today is automated. This means you can get the website up and running almost immediately and start generating traffic.
However, I cannot guarantee instant success. That’s going to be up to you and how the website is promoted to the masses. What I can do, though, is point you in the right direction.
So, let’s look into the steps of how to start a blog for a business. It’s not overly difficult and doesn’t require a single line of code.
1. Have an Idea
The first thing you’ll need is an idea when you start a blog. Because you’re building this for the business, you’re more than likely going to center the site around what you sell.
Having a basic idea of what you want to create is going to influence everything from site design to the add-ons you want to install.
While you can skip this step and design as you go, it’s always better to go into building an online presence with some kind of game plan.
What do you sell? Who is your target consumer? What kind of things do you want the website to do for visitors? These are some of the questions you’ll want to ask yourself when you start a blog.
2. Find a Web host and Register Your Blog Name
The Internet is full of web hosts, and you want to find a good one that will help you grow the online presence of the business. This means something that will make it easy to expand and handle traffic as you become more popular.
Not all web hosts are the same, unfortunately. Some will have limitations on what you’re able to do. Others may offer expensive packages or try to talk you into services you don’t need.
Then you have to come up with a domain name.
When you start a blog, this step is perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming. Let’s take a closer look at web hosts and registrars.
What is a Web Host?
A web host is a company that rents out server space to build your website. Most will manage all of the maintenance of the servers allowing you to focus purely on creation and building.
Think of it like digital real estate. A web host delivers the “land” where you can build your online business.
And because each web host is different, the location of where you build the online business is just as vital as where you would build it in the real world.
Location, location, location.
What is Registering a Blog Name and How Do You Do It?
When you register your blog name, it’s like giving your digital real estate an address. This address is how people will find your content and interact with the business.
This registration is done through a “registrar.”
You have two methods of registering your domain name: you can use a third party and point to your web host, or you can register your domain when setting up the web host account at the same time.
For instance, you can use GoDaddy as your registrar for the blog name but then point it to GreenGeeks as your web host.
These blog names can go up to $18 per year depending on the registrar you use and the type of format you want. However, some companies like GreenGeeks will give you a free year of a domain name when setting up your hosting account.
Choosing the Best Web Host for Your Needs
So, what kind of web host do you need for the blog? There are many to choose from, and it’s best if you take the time to examine all possibilities.
While you can still move to a new web host later on, getting what you need right off the bat can save you a lot of time and effort.
Some elements you need to consider when looking for a web host include:
- Reliability to stay online.
- Unlimited SSD disk space for growth and development of the blog.
- Unlimited email accounts for the growth of your business.
- Content delivery network use, or CDN, to ensure a fast website.
Some of the other additions you might have interest in include cPanel and Softaculous. These two platforms will make setting up your blog incredibly easy by automating most of the work.
When it comes to yearly costs, keep in mind that cheap doesn’t mean efficient. In fact, a lot of low-cost alternatives don’t have many of the tools to help you succeed or will limit your growth potential.
A good way to start a blog today is to use something like GreenGeeks. This hosting company delivers all of the points I mentioned above and a lot more.
Something else to consider is how you can have your website up and running for three years for around $107. That is unless you opt to buy the bigger and more powerful account types.
What separates GreenGeeks from other hosting platform is the company’s commitment to protecting the environment. About 300% of the energy your website uses, because of servers and hosting overhead, is put back into the electrical grid through renewable energy sources.
This means your website doesn’t contribute to CO2 levels in the atmosphere as the hardware used is running off of renewable energies.
Using industry standards for hardware and adding their own high-security platforms makes GreenGeeks a great choice when setting up your business blog.
How to Choose a Domain Name
For many people, choosing a domain name is perhaps one of the most difficult parts of setting up a website. Because there are millions upon millions of sites created every year, it’s likely the name you want is taken.
However, businesses often have a much easier time than others. Most will rely on the company’s name as the domain. So if you’re business was called, “Bob’s Meats,” you could simply use “BobsMeats.com” as your domain name.
But what if your name is already taken? This is when you need to be a little creative. You can use abbreviations, use clever wordplay or add your city to the beginning or end of the name.
Just keep in mind you want the domain name as simple as possible. The shorter the name, the easier it is for someone to remember.
Think of some of the most popular websites on the Internet. Google, Apple, Yahoo…YouTube. They’re all short, easy to spell and easy to keep in mind.
There’s really nothing wrong with having a long domain name. People will still find your site through search and social media. But it will influence how people type the address in web browsers.
Do You Need an SSL and What Does it Do?
A Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, is a method of encryption that protects user data when accessing your website. It’s such an integral part of online security that Google will give priority to websites with SSL certificates.
In other words, having an SSL is vital to building a blog if you want people to find your business in search engines.
Not to mention how people are more apt to trust a secured blog over one that is not. And the more trust potential customers have in your brand, the more money you’ll make.
You can choose to buy SSL certificates for around $40 per year. However, you can also utilize free SSLs when you start a blog.
Essentially, the paid SSL adds more information to the certificate regarding the business. The free version only verifies the domain name of your website.
For small to medium sized businesses, a free SSL may suffice.
3. Start a Blog with WordPress
Now that you’ve decided on a web host, it’s time to install WordPress. When it comes to blogging, few platforms can match this content management system’s prowess.
In reality, WordPress makes up roughly one-third of the websites on the Internet. It’s a flexible system that has limitless potential for customization.
Here are reasons to use WordPress and how it will help you start a blog today:
- It’s a free content management system.
- Developers constantly add new plugins and themes to expand what you can do.
- You have complete access to all core files if you know you’re way around coding.
- It’s easy to use to the point where even the most novice of website builders can quickly create something amazing.
- WordPress can be as minimalist or extravagant as you want.
- Most major systems support online integration, which makes running the business on the Internet so much easier.
- The framework of the website is complete; all you need to do is customize WordPress to your liking.
Of course, you don’t have to use WordPress. However, it’s one of the most popular development platforms on the Internet. Part of this is because of how easy it is to use.
If you don’t want to use WordPress, the rest of this tutorial is still valid. Simply pick the system you want to use and move on to the next step.
Install WordPress Automatically
If you have a web host like GreenGeeks mentioned above, you can automatically install WordPress through Softaculous. This is an installer program added to the cPanel platform.
With just a few clicks, you can have a basic website up and running in a matter of minutes.
Install WordPress Manually
If you know your way around databases and phpMyAdmin, you can easily install WordPress manually. This requires downloading the latest version of WordPress and uploading it to your web host server.
Setting up WordPress manually isn’t overly difficult, though. It’s more time-consuming, but you don’t need a degree in HTML development.
4. Customize the Blog
After installing WordPress comes the fun part, customizing the site. This is when you’re creative ideas are put into real-life practice.
Give your website a unique look and feel by choosing business colors, fonts, logos, and images. If you use WordPress to power the blog, you can quickly make changes in real-time and modify them as you see fit.
Keep in mind your target audience, though. You’re designing to engage visitors to the blog. This means you want something that will appeal to those whom you want to buy your goods.
Think of it like decorating a walk-in business. A clean and easy-to-manage appearance is just as vital online as it is in the real world.
One of the reasons why I push WordPress is because of its flexibility. If you have a specific need when you start a blog, there is a good chance WordPress plugins and themes will help.
The community for WordPress is quite vast, and you can easily spend hours looking through some awesome tools you can install right now for free.
Find the Right Theme
If you use WordPress, you already have access to a handful of free themes pre-installed. These layouts are OK in their own rights but often lack flair.
You have two options: you can customize the layouts of these free built-in themes or you can install a new one.
The best part about themes is that you can change the look of your website almost instantly with a couple of clicks of the mouse. Managing themes is among the easiest functions of WordPress.
And you don’t need to adjust a single line of code.
Themes for WordPress come in all shapes and sizes. Some have extravagant features and customization options while others are more basic. And some are free while others are premium paid layouts.
Finding a theme that’s right for your business is often a pain. You want something that is easy to customize, but you may want specific tools.
Luckily, themes are never set in stone.
In this video, I go over how to manage your themes in WordPress and the best way to find quality layouts:
Plugins are what give the website functionality depending on the purpose. For example, you can install a plugin that shows the weather of your local area, which is useful if you are targeting local consumers through your website.
Here is a short list of my essential plugins that every business blog should install immediately. These are tools that will greatly improve your chances of being successful on the Internet.
Yoast SEO is by far my favorite plugin for WordPress. It helps structure the website for search engines while helping you write better content. This is done through real-time analysis while you’re writing blog posts.
It’s a free tool that has a lot of functionality. While you can buy the Pro version to unlock more options, you really don’t need it if you’re just starting out.
As for getting the most out of a good plugin, Yoast SEO goes above and beyond the call of duty.
WordPress has basic functionality for providing a safe website. But if you want to secure your online business blog, I suggest using Wordfence. It’s a free firewall and scanning system that will help protect your data as well as visitors.
This plugin uses an active database while scanning for any problems that may arise on the website. It comes with a lot of incredible features and is among the most popular security plugins for WordPress.
Google Analytics Dashboard
If you want to attract visitors when you start a blog, you need Google. And the Google Analytics Dashboard pulls information from your Analytics account directly into your WordPress website.
This lets you check on vital statistics of your blog posts without leaving your site. Information is shown to you directly from the WordPress dashboard when you log into the system.
It’s convenient and lets you keep track of everything from the number of visits to how long people are staying on your web pages.
OneSignal Push Notifications
One of the best ways to keep visitors coming back to your site is to remind them when new content is available. OneSignal operates in much the same way YouTube does; by sending a message to subscribers when a new post is published.
This can vastly increase return visits with opportunities to improve sales. Visitors simply subscribe when visiting the site and OneSignal will do the rest.
Though, you may want to customize the plugin with your own personal messages and colors. It makes the site look and feel more unique.
5. Set Up Your Google Account and Sitemap
There’s no doubt about it, you need to set up a Google account and submit a sitemap if you want to be successful in search results. This is because Google uses the information you share to know what your site is about.
Otherwise, you will find it difficult to engage your target consumer.
And it’s just not Google that will drive traffic to your blog. You need a sitemap to submit the blog to other engines like Bing.
Now, it is possible for your site to get crawled by search engines without submitting a sitemap. However, it will take considerably longer before your posts start showing up in the results page.
Setting up an account for Google Search Console is free and perhaps one of the quickest ways to start driving traffic to your site…after you submit the sitemap.
If you’re using WordPress and install Yoast SEO, adding the sitemap is pretty simple. Yoast will create the file for you. At which point, you just add the link to your Google Search Console.
It may take a bit of time before Google starts crawling your site. However, it’s much fast than waiting around and hoping the search engines start adding your business blog to the results page.
6. Write Content
After you have the website set up, now comes the fun part: writing your content. However, you don’t want to just slap up some random post and cross your fingers.
There is a bit a strategy involved if you want to engage your target consumer.
Create your basic pages first!
In WordPress, there is a difference between pages and posts. Pages are static pieces of content that will most likely never change, like your About or Contact Us pages.
Create your static pages first. Examples of these pages include the About, Contact, Why Choose Us, a mission statement and any other important page you may want to appear in your top navigation menu.
These pages are vital for connecting with your buyers as well as making it easier for others to understand your business. This builds trust in your brand.
What kind of content should you write about?
When you start a blog, the purpose is to attract an audience and perhaps make a sale. This means you need to provide something of value to the reader if you want to appear in search results.
You need to find out what your target consumer is searching for in engines like Google.
Perhaps the top three best forms of content on the Internet are:
- Tutorials / How-Tos
Everyone loves to learn about products. You could create blog posts regarding the items you sell and how to use them correctly. You could also add basic troubleshooting tips to help current customers.
Listicles are those blog posts that give readers a “list” of something. For instance, “9 Ways to Cook Chicken” denotes the reader will learn nine ways to cook.
- Product Reviews
As many as 84% of people trust reviews as much as they do advice from friends and family. Adding reviews to a blog is a great way to drive traffic, especially if it’s an in-depth look at a product or service.
The three methods I mentioned above are some of the most effective blog posts to engage an audience. And the more people who come to read those posts, the more likely you are to make money from the website.
How often should you write after you start a blog?
The frequency of publishing your blog posts is a bit up for debate. While some experts believe writing once or more per day is ideal, others insist that once a week is sufficient.
The truth is, both are correct.
It’s not necessarily how often you should write, but more of what kind of quality the content is to the reader. You don’t want to slap up any blog post for the sake of having content on your site.
Creating a successful blog is all about delivering quality to the reader. The more engaging the content is, the more traffic you’ll generate to the business website.
If you can deliver a high-quality and informative piece more than once per day, you could amass a great deal of traffic. However, poor articles that no one wants to know are simply going to sit idle.
On the other hand, you don’t want your blog to look abandoned either. Here are a few tips to keep people interested in your business blog:
- Create content people will want to learn or engage. This could be the suggestions I made earlier, such as a tutorial, or something entertaining that keeps the reader on the page.
- Keep an eye on trends for your industry. Delivering a short news snippet of what’s going on can help keep readers coming back and boost your authority.
- Write long, in-depth pieces that offer superior information. You want readers to walk away feeling fulfilled.
- Write about new uses for your product or services and what you can offer customers. It may prompt sales and leads if people get ideas from your blog.
In the end, how often you write a blog post is really up to your target audience and how you present information.
Remember, it’s all about quality content.
Where do you find free images on the Internet?
Adding images to your blog posts vastly improves audience retention. It also improves interaction on social media if your posts are shared on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
When using images in your content, it’s always best to use something unique. And since most smartphones nowadays come with incredible cameras, you can snap your own images to enhance the website.
But what if you don’t have the means to produce awesome images?
Believe it or not, there is a huge list of websites for royalty-free images on the Internet. Most are perfect for any business to use, as long as you make sure the image is set for creative commons or labeled “for commercial use.”
However, using your own imagery prevents any issue of copyright claim completely. Besides, being unique in your visuals is a better way to engage your target consumer.
7. Promoting the Blog Posts
Once you start developing blog posts, it’s time to start promoting. Adding your sitemap to Google and Bing can only do so much. You need to take an active role in pushing out your content when you start a blog for business.
Don’t get me wrong, search results and organic traffic will make up the majority of your visitors. But engaging your target consumers on other platforms greatly improves your chances of success.
And keep in mind that your competitors are doing what they can to engage those people as well. Every person who doesn’t visit your business blog is reading the competition’s content.
Using Social Media
Although social media has had a lot of negative press in 2018 and 2019, it’s still the most affluent platform on the Internet. Millions of people use sites like Facebook and Twitter, including your local consumers.
Sharing your content on social media helps you engage consumers who might not know the business exists. Plus, it promotes your company to more people whether you sell online only or have a brick-and-mortar location.
To share a post on most social media, all you need is to add the link to your blog post in a comment. The social site usually automatically pulls the image from your posts which often increases click-through rates.
Using Automated Social Tools Like Buffer and Hootsuite
If you want to make things easier on yourself when sharing content, you can always use automated tools. Systems like Buffer and Hootsuite will let you share a single blog post among several social channels instantly.
Plus, you can schedule upcoming social comments to give your brand a sense of activity.
Many of these systems offer a free version to get your feet wet. It’s a time-saving method that will help you create a strong consumer base and online presence when you start a blog.
Email Marketing Campaigns
Another good method for marketing is through the use of email. In fact, as many as 80% of business professionals believe email as a viable method for customer retention.
And since 46% of emails opened are from mobile devices, you can target buyers no matter where they are.
You can start off with something simple and install a newsletter on the website. It gives you a chance to build a mailing list. And if you use WordPress, there are a slew of free plugins for this purpose.
Push notifications work exceptionally well for retaining an audience. Have you ever received a message that your favorite YouTuber uploaded a video? Perhaps you get a message when a blog you follow publishes new content.
These are push notifications.
This type of system helps by letting your target audience know when something new is ready for them. And not to sound like a broken record, but WordPress has a wonderful plugin for push notifications in the form of OneSignal.
Using YouTube Video Content
According to Cisco, video will make up 80% of all Internet traffic by 2021. This is because of how influential video content is and how more people are absorbing the material.
I know I watch a few videos here and there are my phone or tablet.
YouTube is one of the biggest platforms for this and is a free outlet for any business to engage an audience. And because search engines like Google use YouTube videos in search results, you can target both readers and watchers with a single video.
This isn’t to mention how you can drive traffic to your blog through the use of video content.
Create some tutorials, host a news show or just build a simple Vlog around the business. Without spending huge amounts of money on production equipment, you can build a loyal customer base and improve the engagement of your website.
Promote the Blog in Your Email Signature
One way to get the word out when you start a blog is by adding it to your email signature. This way, anyone you email will see your site and have the opportunity to visit.
As most email platforms allow unique signatures, you can promote the site while doing nothing more than sending a message.
While this is a minor contribution to marketing, it’s still something to consider. This is especially true if your mailing list consists of potential clients and business contacts.
Set Up a Newsletter
I mentioned newsletters earlier as they are often considered email marketing campaigns. These additions to your site can keep visitors coming back while also having forwarding potential.
Perhaps a subscriber likes what he or she saw in the newsletter and decides to forward it to a friend or coworker. It’s especially effective if you add a call-to-action at the end of the message asking recipients to share.
One of the good things about setting up a newsletter is that it gives you an email list of people who are most likely to buy your goods or services. Unlike paid email lists you might come across, the interest in your brand is already there.
This means you can put together an effective list over time without dumping money into email lists of random people.
8. Making Money from Your Blog
Now comes the lucrative part when you start a blog: making money.
If the website is for your own business, you might already have a pretty good idea of what you want to sell. However, you don’t need to focus on just one thing.
For instance, let’s say you want to sell shoes on your blog. In addition to making money from retail sales, you could also rent out ad space on the site and bring in a residual income from that as well.
What can you do to monetize the blog to make money?
- Sell Your Own Products
A lot of people open online stores to sell their goods or services. And with a good advertising campaign, those stores could make quite a bit of money.
- Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is when you show ads on your site for other companies. Should a visitor click on the link and make a purchase, you earn a commission of that sale.
- Using Adsense Ad Revenue
Adsense is one of the most common forms of ad revenue for websites. The downside is that you won’t make a lot of money unless you have a vast amount of traffic to the website.
- Offer Private Ad Space
Instead of using Adsense, a lot of website owners will offer ad space to other companies. Think of it how Nascar racers have sponsorships decorating the car.
- Offer a Podcast
Many people will create podcasts regarding the industry and earn money by gaining sponsors. Regardless of the blog, it has great potential for brand development as well as income.
- Sell Digital Products
Digital goods are usually a great product to sell. For one thing, there is no real overhead outside of the website. For instance, offering a well-written eBook could bring in quite a bit of money without actually holding tangible stock.
These are only some of the ways you can make money when you start a blog for business. The trick is to find something that works best for you which generates the most interest and income.
Success Takes Effort
The bottom line is that online success demands effort. You can’t simply start a blog, cross your fingers and hope for the best. You need to put in a lot of work to reach a wide audience.
Otherwise, you’ll be consumed by the competition. And on the Internet, the level of competition is staggering.