How to start a trade blog to promote your business

Published:  14 July, 2016

Jonny Lawrence explains how blogging can benefit the plumbing and heating engineers

You’ve probably heard the term before, and some of you might already be reaping the rewards that come with a well-maintained ‘blog’. In general, however, there is a shortage of good trades’ blogs on the web, providing an opportunity for you to lead the charge!

A good blog will help attract new visitors to your website, get customers interested in your services and generally present you as knowledgeable and helpful. So for the less tech-savvy: what is blogging, and how can it benefit your business?

What is a blog?

A blog is a regularly updated collection of short and informal articles, which often form part of an existing website. Establishing a blog is a quick and easy medium for keeping visitors to your website up-to-date with recent projects, helpful advice, relevant news, and other topical issues – all information that will make your business stand out from competitors and, importantly, help you get found by potential customers through google.

Your expectation may be that once you have put your website together, customers will find it. With search engines becoming increasingly complex, if you don’t frequently update your website, it will fall down the search listings.

This is why blog writing is such a powerful tool – it keeps your website active and provides a cost effective way to promote your business online.

So, where do you start?

Familiarise yourself with the layout of your website - Make sure you have access to the administration settings on your page, and spend some time having a look at the different features until its clear in your mind. 

Find a platform – You might find you’ve had a blog function built into your website from the get-go. If not, WordPress is a common platform and very simple to use. 

If you’re unsure of anything, go back to whoever built the site for you and ask for help, or you might be able to find tutorials on YouTube, which answer your questions. 

What will you write about?

Your blog is the public voice of your business, so make sure whatever you write about is relevant and professional.  Keep your customers in mind – are you a local firm?  Write about the area you work in. 

Here are some ideas for blog topics:

  • Example jobs
  • Professional tips
  • Tips for customers
  • Reviewing tools and gadgets
  • Latest industry news
  • How to get found

There are three elements to this: good quality content; regular posting; and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

What makes good content?

Quality – make sure your articles are interesting and useful, funny or opinionated. Stick to your original theme and try to attach a goal to your blog article, e.g. are you solving a problem, or are you looking to promote a service or product you like?

Quantity – As a basic rule of thumb you need to write a decent amount, at the very least 150 words, but aim for 500 minimum for maximum impact.

Format – use bullet points, bite sized paragraphs and images to break up the text.

Strong images – take some decent photos on your smart phone, edit them on Instagram and upload them to your blog.  Video blogging (vlogging) combines well with written content to create a more engaging article.

How often do you need to post? 

The more you post the higher your website will appear on Google searches. The amount of time you spend on your blog depends on you, but an article a week is a decent start. This might sound like a lot of work, but it needn’t take that much time and will get you into good habits, like taking lots of pictures of completed jobs, for example.

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is the practice of optimising your website for site search.

Key words and key phrases are essential, but Google also wants to make the web a more useful place, so relevance and good content are now the key to SEO – your blog can provide both of these if you follow the tips above!

So, you’ve published your first blog.  How do you spread the word?

Social media is a very effective way of driving traffic to your blog. Post your musings on your Facebook page, and get your friends to ‘like’ and ‘share’.  Tweet a short link to your blog using relevant hashtags, and get your followers to retweet it. 

Don’t be afraid to contact online trade magazines too - they’re often happy to share worthy articles through their own social media channels.

If you need a bit more help, head over to our blog, where you can find articles about social media, Google+, website building, and online communities and more. 

Jonny Lawrence is digital marketing manager at Logic4training

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