Starting a business blog is a great way to kickstart your marketing and build your business presence on the Internet.

Blogging helps in a few ways, namely:

- Builds credibility
- Build a relationship with your prospective clients or customers
- Generate leads
- Position yourself as an expert in your industry
- Sets you apart from your competitors
- Boost the search engine ranking of your company website once they are linked and the blog is updated regularly (Google loves this!)
- Develop a community around your brand, product or service

The big question usually from business owners though is 'What should I blog about?'

Here are some great blog posts ideas for a new business blog

1) Write blog posts that address the common problems or questions usually posed by people in your market

2) Industry trends or news items in your industry

3) Best practices for your industry

4) Upcoming products, services or events

5) Case studies

6) New business or clients that you have acquired

7) Offline promotions, advertising or events

8) Product reviews

9)

Blogging platforms

The 2 most popular blogging platforms are Wordpress or Blogger. However, it is not advisable to use the free versions for your business blog. Get a dedicated domain or subdomain name and install the blogging software of your choice. Research the pros and cons of each before you make a final decision. I personally like the flexibility of Wordpress.org.

How often should you blog?

Blogging should be done on a consistent basis. Most themes leave the time and date stamp on each post for all to see. So to appear current, you should blog often to let visitors know that you are always adding fresh content. The schedule is up to you. I would suggest between once or twice a week to once or twice a Month.

Automation Tools

The good news is that you can schedule posts in advance using Wordpress.org. You may also be able to schedule posts in advance using some email newsletter programs.

1) Build credibility If you have a blog outside of your corporate website, it helps to build trust and credibility among prospects or leads. Typically, the corporate website contains static information about your company, team, listings, etc. However, a blog allows you to be more conversational and provide valuable information.

2) Makes you seem more real In other words, more approachable. It puts a voice on your business. Blogs have the distinct functionality of inviting visitors to make comments on your blog posts and everybody likes to be heard. This adds tremendous value and creates a community type of environment. It’s also the easiest way for people to start a dialog with you or your business. So when you do speak ‘in real life’, it’s as if you already know each other and the formalities are already out of the way. Then you can get right down to business. [Quick side note: Let me know that you are real too, leave a comment on this or any other blog post that moves you. I would love to hear from you!]

3) Lead generation Getting website traffic to a blog can be easier than a website because the search engines rank blog posts with valid content higher. Once you have a blog set up and post on a consistent basis you will see a surge in traffic to your corporate website as long as they are linked. Of course, the smart thing to do is to capture these leads via a sign-up form for a newsletter because the fortune is in the list. You can send property alerts, updates and a newsletter to an email list and keep them in ‘your space’ as a ready market.

4) Position yourself as an expert Blogs are a platform to express your views, demonstrate your knowledge and provide expertise on Jamaica real estate industry issues. If you are very vocal on the issues and post regularly about them, prospects will view you as an expert in the industry, which means more business.

5) Sets you apart from competitors How is your firm different from the hundreds of others in the industry? Why should prospective clients do business with you? A blog can help to bridge the gap towards differentiating your firm from your competitors. A blog gives your readers insight to who YOU are and what YOUR firm is all about.

So how do you get started? Well you could get started tomorrow if you’d like using a free platform like Blogger or Wordpress If you want a unique domain name, you can get that inexpensively at GoDaddy.com In terms of design, you can go very basic, minimal branding and get decent blog themes for free or you can incorporate branding and premium themes quite inexpensively as well.

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From Stephanie Treasure, Information Marketing Strategist