If you own a small business with an online presence, you've probably heard that blogging can help you grow. The problem is, blogging takes time away from actually running the business. This article offers some advice on finding the time and keeping your priorities straight.
Stoney deGeyter writing for Search Engine Guide covers many of these points. Blogging serves multiple purposes for a small business, as deGeyter points out. It lets you communicate with your customers, sure, but it can also improve your reputation, build your brand, win customers in the first place and increase your visibility in the search engines. Those are all wonderful things, but they're not going to suddenly go away if you miss a day or a week of blogging.
So how do you work your blogging in around your business? Well, start by taking a realistic look at how much time keeping your business running takes up. Are there slow periods during the week or month when you can write multiple blog entries? Remember, there's no reason you can't write a bunch of entries at one sitting and then schedule them to go live at various later dates. Content management systems used by many of today's modern blogging services and applications facilitate this approach.
You may also want to rethink the length of your posts. Did you just finish writing a long blog entry, but you're running out of time – and you still need to write two more? Take another look at the post and see if there's some way to break it up into multiple parts. Often, all it takes is a little judicious editing, and it's much faster than writing entirely new entries from scratch.
This doesn't mean you should never write a long entry, or always break up the long ones, but putting some short ones into the mix can help. Your readers may even appreciate the change of pace. The key is to make sure you're still providing them with useful information – and if you can do it well in two or three paragraphs, there's no need to stretch it to six or more. It's not like you're getting paid by the word!
Here's something else to keep in mind about short posts: they don't have to be the last time you write about something, and they certainly don't need to be the final word on the subject. Say you run a gardening shop, and you've written a short post about the kinds of soil various plants like – acidic, basic, sandy, etc. You can revisit that post later with a longer one that explains how to change the soil – make sandy soil drain less rapidly, for example. You might even do an entire series of posts that covers different changes one can make to their soil in detail, depending on what they want to grow and what they're starting with.
It's important to budget your time. You don't want to get so caught up in blogging that the rest of your business suffers. If you can't find a reasonably long stretch of time for blogging, you might try the opposite approach: write one blog entry a week, but spend several short periods of 15-20 minutes each on it.
Whether you go for several shorter periods of time or one longer stretch in which you write several posts, it's important to designate a specific time of the day or week or month for blogging. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in that time. And build up a backlog of entries so that you don't get caught short; deGeyter likes to keep four to six weeks of posts as his backlog so he has time to proofread them before they go live, and so that he can put something up in case something interferes with his regular blogging schedule. After all, running a small business can keep you very busy, especially when you have a lot of priorities to juggle. Good luck!
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