Welcome to the first entry after a long hiatus and change in perspective. Formerly known as “Chasing a Dream – Web Site Best Practices for Entrepreneurial Soloists and Small Businesses”, this blog is undergoing a redesign and rebirth in order to support my new focus on Personal Coaching.
Since the last post in this blog, much has occurred in my life, including a move to just outside Boulder, Colorado, USA & going independent with my career–and not in IT! That’s probably what will catch most old friends eyes! having worked with computers in one way or another for over 25 years, I’ve decided I’m now going to focus on them as a tool, rather than the center of my life! I still have those sharp skills though, and hope to use them to help others when I can. I’m currently in a one year consulting contract with my former employer, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), to assist them in supporting the systems I had previously developed while there.
My main focus now is developing my Coaching & Speaking activities. I’ve left the older content of this blog in place, as it may be of use to people still, and it gives the reader a sense of my background and experience in web development.
OK, now that I’ve got your commitment to use blogging consistently for your business web site, how do you do it? Well, there are at least two aspects to how you approach this:
- Blogging to draw customers to your off-line business (marketing)
- Blogging as a new stream of income for your business
Of course these two aspects are not mutually exclusive. But, most people will initially approach what they do with one tendency or the other. You can always add the other aspect later. If you are building from an established off-line business, then the natural step would be to start by developing an on-line presence and identity for that business. As you develop that, and start getting an on-line reputation for content to build on your off-line business experience, then you can very easily extend your blog into becoming an income stream of its own. As most business owners know, it is always good to have multiple sources of income to help level out the hills & valleys of income when you are running business.
To get you started with more details about how blogging can be built into an income stream of its own, I’d like to personally recommend Yaro Starak’s just released Blog Profits Blueprint. It’s a free download PDF with a detailed description of how he developed his online business strategy & tactics he used to implement them. If you are serious about using blogs to expand your business on-line, I would seriously consider registering for his blog mentoring program, Blog Mastermind, which should be released next week. You can register now for early notification of its availability.
Be sure to visit Entrepreneurs-Journey and read how he made $6549.52 from blogging in March, 2007. It should give you plenty of inspiration of the possibilities blogging has to expand and enhance your business model.
Blogging can serve your business goals in many ways. However, you must recognize first it is all about communication. Or a little more accurately, a conversation. It is not a place to post re-hashed marketing materials, or to overtly sell your product! OK, that is about content… there is one more important piece than even the content when it comes to blogging: consistency & communication. Blogging requires commitment to producing good content. Producing good content takes time. If you aren’t going to make the commitment to regularly posting to your blog–or having a staff member responsible for doing so–then don’t do it! Nothing looks worse than a blog on your web site with the last post being months ago! You don’t have to post daily, but if you really want to build something with it, I recommend that pace. It will get you in touch with your customers in the marketplace and get you feedback you may have never received through another channel. Weekly is probably the lowest post rate I would like to see for a business, and something in between is perfectly fine.
Now, saying this, I’m coming off a week of no posts… which brings me to my next point: blogs are about communication. Communication is a two-way street, you have to listen as much as you speak… or as the old saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth, so maybe you should listen twice as much as you speak. Translate that into blogging by getting out and visiting your peer blogs and others that are in your line of work or related and get into the conversation. There is plenty of business in this world for everyone to have their piece. And when it comes to blogging, I can bet most of the other bloggers out there are not your competitor down the street!
Another part of this is you need to tell your regular readers & subscribers what is happening in your business or personal life if it is going to interfere with your regular schedule. If you look back at my last post, you will find I put a short two-line note at the end warning that there might not be any posts for the next week as I was preparing to sell my home. People understand changes in what you do… when you tell them! (I am thankful for my faithful readers, and have amazingly increased my subscribers over the past week!) If you don’t, they will just go away not knowing what happened and feeling like they’ve been left out in the cold. I hate to say it, but that is the experience I’m having right now in trying to sell my house… and I haven’t even listed it yet! Have you ever lost a customer before they walked into your store? That’s what I’m experiencing now–from the customer’s point of view.
While I still have more work to do on the house… I’m going to try and get back to my daily posting schedule. Though it may be spotty… I warned you! 🙂