As a web host, you might have set up thousands of blogs for your customers but never once considered needing one yourself. Why, you might ask yourself, do you need a blog? Well, the immediate answer is fairly simple: check these out:
If companies like Microsoft, Google, AWS and Rackspace need a blog, YOU need a blog!
We are only a small company - what do we need a blog for?
A good blog is an ideal tool for promoting a web hosting business, or any other business of any size. Yes, of course you have a website. But chances are that your website is big and polished, and perhaps a bit rigid.
Having a blog associated with your website gives you the potential to quickly and easily add news and new content to your site without bringing in a designer and a coder. A blog is quick, easy and cost-efficient.
But really – why?
As we said, your website is very probably shinny and has all the bells and whistles, but none of that really counts with Google. Google likes content. Google Search now offers search tools that can find content on websites that have updated in the last week, day, and the last HOUR. Sites with new content are deemed better than websites with fixed content, so for what might be a reasonably crass reason, you need a blog to help your rankings!
Communicating with customers
The standard blog format (see the typical ‘WordPress’-style site) allows the site owner to add content and visitors to add comments. This could be absolutely critical for your business. If you have a new line in servers and your customers come back to you with critical comments via your blog, you can fix the problem today. Blogs give customers a sense of discourse and they appreciate the transparency of a company that puts comments right there on their website.
Communicating with customers – and the rest of the world
Over the last few years there have been a number of high profile hacks. This is a terrible situation for any company, not least a web host, and when things go this badly wrong, a blog can be a wonderful tool. Used alongside social media, a blog can show your customers – and the rest of the world – that you acknowledge an issue has taken place, and that you are doing something about it… you can blog on an hourly basis, or even every 5 minutes – the more you communicate, the more serious your efforts to address a problem appear to be.
Spreading good news
What better way is there of letting your customers know about discounts and promotions? Well, of course there is email, but how would prospective customers get to know about price cuts and special deals?
Showing your expertise
Well rounded blogs covering specialist areas of interest of your customers are considerably more effective than sending customers an email telling them how smart you are. Blogs give you the opportunity to show off, but in a constructive way.
OK – so how do I write a good blog?
When you realize that a blog is for your customers, not for you, what you should write on a blog becomes self-apparent. Primarily, solve customers’ problems and fill them in on issues that are of concern to them. If the blog is valuable to customers then it has met its objective.
Who should write the blog?
Make a blog a team effort – don’t just put one person in charge, but get a representative from every department in your organization to fill customers in on what you do and how well you do it. Set up a cycle where one department adds something to the blog every few days or every week. If the blog gives your customers memorable insights into your operation, your company will remain memorable, and you will never get a better chance to make a good impression.
Keep up the good work though – an abandoned blog or one that is poorly maintained is likely to have a negative effect on people’s opinions of you. Likewise don’t get lazy and fill up a blog with pictures of kittens from Facebook.
They have never made sense anyway.
So how do I do this?
People have busy, busy lives these days and they have short internet attention spans. Also bear in mind that your blog content is competing against those Facebook kittens.
Even though this article is just over 1000 words, don’t follow my lead! Keep posts short and sweet – 500 words is long enough. If you have to write more, split a post into viable sections and make those sections into separate blog posts.
What if we get negative comments?
Thank your customer/visitor for his/her candor and set about addressing the issue and ensuring that all customers/visitors are fully aware of your efforts to deal with problems – by blog posts that show them what you are doing!
How do I know this is working?
If you get negative comments, it’s working! But if you don’t get any comments this doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting visitors.
Most web hosting control panels can give you an idea of how many people are visiting your blog, but if like me you aren’t a backend person, add Google Analytics to your blog.
After registration you add two lines of code to your blog page and then you get to know how many visitors you receive, where they are from, and a wealth of other useful information.
If you are a web host, setting up a blog is going to be easy and the benefits certainly outweigh the effort it will take.
Do it today and start REALLY communicating with your customers.