A small business blog can be a very powerful marketing tool and help you sell your business. A blog allows your readers to follow your business in a day-to-day pattern, getting to know your values and even you. However, a blog that doesn’t follow the basic rules of small business blogging will be more of a dead weight than an asset. Here are five tips that should get you off to the right start.

Use a professional blog address. Having your blog hosted on WordPress or Blogger just screams ‘amateur’, which is not the image that most business owners are trying to project. The ideal address for your blog is blog.yourcompanyname.com, although most variations of this will do. This gives you the legitimacy associated with having your own url and sets your blog apart from the millions of personal blogs that are flooding the internet right now.

Have a simple but elegant design that complements your branding. Use the color schemes and fonts that go with your brand. Instead of a boring stock template, have a professional web designer develop a blog that compliments your business and adds yet another professional touch to your image. Avoid the overly flashy and virus-ridden free blog templates that can be found for free or cheap on the internet; even if they aren’t full of malicious software they make the page load too slowly.

Install plug-ins and social media links. You can find a variety of plug-ins; some help your site be more visible to search engines while others simply add visual appeal. Linking to your company website as well as Facebook, Twitter, and other small business social media accounts is imperative because it gives customers a comprehensive view of you and your business, while allowing all of your online presences to be just a little more visible. These combined presences make up your online persona, an important aspect of every modern business.

Strike a balance between professional and personal. While it is okay to share an occasional human interest story, such as announcing a new baby or the retirement of a longtime employee, in general your blog should refer to industry news, jobs, and answering common questions about your company. It is not a place to vent frustration, rant about people who might be reading, talk politics, or complain. These things, while serving to relief your anxiety, will give your readers the impression that you are a negative person and likely send them flocking to your competition’s website and blog.

Update regularly. Most people prefer to read blogs that are regularly updated and full of interesting, constantly changing information. In fact, a failure to update your blog may make readers think that you will drop the ball in other arenas. Try to blog two to three times a week, and try to pass the duty around your company rather than assuming it yourself.

Creating a blog by yourself can be a scary process, but if you follow these five simple steps it will likely work out right. It’s important to give your company the appropriate image that it deserves, and this is merely the first step.

Posted by Mash Bonigala

Mash is a Brand Differentiator & Strategist, Film Maker, Traveller, Author and Zen Practitioner. He loves mindfulness, branding, online marketing and startup business challenges.