You Need A Central Place Online Where You can Be Found
The internet is a vast place and with social media, it’s easy to show up all over the place. You may have a YouTube Channel, a Facebook Page, a Twitter Account etc. And then there are all the various other places online where you meet your target audience including forums, other people’s blogs, sites where you guest post or write articles, give interviews etc.
Being found where your ideal customers hang out already, is an excellent marketing strategy and a great way to grow your reach. It does however present one big problem. It makes it hard for readers to keep track of you and make sure they can come back to find you. That’s why you need an online hub, a central place online where you can be found.
A blog is the perfect way to create such a hub.
The nice thing about having a central hub is that people can find you since you’ll be linking to this blog on your various social media sites. This is the link you want to add to your profiles, and when you’re leaving comments on other people’s blogs. This is the site you’ll link to in your by-line when you’re writing articles and guest blog posts. And of course you’ll also link to some of your individual blog posts on various social media sites. You may share your latest post on your Facebook page, or send a tweet for example.
But it also works the other way around. Your blog is a great place to share all the other online properties where you can be found. You can have links to the biggest social media sites you use right on your blog. There are even plugins and widgets that allow you to pull things like your Facebook or Instagram feed right into your blog. You’ve probably seen this on other blogs where Pinterest or Instagram pictures are displayed in the sidebar or it has a feed to the person’s Facebook page.
Not only does the blog make it easy for you to be found, it also then makes it easy for readers to find you everywhere else online that you’re active. That of course gives you more chances to interact with your audience, build that relationship, and finally make the sale.
The blog as an online hub really is a two-way street that helps you pull new readers in and then expose them to everything else you do online. A new reader may find you originally on Twitter, become a blog reader, and then checked out your YouTube Channel or Instagram feed. Without the blog as the central hub, chances are slim to none that this person would have found all your other online presences.
You Need To Be Able To Control That Space
I know what you’re thinking… you could set up a free blog on Tumblr or WordPress.com and use it as your hub. While that’s true, there’s a big problem with using a free service like this. Actually, there are two big problems with it. The first is that you don’t have full control over a free blog. You can’t design and tweak things to your liking. That may not be much of an issue in the beginning, but as you get better at making your blog a cornerstone of your marketing efforts, this will become more and more of a problem.
The second big reason why you don’t want to use a free service, is that you don’t own it. Why is that important? Because a free blogging service can decide to shut down your account at a moment’s notice, causing you to lose all that hard work and traffic you’ve spent months to create. You hear about it in the news all the time. Just a few weeks ago a big photography blogger had his free account shut down after 10 years, causing him to lose a decade’s worth of work. It’s just not worth the risk.
Instead, spend a few bucks and set up a blog on your own hosting. This gives you full control. You own all the content, you can (and should) back it up regularly, and you can move it as needed. You can also tweak and change your blog to your heart’s content and take advantage of all the amazing new plugins and widgets that make our lives as bloggers easier.
Best of all, you can use your blog as part of your marketing whenever and wherever you see fit. While making money is frowned upon (or worse) with free blogging software, you can make your own blog on your own hosting a cornerstone of your entire marketing strategy. You can promote your products and services without fear of getting shut down.
Free blogs work great for people looking for a creative outlet or a way to share their hobby. They don’t work well for business owners. Build your online hub on a solid foundation that you have full control over. That’s just plain good business sense. Lucky for us it’s easy to do and won’t cost more than a few dollars per month.
You Want Something Easy To Use And Update
So we’ve established that you need an online hub to use as a center for all your online marketing efforts. We’ve also discussed why it’s important to self-host your blogging platform and have full control over it. Just to clarify, using a hosting company is perfectly fine and you don’t have to suddenly become a proficient PHP coder. What I mean by having control is paying for hosting and using software that you can tweak as needed to do the job you need it to do. You can do that tweaking yourself with the help of plugins and widgets or you can hire a blog designer to get you set up and have your blog looking the way you want it to look.
Last but not least you want something that’s easy to use and update once the initial setup is done. Because let’s face it, if it isn’t easy, then it’s not going to get done. Before we get into why it is important to blog regularly, let’s talk updates and security for a minute.
Blogs are popular and a great marketing tool. This makes them a profitable target for hackers who will either try to take your blog hostage, or sneak in their own affiliate links and the likes. The best and only way to guard yourself against hack attacks is to keep your blogging software and any plugins and themes you’ve added up to date. Of course this won’t do you much good unless the software developers themselves update and improve their software frequently. Keep this in mind as you choose your platform and any plugins and themes you use. I prefer the WordPress platform along with reputable (and often paid) themes and plugins because it is constantly updated and improved.
Having software that’s easy to update and maintain is a good idea since this is something you’ll be doing on a regular basis. Of course creating regular backups of your blog is another good idea and something your web host should be able to help you with.
Now that we’ve covered security and updates, let’s talk about usability. It’s just as important to choose software that makes it easy to update your blog, write and publish posts on a regular basis. After all, a blog that isn’t updated frequently won’t do you much good in your marketing efforts. The easier the process is, the more likely that you’ll stick to a regular publishing schedule.
Take a few different blogging platforms for a test drive if you can before you make your choice. If you can’t take a look around for reviews and tutorials. Last but not least realize that each blogging platform has a little bit of a learning curve. It’s perfectly normal for the process of writing and publishing a post to seem a little tricky and overwhelming at first. As you get more practice and post regularly, things like choosing categories, adding tags, including images and the likes will start to become second nature and something you don’t have to think about.
As long as you choose a fairly popular platform with lots of good support and tutorials, you’ll do just fine. I hope this short little guide is inspiring you to start your own blog and use it as a hub for all your online marketing activities. It’s a great element to have in your online business and something that will serve you well in the years to come. Think of it as yet another business asset, something that helps you grow your reach, grow your business, and of course grow your bottom line.