I know you’ve heard it before. To be a successful online business these days, you need to create a business blog for your website.
I also know that you have no time. Between family commitments and the day to day operations of your business, blogging has been put on the back burner. Again.
I get it. Blogging can be a lot of work. Creating content, posting on social media and building an audience. I’m tired just thinking about it. Especially in addition to the day to day operations of running your shop.
But if done correctly, it also can be a major marketing tool for your business. A well written business blog drives organic traffic to your shop, builds a community around your craft and even provides a passive income source when business is slow.
When I started Katarina’s Paperie, I actually started it as a blog. I wanted to write – not design. The blog was called Confetti Diaries. I wrote about my thoughts on party trends, planning family celebrations and design ideas.
At first, I really enjoyed writing every day. I loved getting my ideas out there. Over time, though, I got busy with Katarina’s Paperie and couldn’t figure out how this little design blog was helping grow my business.
And, actually, it wasn’t. As a personal blog, I wrote posts that I was interested in, but they didn’t have a greater purpose to grow my business.
Eventually, I realized this. I moved the blog onto our business website and started using it as a marketing tool instead. The new posts I wrote for our business blog transformed. They became posts about our shop, craft ideas and free printables. Each post had a purpose. They were there to drive traffic and sales to my shop.
Over the years, my business blog has helped grow Katarina’s Paperie. It provides a steady source of visitors and people interested in our designs.
Truthfully, people rarely just click on an online shop website. Especially if you’re new. But if you have a blog that entices them to visit for another reason, they are sure to visit. Again and again.
The blog is also has been a wonderful way to build relationships with other bloggers who want to share your work. By creating content around your products, you build a community and brand for yourself.
You can also introduce your products to the marketplace without the salesman lingo. A business blog lets you present to your audience how your product solves their problem.
But starting a business blog takes motivation. You need time to set it up, craft posts (or hire someone else to make content for you) and manage the day to day blog happenings. Since you’ll be committing precious work time to this activity, you need to know why you’re doing it in the first place.
Here are some of the important reasons you need to start a blog for your business today.
Reason #1 – Drive traffic to your shop
When I transformed my “just for fun” blog into a business blog, the first thing I changed was the type of posts I wrote. I started creating posts that had more of a purpose than to just share my personal thoughts.
My new posts were structured around a specific product or theme in the shop. They would link back to the shop as a promotional tool for these products.
I created posts that showed our designs in action, gave ideas for incorporating the design in your life or even provided additional free printables to use with the design.
Throughout each post, there were link backs to the shop’s product listings. My goal with each post was to promote the product in a new way. This kept our designs more interesting and fresh.
Since it’s your blog is hosted on your own website, you can also drive traffic through ads for your own shop. I have a large ad on the right side bar of my blog directing visitors over to our shop. I also have a link in the slider, on the home page and in the footer.
Your blog is the perfect place to steer traffic over to your shop. If you’re lucky enough to set up the blog and shop together, clicking over to your shop will even be easier.
Reason #2 – Build a community
One of the most important things you can build for your business is your audience. Your goal is to have raging fans that can’t wait for the release of your new product.
But how do you find these fans and where do you direct them to hang out. Here comes your business blog. Your blog is the place where your soon to be audience can rest their weary fingers. They just found the content they were looking for. Now, after a few clicks, they’ve found wonderful products to use with that content. Oh, look, you even have social media accounts. Suddenly, they’re visiting those too.
Your business blog is the place where you can build and feed your community. If you create the correct content, you can attract an audience who will not only be into your free content, but also your paid products.
So, how can your audience feel at home on your blog? Through the comments section (make sure this is turned on!). By maintaining an active comments section, you can create a community that’s enthusiastic about your products and craft. You can also learn a lot about your audience in the process.
Too busy to maintain your blog’s comment section? I get it. If your blog becomes big enough, keeping the comments section buzzing for every post can be a huge job. One option is to hire a VA to manage it for you. They can ghost write responses to comments for you. That way you don’t have to worry about it.
Some of the most successful bloggers out there, though, still respond to all of their own comments themselves. It might be a task that you want to do to maintain good communication with your customers.
Reason #3 – Create a passive income source for your business
One way to build a successful business is to have multiple income streams. This way if one of your income streams falters, the rest of them can carry your business until that income stream returns.
A business blog can create some additional income streams for your business. The best part? They are passive income sources. This means that once they’re set up, you can forget about them. They require little additional work except maybe some promotion every once in awhile.
One passive income idea is to add advertising to your blog. You can sign up for an ad network and insert ads throughout your side bar and posts. When a person sees the ad and/or clicks on it, you receive revenue.
There are some negatives to using ads. They can cause visitors to click away from the place where you want to keep them. Also, they can make your website look cluttered and potentially move slower.
That being said, I have found that the revenue I’ve received from the ads over the years has been greater than probably what these potential customers would have purchased.
The important part is not to have too many ads. Ours are in the side bar, top of the website and footer. I do not use pop up ads when a visitor arrives (this can become annoying and difficult to click out of on a mobile device). Also, I’ve chosen not to scatter ads throughout the blog post – at least not yet.
Remember, if you choose to use ads on your website, this is supplemental revenue. The purpose of your blog is still to build an audience and drive them to the shop to make a purchase. The ad revenue is a supplement to your income, so don’t forget about your website’s original purpose. You don’t want your blog to become slow or difficult to use making them want to leave.
If you’re just getting started, I recommend using Google AdSense. It’s usually easier (although this has changed a bit these days) to get approved than on the bigger networks. You should have at least 20 or more good quality posts that are at least 600+ words in length. It’s also important that you have a clean blog that isn’t terribly cluttered. You can find out more about what Google AdSense is looking for here.
Once your traffic is more established (and at least 25,000 views a month), you can apply for a bigger ad network. I have heard wonderful things about Mediavine and am looking forward to adding them our website soon.
The other kind of passive income that’s easy to add to your blog is an affiliate program. I belong to Amazon Affiliates and link to craft supplies, paper and other supplies that we use in our blog posts.
I love sharing with my audience the materials that I use. It cuts down on their time trying to source things for the projects themselves. Just remember, if you decide to share a link and will make a commission from it, you must disclose this at the top of the post and on your website.
Beyond Amazon affiliates, I’ve also established partnerships with other brands. These are featured as our affiliates in the side bar. They are products and places that I shop and LOVE. I don’t recommend promoting brands and products that you aren’t familiar with. If something goes wrong, you can lose your audience’s trust really quickly.
You also need to disclose to your audience that these are affiliate links. We have a disclosure at the footer of our page and in our Disclosure page.
If you are interested in finding some affiliates that might match your brand, check out Share a Sale. You can sign up for a free account and have access to 4,500 different brands. Once you have your account set up, you can apply for the brands that interest you. Once the brand has accepted you to their program, you can create affiliate links to their shop and individual products.
Reason #4 – Provide relevant content to share
As I’m sure you’ve heard a thousand times before – content is king (or as I like to think of it, queen). Having lots of original content in multiple forms is the key to keeping any audience engaged. It gives them new exposure to your product and a way to engage with you while they get to know you.
A business blog gives you a place to showcase all of your unique content. You can write blog posts, make videos and share everything on social media. Your content can integrate ways to use your products, how you make your products and even different ideas to accompany your products (such as a free printable).
All of this amazing content that you’re creating for your business blog is a wonderful way to feature your products to a new audience. It also keeps your current fans coming back for more.
Remember, a customer usually has to be exposed to your product 7 times before making a purchase. Although this might be fewer online, they still need to interact with you multiple times before making a decision. Your blog is the perfect tool to have constant contact with your potential customers.
Reason #5 – Establish yourself as an industry expert
If you’re just starting out selling products in your niche, you won’t have any authority as an expert yet. It takes time to build up to expert status online. Your business blog can help start to establish authority in your field. It can make you an industry expert and brand you as someone who knows your area of expertise.
Once you’re an industry expert, you’ll have the chance to speak publicly about your niche. People will come to you for answers to their problems and look to your products to solve them.
When creating content for your business blog, write posts that center around your industry knowledge. Share out about what you know and do research about the things you don’t.
For example, I love sharing posts about the current trends in kids celebrations. My audience wants information about what’s popular before choosing a theme for their children’s birthday party. By becoming an expert in this area, customers stop by our blog first to get the newest information before deciding what theme to purchase from our shop.
Reason #6 – Tell your brand’s story
Everyone has a story. The perfect place to tell yours is your business blog. Your About Page gives you a space to tell your audience your story and why you created your business in the first place.
Your business blog also gives you a place to share your business practices and the process you use to make your products. This information helps your audience connect with your brand. They can read about who you are, the products you make and where you’re headed.
Reason #7 – Build your mailing list
One of the major drawbacks if you have only an Etsy shop is that you can’t collect emails. Although we’ve developed some work arounds to this problem, you can’t communicate with your customer beyond the initial transaction.
This can make it difficult to establish a relationship to make future sales. Building a strong email list is one of your most important marketing tools.
Although you can collect them on the Shopify platform, this isn’t always easy either. Many people are very reluctant to sign up for anything these days, no matter what the discount is.
Cue your business blog. This is the perfect place to collect emails and establish a mailing list. Create a freebie (beyond a savings coupon since not everyone is going to want to buy right away) and announce that it will be emailed to them when they sign up.
Remember, that building a mailing list isn’t enough. You need to use the mailing list often to keep your audience interested.
Send subscribers exclusive printables, coupon discounts and new product announcements. Make them feel like they’re in your inner circle and you’re sure to create a group of ravaging fans over time.
Your business blog is one of the most important organic marketing tools that you have. It provides a space to build relationships with your audience before transforming them into paying customers.
The best time to create a business blog is in the beginning. Even if you don’t think you have the time. At least establish it. You might even consider starting it before you launch your business to build relationships with your audience first. This can be a helpful source to ask as you develop and choose the products you want to put in your shop.
As your business grows, use your blog as a bridge between making sales and telling your audience about what you do. The blog will serve as an organic marketing tool to build relationships with your audience without having to spend costly advertising dollars.
You can also use it to make passive income in the future. Advertising, affiliate income, e-books and other passive income streams create much needed additional income streams to support you during slow sales times. And who doesn’t want some passive income coming in.
But I already have a business and never created a blog… Don’t worry. It’s not too late. No matter when you establish your blog, you will start developing a deeper relationship with your audience.
So, what are you waiting for? Time to get started blogging!