As of October 2023, I’ve been running this blog for a decade. I hit publish on my very first post way back in 2013, and I have figured out a lot along the way! So I thought I’d share 10 things I’ve learned in 10 years of small business blogging.
I’ve talked before about how beneficial a blog can be as part of your marketing strategy. That has certainly been the case for me. Hopefully, if you’re on the fence, these reflections will help you see how worth it can be.
1. It takes time to see results
Like any element of your marketing strategy, results from blogging don’t happen overnight. You have to properly commit to reap the benefits!
So, if a couple of months in you haven’t had many views or that post you thought would go viral didn’t, don’t be disheartened. And certainly don’t give up. For a start, depending on the number of pages on your website, it can take anywhere from two weeks to six months for Google to index and show your new pages in their search results.
And on top of that, it can take people who follow you on social media or other platforms a while to make their way over to your blog.
But, if you commit to it and keep working at it, when someone does stumble across your latest post, there will be so much content there to help build trust and encourage them to stick around.
2. The most successful posts are never what you expect
We’ve all been there! You have an idea for a post and think “This is really going to take off”! You hit publish and wait for the views, shares and comments to come flooding and… it gets an entirely normal response. Or, in some cases, even less than normal!
Something I’ve found really interesting in my small business blogging journey is that it’s the posts you don’t expect to soar that often do. You never can tell what is going to strike a chord or start trending a few months (or sometimes even years) from now.
For example, one of my most popular posts ever is Edinburgh’s Best Work-Friendly Cafés for Small Businesses. This is a pretty niche topic, right? I never expected it to take off the way that it did, but years down the line it still brings me lots of traffic. It has been featured and upvoted to the top spot on Reddit and shared many times.
As with all trending things, it attracts clicks from many people and not all of them are my ideal clients. But Google is still taking note and even years after first publishing it, it still gives my organic ranking in online searches a nice little boost.
3. Updating old content is as important as writing new content
Something you have to remember when running a blog is that it does you a disservice to not regularly go back and review past content.
It’s easy to put together a post, publish and promote it, and then move on. But what happens when someone accesses that post two years from now? Is everything you said in it still accurate? Are those links still working?
Whether it’s updating information about your industry and your services or simply freshening up the format with new images and links to other content you’ve written since, updating old content is just as important as writing new posts.
For example, I have a post covering the best website platforms for small business owners. These posts include links to the platforms and information on their pricing. So, it’s important for me to keep an eye on this, and make sure it is up to date.
4. You need to create both evergreen and topical content
I’ve written an entire post dedicated to this, so I won’t spend too much time on it (you can find the post here).
The bottom line, however, is that you need a healthy mix of evergreen content (which will always be relevant) and topical content (showing you are on top of what’s happening in your industry). This goes for blog content, in addition to social media.
Yes, it will create a little bit of extra work because topical posts often need updating and curating more often than evergreen content. But having a mix on your blog is a good idea to keep your readers engaged.
5. Jumping on trends isn’t worth it
Speaking of topical content, however, it is crucial to pause and review before jumping on every trend. It can be so tempting to write something just to get involved in the conversation, especially if it is currently a hot topic on social media!
Before you do, ask yourself a couple of questions:
- What will my clients/customers get out of this post? Is it relevant to them?
- Do I have anything new or interesting to say on this, or will I simply be repeating what has already been said ten times over?
If the answer to either of these questions is no, it’s probably worth giving it a miss! Don’t waste valuable time on something that won’t actually benefit you or your customers.
6. It’s not just about the numbers
It’s so easy to get caught up in views, comments, shares and likes. But the reality is, these numbers aren’t the be-all and end-all.
Small business blogging is designed to not only offer value to your customers or clients but to benefit Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Adding keyword-rich content to your site is a great way to improve SEO over time.
It shows Google that you are active and generating material around the keywords that are relevant to your site.
So don’t look at each individual post in isolation. It’s about what the blog is bringing to the table as a whole and how it helps your service pages or online shop – and that is so much more than engagement on one post!
7. You will feel like you’re running out of topics
Anyone who has ever committed to small business blogging will have encountered this issue. When you’ve been writing for years, you will inevitably hit periods where it’s a struggle to come up with topics. But don’t give up!
It’s amazing where inspiration can come from. Most often, my ideas come to me from conversations I have with clients, friends or people I meet at networking events. The smallest comment can spark a new idea. So don’t stress if you can’t think of something off the top of your head. I promise something will be just around the corner!
8. It’s a great way to ensure you are always learning
I’ve said before that writing a blog is a great way to position yourself as an expert in your field. And it is! But that only works if you continue to learn, grow and keep up with the changes in your industry.
Having a blog that requires regular content to be added to it is a great way to ensure you stick to this. You can’t write meaningful posts if you’re out of the loop, after all!
By keeping on top of what’s going on, you can create content that makes your blog the go-to source for your customers.
9. It’s a great conversation starter
Following nicely on from that, small business blogging can come in handy in situations like networking!
Nervous about what to talk about at a networking event? Having a blog can be a brilliant conversation starter! It’s a great place to direct people if they ask for examples of your work. One link and they can see for themselves what an expert in your industry you are.
It can also be a great way to land opportunities as a guest speaker! If the person who runs the event can read your posts, it could be the perfect way to get your foot in the door.
10. You will be so proud of your blog
It sounds cliched, I know, but it’s true. I look back on over 220 posts and I feel so proud of all the work that has gone into it. I’m amazed looking back at everything I have covered in this corner of my website, and by how many people have and still come to read it.
Small business blogging takes a lot of time, effort and patience. Doing it alongside everything else on your plate as a small business owner is no mean feat. But, if you approach it properly, it’s so worth it. So know that one, three, five, ten years in, you’ll be so proud that you stuck at it. I know I am!
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
10 Things I’ve Learned by Running My Own Small Business
FAQ: 12 Questions I Regularly Receive as a Marketing Consultant
7 Reasons to Get a Blog for your Small Business
How to Start a Blog for your Small Business