Small businesses can benefit a lot from blogging. In fact, this marketing method can be very effective in boosting sales. According to a 2013 Inbound Marketing report by Hub spot, blogging took the top spot for generating site traffic. We all know what massive traffic can do to a business: increased leads and sales. That means more and more businesses are starting to realize the huge impact blogging can have in generating profits. And since this is one of the least inexpensive forms of marketing, the effort put forth can generate huge returns. Blogging for Business Isn’t What You Think It Is Business blogging is different from regular blogging. Most people would be quick to assume that the two are the same. They're not. Business blogging is a marketing technique. Others can consider it an art because of all the things to go into it. Unlike regular blogging where people write freely, writing down whatever comes to their heads; blogging for business takes time and effort. Preparation is essential. One just can't sit down, open a laptop, and start typing. There has to be a definite plan in place to ensure the blog posts can yield results. Blogging for business aims to do the following: - Inform/educate readers - Establish brand as an authority in your chosen niche - Boost website traffic - Improve lead generation and conversions - Increase sales How to Build a Blog Gone are the days when creating a website takes massive amounts of time and effort. It's also not that expensive anymore. Today, there are many resources available for both amateur and experienced bloggers. The web offers a lot of free help, which means there's no excuse to not start a blog for your business. If you're still on the fence about starting a blog, consider this: Data from Hubspot showed that websites that have blogs got 55 percent more visitors, 97 percent more inbound links, and 434 percent more indexed pages compared to those that didn't. This is a huge opportunity businesses—big and small—simply can't afford to miss. Here are the steps on building a blog that results in more sales. Find the Right Platform There are many website platforms to choose from. These are similar but have few, distinct differences. It's important that you choose the right blogging platform so you can create and maximize the benefits of your content. Lifehacker has listed four of the best blogging platforms: Blogger, WordPress, SquareSpace, and Tumblr. Each blog platform comes with features that you'll need to better do your job, so make sure to identify which one best suits your needs. Blogger has a simple and easy-to-use interface, and you can get it up and running in just a few minutes. Google owns it. Tumblr is a cross between Twitter and long-form blogging. SquareSpace is a paid, web-based blogging platform, which some may not like, but it's packed with features that are great for commercial blogging. WordPress is, by far, the best because it's open-source and allows for customization. Get It Hosted Find a good web host for your blog. Since you're blogging for business, it's highly recommended that you stay away from hosted blogs because it doesn't look professional. Having your own web host will give you more control of your blog. Not only that but by running your blog directly from your website, your customers won't have to leave your site in order to read the latest news and information that you have posted about your industry. A few examples are GoDaddy, JustHost, DreamHost, and HostGator. Create Remarkable Content Content plays a crucial role in generating sales. Blogs that have poor quality content will rot in the bottom of search engines. Google plays a huge importance on quality content and can even penalize sites that have poor content. You will not get ranked, which can affect your website. The checklist for creating remarkable content: - Shareable - Has a unique perspective on a topic - Original - Thought-provoking - Timely - Easy to understand - High quality Share Engagement is important. It pays to think about how people will react to each post because it will influence how they act after reading. Before you can generate leads and convert to sales, your blog must engage readers. The rest will follow. Here are tips: - Make posts snappy - Use line breaks - Break up content - Use deep captions and bulleted lists - Add relevant links - Use a lot of numbers - Use strategic formatting Summary Blogging is an inbound technique that can help grow your business. Hubspot's study showed that 49.7 percent of companies that implement such techniques increased sales within 7 months. That goes to show how quick and effective blogging is for businesses.