Let us start this Balboa Capital blog post by telling you what you already know: You are a small business owner who is constantly juggling a bunch of tasks, and handling your company’s content writing needs is probably not on your list. That said, having a blog on your website can increase your search engine traffic, get your business noticed on the web, and help you build authority in your industry. A business blog can even help generate sales leads and new business opportunities. Knowing this, how can you afford not to start blogging? Getting a blog up and running doesn’t require that much work. You can put on your creative hat and do it yourself (time permitting, of course), or you can hire a freelance content writer to get it done. Read this quick-start guide to starting a business blog that was written by our on-staff digital content manager. It explains how you can turn your ideas and knowledge into blog posts for your company’s website.

Decide on a blog setup.

If you have a website, a big part of the blogging process is already complete. Just have your webmaster add a blog link on your site, preferably in the top navigation bar. Also, ask your webmaster to create a blog template that matches the look and feel of your website, and that allows a banner image and smaller pictures to be included. Having your blog as part of your website is highly recommended because it presents you with a number of search engine optimization (SEO) benefits. If you don’t have a website, you can create a self-hosted business blog on a free or a paid platform, but this will be less effective when it comes to building your brand online. A blog is a collection posts presented in a chronological order, whereas a website is an eye-catching source of information about your company and its history, value proposition, product/service offering, etc. In short, a blog is an excellent complement to a business website, but it has SEO and lead-generation limitations on its own.

Make a blog plan and schedule.

Here comes the fun part. Before you start, however, you need to come up with a strategic plan for your blog. Common objectives include creating email lists, generating leads, and increasing brand awareness online. Once your plan is set, determine how often you want to blog. There is no set rule in place when it comes to blogging frequency, but once a week is preferred. Nonetheless, you can post one high quality blog post each month and still generate lots of traffic. By the way, the major search engines give preference to newer blog posts because they view fresh content as more relevant and newsworthy.

Put pen to paper.

If you decide to take a stab at writing your company’s blog posts, you might end up staring at a blank computer screen and thinking “I can’t think of anything to write about.” If this happens, don’t worry. Experienced small business bloggers and journalists with Master’s degrees experience writer’s block all the time. The key to getting over it is to relax, take a deep breath, and start writing like you speak. You talk to employees, customers, and vendors all the time, so you already have a unique way of communicating with people. The words will come naturally and end up telling the story in an easy-to-understand and informative manner.

Hire a freelance blogger.

As mentioned in the beginning of this blog article, you might not want to handle your company’s content writing needs. Assigning this task to your on-staff marketing manager, or working with a freelance writer, can help produce a steady stream of blog posts for your readers. Just make sure they have a complete understanding of your brand and its verbal identity. If not, they might end up writing articles with a completely different tone that don’t relate to your readers. Lastly, whoever writes your blog posts needs to have a thorough understanding of SEO. To be effective, and to populate in search queries, blog posts need to be completely original and have title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs that follow best practices. In addition, pictures need to be optimized for the web and have the appropriate alt text and file names.