How to Start a Local Business Blog

January 9, 2013By

There has been a local movement over the last few years. People are becoming more involved in their communities and it’s been good news for local businesses. In addition, there is an opportunity for local businesses to grab even more business through a local business blog.

Local Business Blog

Local businesses have an opportunity with business blogs. via Seattle Municipal Archives

If you’ve been thinking of starting a local business blog, but haven’t found the time then here is a rundown of the basics. By the end of this post you should be able to get your blog ready to go and start posting. We’ve included some ideas for blog posts that make it easy to keep the blog updated.

That’s the biggest challenge for business bloggers: finding time to blog.

So these tips should help.

Let’s get going.

Setting Up A Local Business Blog

WordPress.

The platform for managing your blog is free to use. There are tons of free themes. There is tons of documentation on how to use it. Some of the biggest blogs (and smallest) use it. You can’t find anything better for simply blogging out there.

It’s worth it to pay a developer a couple hundred bucks to setup the blog.

Make sure they set it up on your main website domain. This means putting the site on www.yourwebsite.com/blog/ instead of blog.yourwebsite.com or yourwebsite.com and yourwebsiteblog.com. It’s best to keep everything on the same domain.

Grab a basic theme to start. If you have a few extra hundred bucks it’s worth it to have a custom theme created to match your website, but if you’re strapped for cash you can get by with something basic.

Now you’re ready to start posting.

Daily Blog Post Ideas

First order of business is to make sure you delete the “Hello World” post. It’s easy to forget.

Then you can get into your blogging.

I know people don’t have time to blog. This seems especially true for local businesses. They’re typically managed by the owners and there is no money in the budget to hire someone to blog (even though it’s probably worth it).

So here are some quick posts you can write each day to get things rolling and keep consistent posts on your blog.

Local Restaurant

  • The Story of This Week’s Special
  • The Story of Tonight’s Drink
  • Local Parade Goes By Today

Local Grocery Store

  • Health Food Trends for 2013
  • 5 New Items This Week
  • 5 Off Brand Items That Are The Same as Branded

Local Golf Course

  • Vintage Picture Friday: Club Champion 1985
  • Weekly Men’s League Roundup
  • Youth Golf Weekly Story

These are just a few examples to get your creative juices flowing. You can probably do each of these in under 200 words if you want. Try to shoot for 400 or 500, but don’t go crazy adding words that won’t help the post. A short post is alright as long as it’s interesting. Plus the point of these posts is to get new content on your blog consistently.

You’ll notice that many include stories. This is important for all business blogs, but especially important for local business blogs. You want to try and use stories to connect with your audience. People are not only looking for something useful – they want to hear a good story and the story of a new item on the menu is interesting and a reason to purchase (and to tell friends).

Feature Blog Post Ideas

When you have time to set aside to write feature blog posts you should. Longer posts with more in depth coverage do well. I read stories added on the site Long Reads all the time. They take 15+ minutes to read, but I love them. I’m actually addicted to the site. It’s a huge time waster, but the stories are entertaining and educational in some ways.

You can create the same type of story. Shoot for at least 500 words, but if you can get it up over 1,000 you’ll be rocking. 5,000 words? You’ll be killing it. Stick with the story ideas for these posts. What can I say? People love stories and how-to articles.

Here are some ideas for the same businesses above.

Local Restaurant

  • The Story of Chicken in the American Diet
  • How to Have the Perfect First Date Dinner Conversation
  • An Oral History of Our Restaurant

Local Grocery Store

  • The Evolution of Grocery Stores in the US
  • How to Make The Best Use of Time in the Grocery Store
  • 50 Great Grocery Store Values for a Growing Family

Local Golf Course

  • The Story of the Course Record
  • How to Hit a Draw in 20 Minutes
  • How to Choose the Best Irons For Your Game

Guest Authors

Something great about local businesses is you can have local people write for you. It’s easy for those in your community to get recognition from others by writing for your business blog.

Ask your business neighbor to write a post on your site. Have someone from the Chamber of Commerce write something on your blog. When you host other writers on your blog you get free content and they get exposure to your audience. It’s a win-win for both parties. Plus your readers will appreciate the additional content and perspective.

Blogging vs. Facebook and Social Media

There is a boom of local businesses using Facebook and other social media for their online activity. I can’t tell you the number of neglected websites I see while the company Facebook page is active. In fact, some forget the website all together in favor of Facebook.

This is risky.

You don’t own anything you publish on Facebook. You also don’t control the platform. Every time Facebook changes its layout businesses are left scrambling to make adjustments. It’s risky to put your entire online marketing plan in the hands of a single platform.

With your own website and blog you maintain most control. You own the content. If WordPress shuts down for some reason you can take all your content and switch to another provider.

With Facebook you don’t have that option.

Conclusion

Local businesses have a great opportunity with blogging. By creating stories and how-to articles targeted at the ideal customer a local business can gain interest and exposure in the community. This leads to more people through the door. Half the battle is getting attention and the other half is winning them over with the product or service.

Get the first step right with a local business blog.