Chicago Business Blogger Answers Questions
Chicago-based blogger and business owner Jess Constable answers reader questions about successful business blogging.
... And I'm back! Thanks so much for following along on my first post about blogging and business. I am taking the time to answer each question I received as honestly and completely as possible, so this will be the first of two posts highlighting reader questions. If you still have lingering thoughts and questions in the future, please feel free to ask me a question here.
• I would like to know if there is a particular blog service she prefers and why.
There are many blogging platforms out there including Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress.com, and Wordpress.org. My personal preference is Wordpress.org, which is a self-hosted site. This allows me to create a custom layout and helps me to easily add web pages - like a real website - easier than on other platforms. Getting a Wordpress.org site set up is more challenging for less tech-savvy people. Even I had a web expert friend set up my site and custom URL.
If you are just starting out and want to get your feet wet without committing a lot of time to the layout and customization, Blogger is a great option. It is a simple and very intuitive platform which has a large proportion of bloggers both with mega and mini blog followings.
• How do you use a blog differently than Facebook or other social media? Why do I need to do both?
You actually don't need to do both Facebook and blogging. You are welcome do just one or both. Think of each as a tool that is used to connect with customers - but each one has a different method. Like a screwdriver and hammer, both can be used to build furniture, but each fulfills a different need.
Facebook is great for short updates, event details, polls, and discount codes. It can even be great to share links to blog posts you write on your blog. Facebook is for sending out short pieces of information that are easily digested.
To share full stories, product descriptions, customer experiences, or upcoming changes in policies, a blog post is best. Readers on a blog expect to invest more than a few seconds reading your posts, so this is where you have their undivided attention the most.
So take a step back and look at what you are trying to do with social media; how much time you have to do it well, and what makes the most sense for you? Blogging isn't for those who are too busy to take the time to write consistent, high-quality posts that interest readers. Facebook on the other hand, is a less time intensive option that still allows you to share news, but may have less brand loyal readers.
Another way to look at the two platforms is to consider a Facebook page as a bulletin board for the company and the blog as a journal. Which do you want to create and commit to?
• I've been considering adding a blog to my jewelry site in the future. It would likely be covering everything from fashion to interior design to any of my other interests that may be relevant to my customers/potential readers.
Should the name of the blog just be the same as the business or should it have it's own title that is somehow connected? I want to increase brand awareness, but I also want the blog to be able to stand on it's own, and have a recognizable, easy to remember name like "Design Sponge" or "Daily Candy". How should I approach this?
This is a fantastic question! After thinking about it for some time, I think that there is no "right" answer. It is really up to you.
There are examples of successful bloggers who have done it each and every way imaginable. Oh Joy has her blog under her business name, while Dwell Studio has a blog called The Studio Blog. I have a completely different name for my blog since it is largely unrelated to my company, while ban.do has a blog that has closely related company content under their company title.
For my company's second blog, Behind the Chevron Curtain, written by my Jess LC team, we chose a title that related to our studio without saying our company name explicitly. This may be a good avenue for you to go - related, yet slightly different.
But really, the choice is yours! Just make sure to make a really good blog, that's what counts the most.