Posted by Darren J Deverux
Blogging has become one of the most effective ways for small businesses to connect with their customers online, spread their company message, and build trust and credibility with their consumers. Blogs a great way to retain and energize your customers and they’re also an effective way to interact with customers and drive website traffic. Blogging can increase your sales, leads, and optimization online but if you want to maximize the success of your business blog. It’s important that you implement these 7 crucial elements of a killer business blog.
1. Consistency (Schedule) – Keeping up with a consistent schedule of posting will probably be the biggest challenge for most beginning bloggers. It’s important that you post on a set schedule (once a week minimum) so customers can rely on getting information from you in a consistent way. A consistent stream of articles will encourage more people to read and subscribe to your blog.
2. Design – Staying on the topic of consistency, you want to make sure that the design of your blog meshes with the color and design of you company’s logos and website. The layout doesn’t have to match your website exactly, but the color scheme should be correct and all logos and branding should match. You also want to make sure your design is professional and eye-grabbing. Remember, you’re one of millions of blogs out there and you want to do what you can to stand out while still appearing credible.
3. RSS Subscribe Button – When people want to be notified every time your blog has a new post, or if they want to include a feed from your blog in their “reader” program, they need to subscribe to your RSS feed. You want to make it as easy as possible for readers to do this so make sure that your blog has a prominent RSS feed button somewhere on the front page. If your blog is missing that orange RSS Feed button it’s not going to be as successful at gaining subscribers as it should be. This is important.
4. Social Media Info – There should be clear and easily navigated buttons that let users follow, like, bookmark or friend your company on their favorite social network site. Make these buttons appear on your front page and encourage customers to connect with you on social sites they use. This way they can stay updated with your company blog using the social network site they’re most comfortable with.
5. Social Share Buttons – One of the best ways to get more views for your blog and build an online following is by having social share buttons at the bottom or top of each post that allow the reader to share your articles on the social site of their choosing with just one click. (See the buttons at the bottom of this post marked “Tweet” and “Share”)
6. Authors – You want to put a face behind the content you’re providing. Build professional online profiles of your contributing authors (even if it’s just one) and put it on it’s own page within your blog. (The “about” page is usually the best place for this)
7. Optimize Your Posts – Another important part of business blogging is making sure that your articles are optimized for search. This means that they are full of relevant keywords and properly tagged in the “tags” section of your blogging program.
It’s Your Turn – Do you have any other key elements of a company blog that should be added to this list? Leave us a comment or contact us with your key element to a successful business blog and we’ll post it in a follow-up blog.
Posted by Darren J Deverux
It’s time to create (or upgrade) your company logo. You want something new, fresh, relevant, and you want it to scream:
“I am here, I am new and you should trust me and think I’m cool!”
So what goes into making a killer logo for a small business? One easy part about answering that question is: it’s the same stuff that goes into making a killer logo for a BIG business! Yes, your logo is an area of your marketing where you can absolutely compete on the level of any business. I’ve seen large corporations spend tens of thousands of dollars coming up with logos that weren’t as impressive as some start-up mom-and-pop logos I’ve seen. And there are plenty of stories of big companies using a logo that was drawn up by the owner on a napkin or something.
Whether you decide to hire a designer to create a logo for you, or you try to make one yourself, if you implement these 6 elements of a Killer Logo, you will increase your odds of making an effective graphic representation for your business that will instill confidence in buyers and hopefully improve your brand awareness and appreciation.
Memorable – A great logo is a symbol that sticks in a person’s mind for some reason. It is typically a combination of shapes and text uniquely positioned to express the company’s message in a simplistic symbol. If you can design a memorable company logo, it will be recognized more easily the next time a consumer sees it, and more easily the next time, and the next time, so on and so forth.
Professional and Clear – Perhaps nothing is more important about your logo than that it be professional looking and clear. The in-house, do-it-yourself design can work if you understand some key elements of graphic design. However, a professionally designed logo that is clear in its purpose adds credibility to your brand and generates more appreciate from your consumers.
Equally Effective in Black & White – Colorful logos must also be equally effective without color at all. It should be versatile enough to have the same exact impact if illustrated in all black or all white. Your logo will potentially be used on all sorts of mediums and you want to make sure it presents the same message when used without color.
Scalable –Another thing to be mindful of when developing your logo is that is be scalable for use at any size. Think, how will your logo stretch out on a billboard? Will it be equally effective in a smaller size such as your brochures, letterheads, and business cards? The logo should be clear and understandable from the smallest to largest scale.
Relevant – The colors, imagery , and symbolism of your logo will tell the story of your business to consumers. It’s important that these elements sync up with what your target market is thinking about when they’re looking for company’s like yours. For instance, if your in some sort of all-natural health organization you may choose to use colors that are relevant to that niche, such as earth tones (greens and browns). A good way to learn the relevancy of symbols and colors used in your industry is to research your competition and see what common elements are used in the logos of other successful companies in your sector.
Unique – Needless to say, if your logo looks similar to another logo it won’t have nearly the impact as a completely unique and original logo will. So roll up your sleeves and start creating ideas, symbols, colors and font that will create a brand new from scratch image that will represent your company and send the message you want it to. No clipart, no common font types, get creative, and make something special.
Timeless – Coca-Cola, Nike, McDonald’s, ABC all are great examples of timeless logos that have been able to last for decades without much updating. Part of what makes these logos timeless is that they followed the first 5 parts of this article. They’re memorable, professional, effective without color, can be used in all sizes, relevant, and unique. These clear and easily understood logos have stood the test of time because they effectively encompass a number of successful elements to produce a clear, concise, and memorable logo.
An effective logo takes a lot of thought, time, and sometimes money to create. The meaning of the logo should represent the purpose and mission of the company and it should be a unique design that can be used in multiple mediums. Ultimately, the goal of the logo is to connect the consumer with your brand through symbolic imagery. It’s the badge that represents your organization and should express the message you want it to.