As a small business owner, having an online presence is key to staking your claim in your local market. An essential component of your website strategy should be blogging.

To blog effectively though, you need a strategy from the outset. You need to do a little market research to your audience and into your competitors to ensure that your content is meaningful. You also need to spend some time honing in on your value proposition and on establishing your voice to reflect that.

Not only does blogging help with SEO because of the ability to populate your site with valuable keywords, but it can also help to establish you as a subject matter expert.

#1 Build a Website or Convert to WordPress

To start blogging effectively, you need to have a user-friendly infrastructure.  Depending on your skill set, you may want to build a website, or you can even convert a website to WordPress. WordPress is extremely easy to manage and to post to. Whatever you can do to streamline your process, will help you to post frequently.

#2 Hire a Blog Writer

As a local business owner, you no doubt wear many hats. It’s entirely possible that you don’t have the bandwidth to devote to blog writing with the frequency that it requires to be successful for brand development and to grow your business. It’s also possible that you don’t have the skill set to write quality content. Either way, it can make good sense to outsource your writing by hiring blog writing services.

Make sure that you collaborate with a writer who understands your voice, target market and business objectives so that they can write effectively on your behalf.

You’ve also got to write effectively for SEO, so leveraging the experience of a professional writer might be to your benefit in this regard too. Do you know how to incorporate keywords naturally? What do you know about formatting and tagging to improve your SEO? If it doesn’t sound like mastering this is something you can reasonably add to your to-do list, hire help.

#3 Reciprocal Guest Posting With Other Small & Local Businesses

Want to populate your site with good content and improve your Google ranking with backlinks? Develop a relationship with area businesses that are either part of or complementary to your niche. In order to have a high-quality site, you need to post regularly, to be visible locally and to be seen as an authority on information for your niche. You accomplish all of these by establishing a reciprocal relationship with other local businesses.

#4 Keep it Relevant

You will engage far more visitors and convert more leads if you are providing content that is relevant, topical, and enticing for your niche market and your local area. Using a tool like Buzzsumo will help you to identify what is trending in your space. It’s safe to say that if these topics are trending, they will be of value and interest to your target audience too. It’s no good just to write content. You’ve got to create impact by directly addressing the needs of your audience.

In addition to researching topics, also research keywords related to the topics, so that you can include those in your posts and boost SEO.

#5 Involve Your Social Media

Creating content on your website isn’t just about enhancing the user experience for visitors; it’s about driving visitors to your site in the first place. Integrate your social media links by posting on there whenever you update your blog; don’t post the blog on your social media feeds, but rather post a link back to the blog on your website to generate traffic.