Blogging is Good For Business

By: Kyle Lacy

From: IGC Retailer, IGC Show Preview, 2013

Blogging is Good For Business
Blogging should be at the center of your garden center's marketing campaign. A blog - short for "web log" - is a necessary part of your online identity because it is the virtual spot where you plant your branding seed. It's an online diary that you're willing to let others read and comment on.

Use it to share your knowledge and accomplishments. This is a place to refer people to and a way to showcase your ideas and work. It's also a way to set your garden center apart from the big box stores by making a personal connection with your customers. Your independent retail business has the ability to create content these mass sellers only dream of. Post content that establishes your garden center as the expert in the IGC industry.

Here are some more reasons you should be blogging:

To engage with your customers - Showcase your gardening and landscaping ideas, and drive people to your website and garden center to increase sales.

Because you have something to say - Use your blog to publish your thoughts about your business. Blogging, no matter if it's for a small or large garden center, gives you a platform.

To share your passion - It's what sets your garden center apart from the big box stores. Whether it's a photograph of the landscaping project you just finished or an amazing display inside your store, blogging enables you to share your flair with customers.

Content Is Key
In early 2011, Google updated its search engine algorithms with a new version called "Panda," and with it, started paying closer attention to the quality of sites. Google wanted to make sure people were writing good copy and designing attractive sites. But how does it measure that?

Google is not paying attention to how your site looks or grading your text to see if it's well-written and grammatically correct. Instead, it's looking at things like a user's time on-site, bounce rates and click-through rates.

If you want your blog to do well on Google, make sure you write great content. Make sure it looks good and is easy to navigate. Include photos, videos and other content to get people to stay on the site for a while. Include "previous post" and "next post" links to get people to navigate around, as well as "related post" links that lead to similar posts on your site. There are WordPress plugins to help you.
How Often Should You Post?
Business blogs should post two or three times a week, but once a day is even better. (One post per weekday is fine, and skip the weekends.) Anything less, and you look like you can't commit to a schedule, don't have good follow-through, or you've just abandoned the blog completely.

But don't limit yourself to the bare minimum. You need to post valuable content with some frequency. Regular posting makes it easier for search engines to find your site based on your search terms because they want fresh, new content on a regular basis. The more you post, the more search engines visit your blog. The more they visit your blog, the higher your possible ranking. The higher your possible ranking, the more traffic to your garden center website and your store. And the more traffic, the more sales for you!

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