My second blog happens to be about my first blog. Not very original of me, but blogging for the first time was hard. Like, really hard.
First off, I wrote something I cared about. I cared about what people would think of it, and my own ability to write something thought-provoking, so the writing process in itself took forever. Rewriting, proofing, rewriting again. Honestly, I spent so much time spell checking and there were still grammatical errors, it took so much longer than necessary.
And secondly, I had to revamp Virtual Assist’s very basic website. This was so I could monitor who, where and how many people were both reading and sharing my blog. Virtual Assist has been referred via word of mouth to date, so analytics were not overly important until now. Updating my site involved setting up Google analytics and loads of plug-ins. It takes a lot of time.
As I said in 10-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence, I’ve been hanging back from social media and blogging, and one of the reasons is because maintaining a presence is a big commitment. I love a blogger who is able to connect with their audience effectively. Relatable, informative, up to play with hot topics, and if you’re lucky they are humorous. It’s a lot, and I’m not sure I’m capable of it.
However, I’ll have to get over it because I think blogging is a very important part of what Virtual Assist/my business offers.
My business coach (“hi” Hector if you’re here) is always reminding me to stay focused, and he is right. What does blogging have to do with business support? Can I even write? Shouldn’t I stick to what I know? All good questions that I ask myself often, but I honestly don’t think Virtual Assist can effectively support businesses without writing about what we do.
I’m a firm believer that knowledge is empowering, and I believe in spending a lot of time, across various mediums, with those wanting to learn. Virtual Assist creates training manuals, have one-on-ones, do presentations, anything and everything to teach others how to do what we do. Yes that’s right, we teach others everything about what we do. And that’s it in a nutshell – blogging is a great platform to communicate what we do to empower others.
But what about intellectual property you ask? Well my answer to that is, it doesn’t matter.
Controversial, yes. Naive, maybe. But our ethos is – when others understand what you do, they also understand that you are the best person for the job. People hire Virtual Assist not because they have to, but because we are good at what we do, and that that their time is best spent elsewhere.
If you’re not convinced about parting with your I.P., blogging can also:
- Advertise your business to the masses – My site and first blog was viewed by people in South Africa, Germany and Saudi Arabia
- Create a new revenue stream – This can be a huge commitment and is a whole other blog altogether, so for more information refer to Tips for Making Money Online with Email
- Build an email list – This relates to making money again, refer to the above link
- Act as a reference – If people read your blog and like it, it can set up a line of trust, which makes engaging them as a new client easier
- Connect you with similar businesses – This is helpful as they may refer you, or provide you with help if you need some feedback
Obviously setting up the blog itself comes with challenges, but if you can see that blogging is something you want to do for any reason, here are 5 key points to help you get started in this venture.
5 Tips for Starting Your Blog
- Research your platform – Do you want to just blog, or do you need to have a customer relationship management system too? Should you choose Squarespace or WordPress? These questions will help you choose the right platform and template for your needs. If unsure, there are a lot of Facebook groups out there that you can join (just search “blogging” in Facebook), and members will help you out. Failing that, phone a friend. Someone will no doubt know someone who can help.
- Spend time setting it up – Understand how the game works. Google analytics, SEO’s, media tags. They all matter. Do your research and set it up properly at the start, because it can be a real disadvantage if you don’t
- Ask for help – I spent my entire weekend Googling everything about WordPress and plugins. I also asked other VA’s in a Facebook Group to test it before I posted. If I had just slogged it out on my own I’d still be there now trying to figure out my Sharing plugin – Shout out to Helpful/Kat, for always being there to nut stuff out, and A Prettier Web, for simple videos that were quick and easy to follow
- Choose a blogging theme – Ours is currently about virtual assistants, small businesses, and women in business. If people subscribe they know what they’re getting. If you have no clear direction for your blog you may lose your audience, so be consistent
- Commit to it – If you let life get in the way you’ll return to a deserted blog and no followers. If you’re going to do it, set time aside to make sure you deliver regularly.
I’m hoping this will help get you off the ground. Feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions about anything said here. Other than spreading the word, my main goal in blogging is to start a line of communication with people. And if this has been enough to get you started then let us know, we’d love to follow.