Blogging is nothing new; the first recorded use of the since shorted 'weblog' was in 1997, with much of the younger generation likely no longer remembering more traditional hand-written journals, having grown up around blogs.
Blogs about travel, blogs about beauty, blogs about how to do your hair, blogs about what to wear on Saturday night, blogs about what to eat, blogs about how to relax; you name it, someone out there is blogging about it. But is anyone blogging about your limited company?
A blog is a sign of credibility in today's increasingly digital world, with blogging the top form of content marketing, used by 65 per cent of brands, ahead of social media advertising and case studies, both of which are embraced by 64 per cent of businesses.
What's more, data from blog hosting provider WordPress shows that 56 million blog entries are posted every month on just that platform alone.
Your limited company is a brand, so you should give some serious thought to creating a blog. Here's how it could help, as well as some advice on getting started:
To get your voice out there
With seemingly everyone having their own blog, it's important to mark your place in your field and ensure that your voice is out there as well.
Demonstrate your expertise in your posts - which don't all have to be written, as video content and other visuals will help to boost engagement with your blog - and share your thoughts and feelings on current affairs relating to your field. This will help to show that you're passionate about the industry you work in and that you know your stuff, and sharing your personal view will add a human element to your brand when potential clients are looking up your limited company online.
By having an active web presence and bearing in mind best practice search engine optimisation rules, you can help to improve your blog's rankings on Google, potentially increasing your chances of securing new contracts as a result.
An extra asset to show clients
A blog can also be a great asset to show to clients you want to work with in the future. If you're a freelance writer, for example, it's a handy way to create an easily-accessible portfolio of your work that immediately provides clients with evidence of the kind of work that you can produce.
If you're looking for contracts in web development, play around with the layout of your blog to customise it to suit your brand personality to impress clients.
Those looking for work as freelance make-up artists, hairdressers and stylists would all do well to have an active blog in the fashion and beauty sphere, while freelance graphic designers looking for their next contract may boost their chances with a prospective client if they have a blog showcasing their aesthetic style.
But where exactly should you start when it comes to creating a blog and building a following?
Where to start: Choose the perfect platform
First, you need to decide which blogging platform you'd like to use, find a unique, professional and relevant URL, and give some thought to your layout. Appearance is everything; no one will want to linger on an unattractive-looking or poorly laid-out webpage for too long. If you don't want to use a platform such as WordPress or Tumblr, you can also create longer posts on LinkedIn that can be linked to from your profile, although it's best to keep anything you write here strictly professional.
What's next? Choose the perfect topics
Next, you need to know what kind of topics you want to blog about, and create different category sections for posts of the same theme to prevent everything from getting muddled together. For example, if you're a web developer, you might want to write about the websites that inspire you under the category 'inspiration', but you may also wish to discuss your favourite computer games under 'reviews' and reveal snapshots of your day-to-day working life under 'my business'.
And finally... make the time for content creation
Working for yourself can get very busy with lots of priorities to juggle, so create a blogging schedule and try to stick to it as much as possible. Make sure you're posting something new, fresh and engaging at least once a week, and promote it on your social media channels to increase engagement.
It's also important to take the time to review how well your blog is doing. Perhaps ask your social media followers what kind of posts they would like to see from you in the future, and use an analytics tool to see who exactly is reading your work.