It was a pretty exciting day yesterday at the MJSA Expo in New York City. It was my honor to be one of MJSA's Business Experts where I had the pleasure of answering direct questions from jewelry designers, retailer, and manufacturers.
It was a wonderful experience to freely share all the stuff I write about here on jWAG.biz in a face to face setting. One important question that a few attendees asked me was simply "How do you get people to a new website without paying for advertising?"
Before I dive into the answer I gave, I'd like to first point out that there's always a cost of doing something. Even if you are not paying someone else for your advertising, you still have to take care of it yourself, right? You are still paying for your advertising, but that cost is part of your personal paycheck.
I'm leading into the answer this way because the least expensive advertising method is to create a blog for yourself, and post to it on a regular basis. Start with a single blog post per month and make sure you publish that blog on the same day every month.
Commit to the blog writing process once every month until you become familiar with how to do it. A typical blog post can take more than 1 hour to write, 30 minutes to double check it, and then 2.5 hours to post it to your website and share it to various social networks.
Let me break this down.
1. The first step it to figure out what your blogging topic will be. Some of the blogging topics I brainstormed with the MJSA attendees included writing a blog explaining how they got into the industry, and where they get their inspirations from.
2. Writing the actual blog will take more time when you first get started, but it does get easier over time as you break down the problems that create writer's block. You should expect it will take at least 1 hour to write your blog, but don't be surprised if it takes 2 or more. It's always going to be easier to write blogs explaining your opinion on something, but it's much more difficult when you are writing a blog that needs supporting photographs or data.
3. Edit the draft copy of your blog before posting it. I recommend that you let someone else proofread your draft and edit it for you. If you don't have anyone to willing to be your editor, or if you simply can't afford one, then you will have to do it yourself. NEVER proofread and edit your blog draft right after you finish writing it. Put it away and wait at least 24 hours before attempting to edit it. The best way I've found to edit my own blog is to read it out loud. It's amazing how many mistakes I find when I vocalize exactly what's written. The editing process will take at least 30 minutes.
4. Posting the blog to your website also takes time. Even simple formatting of headings and sub-headings can easily eat up 30 minutes of time.
5. Once the blog is live on your website you should share it out to the social networks. My recommendation if to use Hootsuite to schedule future times to socially post a description of your latest blog along with a link. You will need to test and track different times of the day when you share socially. After a few months, this tracking information should tell you what time of day attracts more people to click on your blog link. You should fine tune the times and frequency of your social shares based on this tracking information. The goal is to reach your target audience when they are online and might see what you post. The process of scheduling your social posts might only take 10 minutes, or it might take 2.5 hours--it all depends how intricate your social sharing methods are.
In total, it looks like I'm suggesting about 5 hours for the process of writing, editing, posting, and social sharing each blog post.
Blogging is only one method of online marketing that doesn't directly cost money if you do it yourself, that is, as long as you don't pay yourself for your 5 hours of work.
Blogging is an easy way to build your website regularly over time, and on a set schedule. Each blog post creates an additional opportunity for Google to show your website in search results. I've tracked individual blog posts that attract more than 60 random new visitors per month. Think about the compounding affect of multiple blogs, after 12 months of blogging you could boost your organic traffic by more than 700 people per month.
Blogging does work as a "free" method of attracting people to your website, but it takes a long time to build the momentum needed to realize profits from it.