Certainly for many who approach the task without a clear focus blogging can be a waste of time. But for those who get it right the rewards can be spectacular. Done well, blogging will put you in front of a huge audience. But blogging isn't as easy as everyone seems to think and the bad news is that done badly a blog can impede a small businesses' progress and act like a brake on ambition.
Here are five of my favourite blogs by small businesses:
Officebroker.com was founded ten years ago and has enjoyed fantastic growth with around 100 staff today and centres in the USA and Australia as well as the UK.
The blog has been a central part of their growth strategy. I love the discipline of daily updates seven days a week. But it isn't just the frequency of posts that have made this blog such a success. The content and tone are spot on too. There's a great mix of industry news, unique market research and entertaining content. The blog clearly establishes Officebroker.com as experts in their field.
I'm a huge fan of Nikki. She's carved out a great niche as an internet marketer. I first became aware of her through her blog which offers lots of brilliant free content - great for encouraging in-bound links.
Nikki has proven that she can practice what she preaches - her site enjoys great Google visibility - proof of the pudding for an internet marketer and her straight forward writing style and honest no nonsense approach makes the blog a winner with audiences as well as search engines.
Car leasing isn't the first business sector one associates with the web but Stoke-based Central Contracts have a highly effective site and a blog which offers diverse and hugely entertaining original content.
Recent posts include the top ten vintage cars available on the internet and comment on the Government's pot hole policy - in other words anything to do with cars and driving as long as it's informative and entertaining.
This is another blog with a clearly defined editorial voice and a daily posting policy. It offers a great read every day and really engages with its audience.
I love Kashflow founder Duane Jackson's inspiring back story. After a difficult start in life he's become recognised as one of the UK's most exciting young web-savvy entrepreneurs.
His blog regularly attracts scores of comments and has helped position Duane as an expert in his field. He's achieved it through a great mix of content, personality and corporate transparency.
Former journalist Robbie Burns has built himself into a one man brand through his Naked Trader blog. He started the site in 2000 and has since made almost £900,000 by trading company shares on the stock market.
The site details his various deals but Robbie's masterstroke has been to pour just the right amount of his own engaging personality into his account of the ups and downs of a home-based trader. He has built up a loyal following who must find his approach a breath of fresh air compared to all the dull financial websites out there on the internet.
Robbie also runs seminars on share trading and I'd be willing to bet that he could fill these many times over with blog readers.
Robbie's branding was a great move. The Naked Trader concept has proven to be both marketable and popular. It's already led to two books and surely there's a future TV series in it too?
Steve McComish is MD of London PR and a regular Smarta columnist. Check out his latest posts: