6 reasons to write a blog for your bed and breakfastFeb 02, 2021
It's Groundhog Day today and, with lockdown here in the UK, it feels a bit like we're stuck in a time loop, reliving the same day repeatedly.
Hopefully Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog will predict an early Spring for us.
If you've never seen the movie Groundhog Day, I probably lost you after Hello from Shropshire.
Anyway, the B&B Marketing Community has been keeping me busy. This week we got a great question about why B&Bs should blog. Blogging is probably one of the most time consuming of marketing activities but it's one that reaps benefits on many levels.
This week’s blog post is all about:
writing blogs, what a blog is and why writing one can help your B&B business.
What is a blog?
I won’t go into the whole history of it, but blog is short for weblog. The term was coined in 1997 to describe the process of “logging the web”.
A blog can be a whole website or a page on a website, like this blog here. It’s made up of individual blog posts, usually arranged in reverse chronological order, with the most recent post at the top of the page.
Blogs can be categorised and organised by using tags. For example, If you click on one of the tags at the top of this blog post, e.g. marketing, you’ll just see all of the posts I've added the marketing tag to.
What are blogs for?
Blogs can be used for many reasons. If you’ve ever done an online search for lemon drizzle cake online, the recipes you’ve found are probably on a blog.
They can be used to entertain or to impart information, like this blog you're reading now.
They could just be someone’s online journal which they want to share with the world.
Some new B&B owners I know have documented their journey in setting up a B&B in a blog.
How can writing a blog help you market your B&B business?
There are several very good reasons for writing a blog and including it as a page on your B&B website.
One of the main reasons is that it helps to improve your chances of getting your website found by someone searching for a B&B in your area.
1. Regular blogging keeps your website up to date
A website that is updated regularly is one of the factors that the search engines, such as Google, use when ranking your website.
The search engines are successful ( and make money ) because they provide the best possible results to their users when they type in a search term such as B&B Devon.
If you did a search for B&B Devon and Google showed you a website for a business that had shut down 3 years ago, you’d start to lose faith in Google and probably go off and use another search engine.
The problem you face as a B&B owner is that once you’ve set up your website it’s quite difficult to find things to keep updating it with, which is where a blog comes in handy. It allows you to update on an ongoing, regular basis without cluttering up your website
An up to date website is also reassuring from a potential guest’s point of view. It will show them that you’re still in business!
2. It’s a way of adding fresh content
Writing a regular blog means you can continue to add fresh content to your website on an ongoing basis.
You can add lots of relevant keywords - the words and phrases that people are typing into the search engine e.g. dog friendly B&B Devon.
When Google visits your website, it's trying to understand what it's all about, so that it can decide whether it’s the best website to show to your potential customers.
By including keywords in your blog, you’re helping Google understand your website.
It also looks at something called latent semantic keywords - which is a long phrase for words that might be associated with your subject.
For example, if I were to write a blog post containing a recipe for lemon drizzle cake, Google would be looking for other words it would expect to find in a lemon drizzle cake recipe. These might be eggs, oven, baking and butter.
3. A blog can make your website more interesting and personal
Many people visit a B&B over a hotel because they want that personal touch and interaction with the owners, which you just don’t get in a big establishment.
Your B&B blog allows you to put your personality across and to connect with your potential customers.
If I’m looking for somewhere to stay and it has a blog, I’ll always read it to see if they are the sort of people I’d be comfortable staying with. Include a picture of your dogs and I'm sold 😉
4. Provides useful information for your customers
Having a blog allows you to add much more content to your website, that will be useful to your guests when they’re planning their stay; a bit like a travel guide.
We stayed at a B&B in Maine during the Fall season some years ago and one of the reasons we stayed was that they had a blog post containing itineraries for drives to see the best of the autumn colours.
By writing practical guides like this on your blog, you’re improving your chances of your website being found by a potential guest. And once they have found your website, you’re improving the chances of them actually booking.
5. It provides you with content to post on social media
One of the biggest problems I see people coming up against, when they are using social media for their business, is knowing what to post.
Having a blog post you link from your social media gives you content you can use again and again.
And you’re likely to get more followers on social media if you provide them with useful content and so a reason to follow you.
For example, instead of just posting a picture of a lemon drizzle cake on instagram. You post a picture of a lemon drizzle cake and then tell people to link through to your website for the recipe on your blog.
6. Provides you with content to put in your newsletter
Collecting your customer’s ( or potential customer’s ) email addresses ( In a GDPR compliant way of course ) is at the cornerstone of any business’s marketing.
Like posting on social media, thinking up content for newsletters can be a stumbling block for many B&B owners. By having a blog post to link back to, you’ve got ready-made content and you’re also driving people back to your website, where they might book.
And you can always re-use content. I’ve got a very popular blog post which is 5 Autumn walks in Shropshire. I would quite happily link back to this in a newsletter every year, along with a seasonal recipe and maybe a short paragraph on some more up to date news about the area or the B&B.
If you want to improve the photos you take for your blog, take a look at this blog post Food Photography Tips for Bed and Breakfast Owners
If you want to learn more about how to market a bed and breakfast, without giving your hard earned income to the online travel agencies, then check out my B&B Academy Community Marketing Membership
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