A few years ago, "What's a blog?" wasn't an uncommon question. Many people thought it was a place online where a stay at home mom would write about raising her kids. Other moms would read it, share it with their other mom friends, and either agree and become a fan of the newfound mommy blogger or disagree and start their own blogs just to post a rebuttal.

Blogging is so much more than learning how to make baby food from scratch or sharing a story about a too short maternity leave. Today, it is what drives people to your website. In business, the more eyes on your website, your digital storefront, the more opportunities you have to close deals, make money, and take things to the next level.

Not too long ago, my former co-worker at the local NBC station called to ask if one of my clients, would be willing to go on camera to lend her expertise for a story a reporter was working on. When I told her my client was out of town, she took the next natural step to find what she needed. She Googled it. The first psychotherapist she found was available and earned TV time free of charge. If that professional didn't have a blog, that would have been a missed opportunity.

1. Focus on SEO before content.

When you build your company's website, you probably worked with a website developer and content creator who explained the importance of using certain keywords to drive people to your website or make sure it loads fast so people don't get impatient and click away to a competitors site. Well, after a while, those keywords become old. It's important to stay up to date with what people are searching and updating the content on your website with those new keywords on a consistent basis. 

You should never blog for the sake of blogging. You need to be strategic and know about SEO so prospects actually find your blog online. This involves a lot of things, including knowing what people are searching in your niche and how many results there are for those searches. 

For example, if there are tens of millions of results for the search "How to start a business", your chances of being found are low. If there are less than a million results for the search "How to start a business in South Florida" and you're a business or marketing consultant in the area, I'd make that my blog topic.

Also, if you don't maintain your website with fresh material, you will fall further and further away from the top of a Google search. When you search for something online, how many times do you make it past the results on page one? What about page three? Remember, if you're not blogging to keep your business front and center, your competitor is and will be discovered before you.

2. Promote yourself as an expert.

We live in a sales driven world. Everyone is selling something -- a product, a service, an experience, and the list goes on. Before buying anything, a consumer asks themselves at least one question, "Do I trust the person trying to sell me this?" If not, then you make not end up with the deal. 

So, how do you become trusted? You become known as the go-to person in your industry. Promoting yourself as an expert in your industry isn't hard. You can hire a public relations firm to help, you can network with other industry professionals to get the word out, or you can post it online for potential clients and customers to find, read, and react. 

With public relations, you're not always sure how a journalist will write or air a story that features you. It's their job to tell a story aimed at their viewers, listeners, and readers -- not to promote you. At a networking event, you may waste your time with connections who aren't beneficial. When you blog, you have complete control over what is written, how it's written, and the where it's distributed.

3. Write like them.

In business, offline and online, you want to reach a potential client or consumer by speaking their language and showing them you have a solution to their problem. When you speak their language, you are using keywords they are searching, not your industry jargon.

For example, if you're a doctor focusing on heart conditions, I'd stay away from words like myocardia infarction. While that may be the proper term and how you use it, it's not what your patients are searching to find you. "Heart attack" would probably be a better route to that. Again, that's why you should let the SEO research determine your blog topics. 

If this is how you would speak over coffee or on a phone call, then why not carry that conversation online?