You have a pretty successful personal blog, and now you have this amazing business idea. Do you combine them, or create a separate web presence for your business?[bctt tweet=”Do you combine or separate your personal blog & business website?”]
If you blog about pencils and your business is making pencils, it’s a marriage made in heaven. But if the connection between your blog and your business is not obvious, the decision to add your business idea to your blog is not so cut and dried.
There should be a connection between the two, however thin; even if you blog about IT consultation and want to start selling lingerie, there is always a way to bridge the gap if you are creative enough (think humor, and the world is your oyster!).
The case for mixing business with pleasure
- Existing blog audience – You have a built-in audience already rooting for you who likes to read what you write. Once you find your blog-business connection, start dropping in related posts. A little begging goes a long way and your readers will happily share your posts because they believe in you already, and like-minded new readers will share them because they share your passion.
- Follow business-related accounts on social media – A thousand twitter followers or a hundred: it’s about engagement. If you engage with your followers on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (or whatever your poison is), they will also share what you post. Only following people who blog about angora rabbits like you do? Start following people/businesses that are related to your business, and start retweeting them to your followers. Engagement – it will work wonders.
- Start small, build big – Adding a business side to your existing blog allows you to start small. If you are worried that you don’t have enough experience to create a splashy website and charge astronomical prices for your expertise, then add a “Professional Services” type page to your blog. Everything you do that is related to your business now becomes part of the experience and expertise that you advertise on that page.
Cons to mixing business with pleasure
- Restricting your posts – While you feel free using all the swears in your personal rants about your mother-in-law, keep in mind you may lose past, present and potential clients to content they may find offensive. Unless your business is selling books about dealing with mothers-in-law, you’re not highlighting your skills in the most professional manner.
- Business over Blog, or Blog over Business – The balance between personal and professional is difficult in any situation. It can be done with a heap of premeditation, but inevitably one will take precedence over the other. If you are ok with that, then by all means have at it; your readers may not appreciate the lack of direction your site has taken so make sure the reasons for the back and forth are reinforced (i.e. post about your new direction, and have a “today’s subject” or a weekly tips post once a week on that subject).
The case for separation of personal and business
- Definitive direction – Creating a completely separate space for your business, whether it’s another blog for industry tips, tricks, advice, etc., or a professional services website all on its own, you now have the space you need to unapologetically nerd-out about your business. The people who are visiting your site will likely share your passion; you no longer need to think about how your personal blog readers will react to your 90th Pinterest post about selling doilies.
- Business in the front, business in the back – Now you can show off your professional side by using your hundred dollar words without your blogger friends calling you out for being erudite. And won’t it be nice having a place to refer clients to without having to apologize in advance for all the F-bombs?
Cons to separating personal and business
- Two, two, two times the work – Not only do you have to come up with witty repartee for your personal blog, you also need to come up with ideas for timely content for your business site too (if you are simply setting up a static site to showcase your product or service, then you don’t need to worry about timely content, obviously). The key here is to limit yourself, and not go over the top. One post a week, per blog, can be sufficient when you are just starting out. As your audience grows, though, beware: it will get more demanding as you expand. Don’t forget all of those extra business-related social media accounts, too!
- The dreaded white space – If you don’t have a lot of experience yet, those blank spaces will be pretty glaring. Write a list of everything you have ever done that pertains to your business, and find a way to include it in your “experience” page. The temptation to fill it up with internet jazz hands will be irresistible, but try to keep it simple; as your experience grows, so too will your website and its content.
There is a lot to consider when deciding the best fit for you and your business. Sit down and make a pros and cons list; only you know what will work for you and what won’t. Ultimately, it is going to take more commitment no matter which way you go, so don’t let that be your deciding factor.
Either way, congratulations! You have created a space (or two) for your dreams to take flight!
Jennifer lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband and 2 yr-old daughter. When not working in civil service or ranting about motherhood on her blog Mommies Drink, Jennifer offers consulting, maintenance and content creation services, specializing in personal and business blogs at JenniferPitt.ca. She also makes a mean vodka tonic, but don’t ask her to share. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.