Small business owners are busy people. They’re probably the last people you would imagine would have time to start a blog.
But once you start searching you’ll realise there are thousands of blogs out there written by small business owners and experts. But how do you sort the wheat from the chaff?
Here’s SmartCompany’s annual list of Australia’s Best Business Blogs. These are the blogs which we think offer the best free advice for small business owners. From avoiding insolvency to using big data, there’s something for everyone. Happy reading:
The Bluewire Media blog is a one-stop-shop for all things digital marketing. You’ll find how-to guides and templates for using social media, regular podcasts and guest posts from digital marketing experts. Bluewire Media founders Adam Franklin and Toby Jenkins have previously appeared in SmartCompany’s Hot 30 Under 30 and we have also reviewed their book, Web Marketing That Works.
2. Small Talk
Need some inspiration? Keely Malady’s blog Small Talk is a collection of honest interviews and gorgeous photographs of small business owners with big hearts. Featuring businesses and individuals that Malady herself loves and admires, Small Talk profiles a range of different entrepreneurs and asks the big questions about successes, failures and inspirations.
Rebekah Campbell’s blog aims to tell “the real story” behind the life of a startup founder. The great thing about this blog is its honesty – Campbell doesn’t shy away from the rollercoaster that is startup life. She reflects on everything from the moral challenges that come with building a team in a poorer country to gender diversity in business. If you want to read something that looks beyond the enthusiasm that comes with trying to solve a problem with new technology, this is the perfect place.
Understanding, let alone surviving a corporate insolvency, can be a minefield. The Dissolve blog, written by liquidator and SmartCompany contributor Cliff Sanderson, includes useful tips and advice on all aspects of corporate insolvency and liquidation, from the personal liability of company directors to common misconceptions about voluntary administrations, as well as regular updates on the number of companies collapsing in Australia.
Mental health is a massive issue in small business, and Leanne Faulkner has spoken to SmartCompany before about the importance of speaking out and letting people know they are not alone. Running a business in Australia is far from easy, and Faulkner discusses her goals and previous business ventures with honesty and a wealth of knowledge. Reading this blog will make you realise that to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to embrace both success and failure.
Do you want to get more people clicking through from your marketing emails or get your Facebook post in front of more pairs of eyes? The key may just be in writing better copy. Copywrite Matters is dedicated to all things copywriting and is full of handy tips for even the most seasoned wordsmith. According to author and copywriting consultant Belinda Weaver, “when your words press all the right buttons, they can motivate action. And great copywriting is all about action”.
7. Naomi Simson
Founder of experience gift website Red Balloon, and a previous blogger for SmartCompany, Naomi Simson’s blog is part motivational and part practical business advice. Simson shares her own personal hits and misses with her readers in regularly updated posts, including the day she was turned down by Richard Branson. As a star on the latest season of Shark Tank, Simson also has some great advice for entrepreneurs in the making, as well some behind the scenes gossip from the show.
Socially Sorted is a fun and accessible blog full of tips and ideas to improve your company’s social media presence. Recent posts such as ‘Three Instagram Apps to Make Visual Content Stand Out’ and ‘Got Boring Business Content? Bring Sexy Content Back will give you an idea of the kind of content you’ll find on Socially Sorted. The author is Donna Moritz, a Queensland-based social media strategist and visual marketing specialist.
Stephen Koukoulas has more than 25 years as an economist and has held positions as chief economist at two major banks and was an economic adviser to former prime minister Julia Gillard. Koukoulas operates an independent economic analysis firm called Market Economics and on the company’s blog, you’ll find his analysis about all aspects of macroeconomics. The posts that delve into recent economic data releases and government policy changes are particularly insightful.
10. Safety At Work
Small business owners who don’t have the luxury of their own human resources team can use this blog to keep across all the latest occupational health and safety issues. Safety at Work covers all the latest law cases and decisions relating to OH&S and workers compensation, as well as the best books and research in the field. Blogger Kevin Jones is a consultant on workplace safety and regularly updates the blog with fresh news.
11. Lush Digital
Having trouble getting your head around content marketing? Lush Digital not only includes regularly updated practical advice on creating content for your brand, it also delivers a weekly podcast on brand journalism and content marketing. Drawing on the experience of international journalists, content marketers and media experts, each 20-minute podcast features news and discussion from around the globe.
12. The Savage Truth
Founder of leading recruitment companies Firebrand Talent Search, Greg Savage is a big name in Australian recruiting. In his blog, The Savage Truth, Savage shares the dos and don’ts of hiring, as well as his take on management and leadership skills. While he generally writes his blogs for those within the recruitment industry, small business owners can gain a lot from his guidance on how to make a good hire or his more general advice, such as how he gained 30,000 Twitter followers.
13. Kat’s Insight
Creative strategist Katrina Read’s blog is a must for any business owner wanting to unlock the potential of big data and analytics. There is a huge amount of content on this blog, helpfully broken down into categories like retail, telecommunications, big data and budgeting. Katrina tackles big topics using real-world examples, and if you’re time-poor you can always sign up to her email newsletter so her latest posts land straight into your inbox.
Steve Sammartino’s blog on startups, data and new technology is incredibly refreshing in a world of buzzwords and marketing jargon. He tackles issues ranging from how to charge for your services as a freelancer to what Uber’s surge pricing model says about the company. Steve has also written a book called The Great Fragmentation, so he knows his stuff.
Businesses are often told to create their own blog posts to engage and retain customers with helpful content, and Appster’s blog is a perfect example of doing just that. From posts such as ‘How to get investors for your seed round’ to ‘How to build your persona’, the Melbourne startup has managed to create shareable content that will ensure readers keep coming back for more. Each post is relatively short and snappy – perfect for a lunchtime read or Friday afternoon pick-me-up.
16. Design School
Artists, designers and other creative types will find Canva’s blog extremely helpful. Each post explores diverse topics such as how to marry text with images, get started on social media or stay creative. Design School will help fledging designers and entrepreneurs come up with new ideas and keep the creative juices flowing – exactly what a design startup should be encouraging.
17. Swish Design
The Swish Design blog by Kelly Exeter is aimed at small business owners wanting to boost their success through good design, social media and digital marketing. Kelly’s posts are really great at breaking down topics such as why you need to get a Facebook page or how to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Not everyone has the time to become a digital expert, which makes this blog extra helpful.
18. Inspired Worlds
In the fast-paced world of business and startups, we don’t often get the time to reflect on the work we’ve done or how we can do better. Matthew Ho’s blog does just that, detailing current and previous projects as well as things he stumbled upon online. For example, there is a great post about how online marketplace Red Balloon uses targeted Facebook ads.
19. Infinite Growth
Need to sharpen your public speaking or communications skills? This blog is a must-read. Communications consultant Maria Pantalone has a wealth of knowledge to share when it comes to presenting to colleagues and clients. After reading this blog you’ll be fielding questions and pitching to large crowds like a pro.
20. Coping with Jane
Jane Copeland’s blog is a fantastic resource for people looking to build their personal brand while maintaining a work-life balance. The blog also makes use of video content, which is especially refreshing and makes it stand out from other business blogs. Jane is a marketing strategist specialising in helping women position themselves as leaders in their field, and is the author of the book Boardroom to Baby.