iStock_000015589126XSmallWelcome back to our ongoing series geared toward getting you the stories and information you need to improve your small business. As a small business owner, you can never stop reading about the state of the market or learning new ways to improve and expand. That’s where we come in.

So in case you didn’t have a chance to read the tens of thousands of articles or Facebook posts since our last installment, here are some of the most useful and interesting stories we came across.

Getting the Most from Your Blog

Blogs used to be the butt of a number of jokes that usually revolved around an unemployed “writer” in his or her parent’s basement eating Cheetos or Twinkies. However, this is far from the truth. Blogs have since become an essential part of a business’ SEO value and overall online presence.

Getting a blog is no problem. Providing quality, shareable content three to five days a week is the challenge. This article from Search Engine Journal addresses this very issue. From organizing thoughts and ideas in an editorial calendar to simple tips on coming up with blog post ideas, you will immediately improve your company’s blog overnight.

Social Media Timeline

Have you ever thought about when is the perfect time to post content on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin? The key to success on social media is not only quality content, but also reaching the most people.

This is a cool article and inforgraphic about the most opportunistic times to post on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. Hopefully this will greatly improve your social media campaign without having to spend extra money for promoted content.

Image is Everything

We’ve all heard the cliche, “dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” but what does that exactly mean? Like many other areas, image is a large part of success for your small business. If you walk and talk like a successful company, you will be perceived as a successful company.

Of course, image sometimes costs money. Fortunately, there are simple, affordable ways you can immediately improve the image of your small business so you can start competing with the big guys.

Author, speaker and Principal at SuccessFuel Michel Theriault discusses five different ways you can make you and your business appear bigger than you actually are. From your company’s name to your presence online, these are tips you cannot miss.

Enchanting Your Customers

In general, customers enjoy shopping locally at small businesses. I know I do. There’s something about having a personal relationship with the owner of a music store or tailor who isn’t trying to just sell you the most expensive product, but the product that is right for you.

We want to know the mechanic working on our vehicle and we want to trust that he or she is not only good at what they do, but also passionate about it. Customers like helping small business owners.

So with that in mind, you have to make sure you are constantly enchanting your customers day in and day out. This article from Linkedin covers 10 ways you can be enchanting to your customers to ensure they will return time and time again.

Is Cash Still King?

It is the age of the debit or credit card. If your small business isn’t accepting plastic, there is a good chance you are losing customers and sales. By 2017, only 23 percent of all transactions are expected to be with cash while credit card purchases are expected to increase to 33 percent.

Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends has a nice article and infograpic depicting the transformation from cash to credit and why accepting plastic is beneficial for small businesses.