Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 9:30pm by Site Administrator
If you do decide that your business website should have a blog, and that having a blog can bootstrap your business, you’ll likely want a few pointers on settng up and managing a blog. This is not a detailed guide, but rather a quick overview.
- Blog setup.
Setup a blog on a subdirectory of the main site. That is, if your website is at http://www.example.com/, use http://www.example.com/blog/ or some such instead of http://blog.example.com/.
- Niche selection.
This is the tough decision. Your blog’s topic niche should be related to your business, but be of interest to readers. First, decide who your customers are, whether they will be your blog readers, and whether they’ll convert into customers. If that’s not possible, the blog can be about a topic related to your business, even just peripherally.
Either way, your blog builds authority over time, and that authority partly transfers to the main website. That’s where you are selling your products or services, and hopefully it will receive its fair share of web traffic from search engine queries. (I.e., people searching for a specific product or service tend to be ready to buy something.)
- Editorial calendar.
Once you’ve selected a niche, it’s easier to come up with a plan for actual articles – an editorial calendar. A strict editorial calendar also indicates specific publication dates. For a blog, you can just come up with a loose schedule and a list of article ideas or actual titles. It’s important that you publish “key” content:
- Resource lists and general linkbait articles.
- Profiles and interviews of industry leaders.
- Comparisons and reviews of products and services, though not of your direct competitors.
- Tutorials of how to do something related to your blog’s niche.
- Video screencasts of how use relevant software.
All of these types of content should be produced with the intent of establishing your blog as an authority on its selected niche.
- Regular schedule.
Publish to the blog regularly. If you can publish quality articles five days a week, fine. If you can’t, fine. Just be consistent. Any less than three times per week is not a good idea, in my opinion. Neither is it expected that you publish more than 3-5 articles per day, unless there is an overwhelming reason to do so.
Use your blog, which does not hard sell your products and services, to occasional give away what you’re selling. You can also hire a design firm to create plugins and website templates for blog platforms (such as WordPress – one of the most popular Open Source platforms). Give the plugins and themes away on your blog.
Such freebies can generate an awful lot of buzz for you, especially if you do them on a regular basis. Your website’s link goes into the footer, as the sponsor. [Some search engines may discount the value of these links, but you will still get visitors from blogs that use your free themes, and some bloggers will write about and link to your site. So it's still a worthwhile move.]
- Build relationships.
Relationship-building is very important online, but it must be sincere and diplomatic. It’s not easy, and you might slip, so do your best to rectify awkward situations. This applies if you comment at other blogs related to your niche, which you should consider doing.
- Promote and build links.
All the activities above are for naught if you cannot succeed in building links to your site through good content, social media marketing and ongoing networking with other online professionals. For more reading material, check out Tropical SEO and Search Engine Journal.
This is the tip of the iceberg for building a successful “business” blog, though it should give you a general overview.
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