7 Tips for Bootstrapping a Business by Blogging

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.

  1. 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/.

  2. 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.)

  3. 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.
    • Ebooks.

    All of these types of content should be produced with the intent of establishing your blog as an authority on its selected niche.

  4. 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.

  5. Giveaways.
    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.]

  6. 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.

  7. 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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  1. Sometimes I think it’s worth keeping the blog off the main site and using a seperate domain – especially if you wish to be more informal or the topic of your niche is likely to differ from that of your product or service (but still reach the right customer base).

    Comment by John — September 6, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

  2. Raj, I really like the idea of using an editorial calendar for a business blog. There are still a lot of tricks the new dogs and can learn from the old dogs. As a general overview, your post is very helpful. I wrote an entire series that was quite detailed on how to start a business blog. I hope that you and your readers will find it a useful addition to your own post.

    I can’t even imagine how anybody in this day and age would even want to bootstrap a business and not have a blog, but hey, I’m a little biased! ;) I have been subscribed to your blog now for a couple weeks and I’ve really been enjoying it.

    Comment by Better Blogging with Michael Martine — September 6, 2007 @ 9:37 pm

  3. Hi Michael, thanks for the compliments and for tipping me off. I’m going to read your series.


    Comment by Raj Dash — September 6, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

  4. This seems like good advice. But I think there are cases where having blog.yoursite.com is better. For instance, if you are running several unrelated projects, or multiple blogs, or that kind of thing.

    I guess if you have one business that you are looking to promote, you’d want to have it at yoursite.com/blog for the index and SEO.

    Are there other reasons that I’m missing?

    Comment by The Decision Strategist — September 7, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  5. Comment, comments and more comments is a must.

    Having a blog with a URL that is http://blog.companyname.com means your main website will miss out on Google juice, so your right, it should be a directory on the root.

    Giveaways are a massive one, my Technorati rank is almost half since David Airey started his $4,000 give away.


    Comment by Terinea Weblog — September 9, 2007 @ 11:09 pm

  6. @Decision strategist: You’re right that blog.yoursite.com is easier to remember, but if I don’t miss my guess, a subdirectory gets more Google juice – something Jamie echoed in his comment.

    Also, I asked the Google AdSense team about ads on a sub-domain and a subdirectory. Not all entrepreneurs with a business website will run AdSense ads on their blog, but if you do, heed this advice… Ads on a subdirectory will reflect the content of the rest of the domain. But ads on a sub-domain will not. So if you put a lot of time, effort, and/or money into content on your root domain, the benefit will be passed to a subdirectory. I believe this is also why less Google juice is passed to a subdomain than a subdirectory.

    However, what you can do is create a subdomain but redirect it permanently to the equivalent subdirectory. That way you have the benefit (easy to remember) without losing any search engine juice.

    @Jamie: Congrats. It’s nice to get that Technorati rank down.

    Comment by Raj Dash — September 10, 2007 @ 3:20 am

  7. Raj,
    On a slightly different topic, I’d suggest that one category you might want to ad under #3 is “news”. By this I mean product related news. Perhaps it is my bias as a working journalist and perhaps it is implied you would be including this aspect in other categories, but I think it can be valuable to include news items related to your product, service or general industry including relevant links to articles in the popular press as a way of adding momentum to your blog and making it a source not only for information about your product or expertise but an indispensable up dated news source on your industry making your blog a regular habit for readers. One easy way to do this is to set up a Google News Alert for terms related to your service or industry that will allow you to get frequent updates. You can write on these updates in your blog. The feed will also be a good way to remind you to stay informed of up to the minute changes related to your field.

    Comment by Shawn A. Hessinger — September 11, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

  8. Thanks for dropping by, Shawn. I definitely forgot to mention “News”. I agree with you. Industry news is important, especially if you can add your own value to the information.

    Comment by Raj Dash — September 11, 2007 @ 7:26 pm

  9. I just stumbled upon your blog. I love your tips on blogging. I started my blog last month and this article definately helps me realize that I would benefit if I am a little bit more organized.

    Comment by Diyana Alcheva - Leading the Way to Online Success — November 18, 2007 @ 5:28 am

  10. Thanks for dropping by, Diyana. Good luck with your efforts.

    Comment by Raj Dash — November 18, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

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