Blogs are an easy way to get your voice out on the Web. Whether you're looking to increase the traffic to your Web site, or hoping to find a place of your own online, Blogs are mainstream media and are becoming more and more popular. Blogs have transformed since their introduction on the Web. They now can help with your search positions, building your brand, and connecting with your customers like never before. Creating a blog may seem intimidating, but here are the basics to get you started...
- Appoint your writers.Who is going to write your blog? Are you going to have one author or many? Are you going to be doing all the writing? Will you turn to other people to write the blog? Knowing who is responsible for writing is key. Knowing who your designated writers are will make it easier to develop a consistent schedule and create a strong identity for your blog.
- Design the look. How your blog looks will reflect your company's reputation. Make sure you choose a layout that works with the rest of your Web site and brand. If you're new to the blogosphere, simplicity is best. 2 or 3 column layouts are clean and simple. The easier it is to read your blog, the more effective it will be. Make your blog your own.
- Do your research. Research will never go out of style. Building a solid foundation is just a good decision. What kind of research goes into developing a blog? How about keyword research? Know what keywords you should be using, develop a glossary, and categorize your posts with relevant keywords. Give your readers an organized and easy to navigate experience.
- Follow the rules. Though the Web may still seem like a wild frontier, there are some legal matters you need to make yourself aware of. Also, for your blog to do well, it's important to pay attention to the webmaster guidelines.
- Choose an angle. What are you going to write about? Think you'll have a hard time filling your blog? Think again. Blogs aren't the place for you to talk about your products. Blogs are the place for you to establish yourself as an industry leader. When you read a blog, you want to write for the readers. What are interesting developments in your industry? What insights can you offer? What information do you have that your audience can benefit from? Sure, the occasional company update or plug about products, services, or specials may be in order. In all reality, people are going to keep coming back to your blog when you offer quality, informational content, and not sales pitches.
- Get creative. You know how boring some text books can be. Don't bore your readers. Talk to them. Use personal stories, with relatable language. Use pictures when appropriate. Take a look at Google's advice when using rich media. Make your titles descriptive. This will add to your readers' experience as well as to your search visibility, as post URLs are often generated from the post titles. No one is going to keep coming back to read you rattle off lists of how much you know, what your company's specials are, or how great you are. They'll come back when you can creatively relate your expertise and experiences in an interesting way.
- Be available. This is a two part suggestion. First and foremost, make sure your blog is easy to find. Provide links to it from all of the pages on your Web site, with a prominent link on your home page. Second, you want feedback and discussion from your readers, so that you can create even more informational, entertaining content. You need to do everything you can to encourage comments from your readers. This can include thank you messages to those who post, starting discussions yourself, and being in touch with the people who are taking the time to add to your blog.
- Develop a schedule. You need a consistent schedule of Blog posts. Shoot for writing a minimum of 2 new posts every week. 3 to 4 is better, but you need a schedule that you can realistically stick to. Don't plan on writing 4 posts a week and end up with lots of boring, uninformative posts. Write the best posts possible, as often as possible.
- Get to the point. You don't have hours upon hours to read through blog entries, and neither does your audience. You have worthwhile information to share. You need to write in a clear, succinct way so that your readers can come to your page, read your entry, have time to comment and share, and then get on with their day.
- Be provocative. Your content should be thought-provoking. That does not mean confrontational, insulting, or inflammatory, but inspiring. Writing dull content won't get you anywhere. Motivating, intelligent posts are key. Provocative posts are read more, are commented on more, and have a much better chance of going viral. Write something that you would want to read, and you'll be one step closer to reaching your target audience.
- Broadcast yourself. So you've got a blog with everything we've talked about so far. That's great. But how are you going to get people to read it? You need to make the right people aware of your blog. Go to industry blogs and forums, become a known resource, introduce yourself, share information, make your presence known, request feedback and reviews of your blog. Use StumbleUpon, Social Networking Web sites, and bookmarking services. Publish feeds of your blog. When you write, make sure the people that read your blog know it. Add a blog roll to your Web site, adding worthwhile industry content, and let those authors know you've added them, perhaps they'll return the favor. Distribute a press release announcing your blog. Get creative in getting the word out there.
Blogs can be a powerful tool for companies and individuals to build their brand, educate their audience, and connect with those on the Web. Keep these tips in mind when creating your blog and you will have a better chance of reaching your target audience.