With all of the excitement and newness of social media, is it still important to have your own blog? Absolutely! Blogs are very much alive and doing better than ever. After reading this article, you’ll understand that your blog is not only an integral part of your social media marketing strategy, but it is perhaps the most influential part.
In this article, we discuss what blogs are, how popular they are, how to set them up, what makes them successful, and how to tie them into your other social media sites. This article puts it all together so you know all the essentials to make your mark on the blogging word.
A blog is short for weblog. It is a sort of log or personal writing that’s accessible to the world on a web page. The blog can be traced back to one blogger (if not the very first blogger) named Justin Hall, who began personal blogging back in 1994. Things have evolved since then. Gone are the days of the blog with just text, text, and more text.
If you want a place to write about your expertise, gearing it toward your target clients, and be easily found on the search engines, a blog is the perfect platform for you.
Blogging is here to stay, and participation by writers and by readers is on the rise. There are many reasons why you should consider writing a blog. In fact, many would argue that it’s essential for someone promoting a business or product. Here’s a short list of reasons that might inspire you to start blogging:
When getting ready to get into the world of blogging you really want to consider your “Why?” As a business owner, think about who you want to read your blog. But before you jump into the blogosphere, answer the following questions. They’ll help you focus and do a better job of crafting your blog:
And here’s one more very important question to ask yourself: Are you willing to commit to regularly updating your blog? The first 60 days are crucial to ensuring success and building credibility.
Blogging experts say one post per week is the absolute minimum. Ideally, you want to update your blog two to three times per week to keep things fresh and current and to maintain readers’ interest. This may sound like a lot of time, but once you start, your blog must be dedicated to writing new posts and putting new content on your blog.
A common writing tip given by the popular bloggers is that you need to enjoy, love, and have a passion for what you are writing about. It will come across in your writing, which will attract followers and prospects. Here are a few more basic tips:
Your blog acts as the hub for your company and is the definitive “talking source” for your business. You want to choose your blog service provider carefully. Let’s take a look at the current most popular providers, although the number of providers is constantly growing. Check the internet for any new providers on the horizon.
Blogger is a free site where you can get your blog up in minutes. A nice feature is that, when you create your blog, you can choose an available URL; later, if you change your mind and want another URL, you can easily make the change. Blogger also has a custom domain option and it’ll host your blog there. When you create your blog, you can host it for free on Blogger.
There are hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of users publishing their blogs on WordPress. It’s a highly respected platform. But there are two WordPress platforms, WordPress.com and WordPress.org, which can be confusing. You can choose to start a free blog at WordPress.com or pay for hosting and start your blog on WordPress.org. WordPress.com is also easier to set up than WordPress.org.
Do some research and think about which platform meets your needs. The WordPress folks suggest setting up a free practice blog on another topic (say a hobby of yours) on WordPress.com. This gives you a chance to check out the features. Then you can decide if you want to stay with that or shift over to the more powerful WordPress.org.
TypePad is another blog service provider; its strength is that it is easy to use. It also offers the capability to customize the look and feel of your blog. One of its differentiators is that it does charge a fee, but it is minimal. TypePad has several different subscriber levels of engagement, and you can easily upgrade to other service tiers without sacrificing your blog site.
TypePad is not only easy to use, but it also incorporates easily with the other social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
Movable Type is a sophisticated blogging service, as the graphics and templates are elaborately designed and colorful. In fact, it refers to itself as “your all-in-one social publishing platform.”
So you’ve named your blog, you are clear on your target audience, and you have selected your blog service provider. Now you’ve got your page set up and you have entered a couple of posts. Congratulations! Now it’s time to start promoting your blog to the world.
One of the first things to do is to go back and list your blog on all of your summary or informational pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace. You can also list it in your bio line on Twitter. In addition, list your blog everywhere else. Put it on your business cards, your e-mail signature, and your website. If you are a speaker or writer, be sure to list your blog in your bio box or signature.
Another way to promote your blog is through the many online communities that offer a place to list your blog. Also consider attending blogging conferences. You will want to begin keeping your eye out for strategic partners so you can link your blogs on each others’ websites and/or blogs. For many, self-promotion can be uncomfortable. But remember, if you don’t promote your business (particularly in the beginning), no one will.
Here are some other ideas to promote your blog:
One of the methods for distributing your blog to others or “feeding” it to them on a regular basis is called a web feed. People will come to your blog and sign up for a subscription to your blog to get it “fed” or sent to them automatically. You will want to encourage readers to subscribe to feeds so you can build your readership fan base. Let’s review some of the websites that allow you to feed your blog to millions.
FeedBurner is a news feed management tool brought to you by Google. You may run your feed by FeedBurner to your blog feed and get access to stats that will help you understand your readers.
Speaking of widgets, if you still aren’t clear about what they are, go check out Widgetbox. This is a great site that enables you to create and import widgets that link to specific sites. These are kind of fun, and you may find some that you want to put on your blog.
One day, you may be known as a serious blogger and you may be asked to live blog at an event. CoverltLive is used by thousands of bloggers to engage millions of readers each month. This software delivers what you need to blog from any event live with your laptop. If you don’t feel like bringing your laptop to the event, you can still cover it using your iPhone through the software. Get the app and you’ll be able to launch and run live events, publish live commentary and photos, run audio and video, email event links, and more. They offer free basic service and a premium option. Serious bloggers should check this out!
AddThis is something you simply must have for your blog. You may have noticed on a lot of blogs that they have a share link at the bottom that includes other social media site icons. How do they do that? Go to www.addthis.com. Run (don’t walk) to add this feature to your blog today so it will get shared around the world. One of the most powerful things you can do is to add a sharing tool to your blog. This sharing tool will help your readers share your blog with other platforms and networks. The reader simply clicks on the share button, selects where they want to share it to (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), and boom—it’s sent.
Alexa offers many powerful tools, but one that I’ve noticed on a lot of blogs is Traffic Rank. It ranks every website according to the amount of traffic it receives. If you want to tell the world your traffic rank, go with Alexa.
After reading this article, I hope you’re excited about getting your blog going. Or maybe you have a blog that you’ve been neglecting? Either way, the tips in this article will get you on your way to becoming a successful member of the blogosphere.