Business blogging is a different kettle of fish to blogging for money and that,
in turn, is entirely different to blogging socially.
The type of blog you manage will determine the voice, design,
and style of your blog as well as the efforts you're likely to put into promoting it.
Matt Jackson *)
A business blog needs to be professional as well as appear it. Regular posting on topics that your readers will genuinely find interesting can promote you as an expert in your field. A blog can keep the line of communication between you and potential customers open. It enables you to post relevant, keyword rich postings that encourage new traffic and help increase your client base.
It's far from an exhaustive list but below are ten tips to remember when blogging for business:
1 - Set Your Goals Early
In just about every guide you ever read it says "set your goals"; it might be a clich but it's true. With a business blog your most likely goal is to increase sales but other worthy goals can include:
* Communicating with your existing or potential clients.
* Relaying company news.
* Answering queries and questions.
* Providing guides for current customers.
* Providing a portal to everything useful related to your industry.
The design of your site, type of content to include, whether or not to include ads, and numerous other decisions will be governed by the reason that you start blogging. The sooner you realize what it is that you want to achieve, the sooner you'll achieve it.
2 - Use SEO Friendly URLs And SEO Plugins
WordPress is an invaluable SEO tool. It is a dedicated Content Management System but, more than that, it has a team of frighteningly dedicated users that create themes, plugins, widgets, and more and then provide them for free of charge to other users. Among these tools are a great number of SEO related tools that can be used to determine your meta description and title tags.
A simple but potentially effective SEO fix is to change the format of permalinks or URLs so that they dispense with the default page id to be replaced with an easier to read and keyword optimized page URL. You can do this through the Wordpress dashboard.
3 - Consider Your Media Placement
Adding photos and illustrations, logos, videos, and other forms of media are great for reader engagement but you should consider each of your blog assets and place the most valuable and useful in the most prominent position. The quicker you can grab a reader's attention, the more likely you will be to keep it for longer.
Certain themes allow you to easily embed video and slideshows into the sidebar of your blog and this can be a very useful tool to make your pages appear more attractive while relaying genuinely useful information.
4 - Consider Your Ad Placement
The primary target of a business blog is not usually to make money directly through the blog itself. Therefore, the placing of third party ads is not necessarily a good choice. However, you can add ads for your own company or service as well as partner websites. You can even add banners to specific categories, tags, or pages in your blog. Don't overdo the number of banner ads and other distracting advertisements though and try to keep the interface clean and professional.
5 - Offer Your Readers The Chance To Pass You Around
Add me, share this, retweet, and email this functions should be provided to your users. When you post something useful and one of your readers shares it, it has the potential to go viral and create a lot of exposure for your blog and therefore your website and your business. This works especially well with highly unique content and can be text, audio, video...
Some themes have these functionalities built into them, but do ensure that they're enabled. Alternatively find a sidebar widget or a social bookmarking plug-in that offers the same features and install this. Many blog readers read a number of blogs regularly and by enabling them to add you to social bookmarking and social networking sites you may well develop a long term relationship with them while also letting them inform others of what you offer.
6 - Keep Quality Content Coming
Try to set yourself a regular schedule but remember that it can be broken and it can be added to when necessary. If news breaks then post your own commentary on it. If you intersperse product reviews and articles that relate to your own business then try to schedule these. Make sure you post regularly, at the very least once a week, and spend some time getting involved in the community that builds up around your blog.
7 - Not Every Post Need Be An Advert
As long as you fill your blog with relevant, interesting, and well written posts then visitors will take the time to look around, read a few posts, and even click the ads to your own site in order to see exactly what you have to offer. Not every single post needs to include multiple links to your website pages.
You can download plugins that increase the likelihood of users reading more posts. Some add a list of related posts to the bottom of each entry while many themes provide the chance to show "most popular" and "most commented" posts to further direct the flow of traffic around your blog.
8 - Respond Where Responses Are Expected Or Deserved
Managing a blog is more than posting a missive of the week's news every Friday. No matter how often you post you should spend some time interacting with the community that develops around your blog. Answer questions and queries, offer insight, and provide a response where one is requested.
A business blog should always be professional which means keeping posts and messages that are too personal away. Similarly, spam comments can prove extremely damaging for your SEO as well as the trust your readers place in your business. There's decent spam settings in Wordpress and you can further extend these.
9 - Stuck For Inspiration? Immerse Yourself In Web 2.0
More specifically read forums and blogs, wikis and news sites related to your own industry. Look for those news stories, articles, and videos that you like the most and are relevant to your blog and write about them. Read the comments in your own blog and look through your analytics to determine the pages that are most popular with readers.
Look at emerging keywords and news topics and try to act quickly. Slant the resulting article in favor of your business, if possible, and then post this to your blog too. There's plenty of online portals and sites for news in your industry and you can use email updates, RSS readers, and browser or home page plug ins to display them regularly and in an orderly and comprehensible way.
10 - Blogging Is Great For Business But Business Is Also Great For Business
Getting stuck into a blog and truly developing your blog community can be a great way to build traffic to your website and develop clients for your business. Reading related blogs and becoming an active member in social networks can help you find out what your readers want and deliver it frequently.
Blogging and web 2.0 in general can quickly become addictive. It should be treated as a tool to assist in managing your online business which means that you need to concentrate on the other aspects of your business. Outsource your blog development and content creation if necessary and enjoy the results.
*) About the Author: Matt Jackson - Using a professional, freelance blog writer helps ensure you continue to deliver high quality content regularly. WebWiseWords offers a full suite of web content writing services including blog content writing.
sources: Entireweb Newsletter, Vol. June 17, 2010