Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ten tips to creating a successful blog for your company

[Originally posted on the Director Thailand blog here.]

I can't say I follow all of these, been especially inactive of late.

We’ve discussed social media in detail but have yet to touch on blogging – perhaps the original social media platform – in any detail.

Here we present ten essential tips for developing a successful blog for your business.

1. Think it all over first

Blogging isn’t for everyone so, before you launch your company’s blog take a little time think and plan exactly what you are looking to get from blogging.

Keep your goals and aims in mind every time new content is posted or the site is edited. This way content will be consistent and more appealing to potential new readers.

2. Write regularly

If a blog does not contain new content regularly readers will begin to lose interest and visitor numbers will decrease. Posting new content daily, or every day, gives regular viewers reasons to return to your blog meaning increased levels of traffic.

3. Use (a little) SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the art of positioning a website well within search engines. SEO pays homage to the power of Google which will can, when done well, generate a large amount of traffic for your blog – Google, SEO and other search engines cannot be ignored.

SEO techniques vary but, in terms of blog content, a website which regularly uses key words (words which relate to the company’s business) will feature higher in Google searches and drive more traffic from search engines.

Despite the positives key words only work to an extent and should not be abused. SEO done badly, with too many keywords repetitively positioned, makes a blog sound unoriginal and too focused on driving traffic, making it less attractive for readers looking for interesting content.

4. Sprinkle social media dust

Social media, like SEO, is a popular and effective way of generating traffic to a site.

Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Hi5 or LinkedIn, posting snippets of content alongside a link can significantly boost visitor numbers to your blog.

Equally, posting information about social networking, for example details of a company’s Facebook group or presence on Twitter, can generate interest in the company’s social media presence(s) which may in turn lead users to recommend, visit or link to your blog or social media profile.

Social media buttons, which allow content to easily be posted to websites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Facebook and more, can be installed and will spread blog content virally over social networks.

5.Engage with the community

Networks of bloggers who cover similar topics exist across the web. Engaging with and entering a community is an effective way to get noticed, generate traffic and discuss topics close to your business.

The first step is always to monitor conservations and track other blogs that relate to you business/keywords – which are the influencer? Which generate the most traffic/comments, etc?

These are the influential blogs that can boost your blog.

There are many ways to engage. Linking to other blogs and websites in posts is a simple way of alerting other blogs to your presence and encouraging link reciprocation, and consequently, traffic to your blog.

Most blogs have a blog roll, a list of blogs that the blog owner reads or recommends to their visitors, which generate visitors to the blogs listed on them. Creating and displaying a blog roll on your blog encourages other bloggers to include you on their blog rolls which, in turn, encourages more traffic to your blog.

Commenting on other blogs will also help increase our visibility in the blogosphere. This will encourage blog owners to list your blog on their blog rolls and post comments on your blog and discuss ideas and topics you raise on their blog.

6. List contact details

Blogging is about communication so providing contact details is essential yet still many bloggers do not do so.

If a visitor reads an interesting post or is interested in your business and wanting to find more information listing contact details will allow them to get in touch with you directly.

On a more principled level, blogging is about breaking communication barriers and transparency, listing contact details will help your blog achieve these goals.

7. Use multiple authors

With a need to post regularly and insightfully, the job of blogging is made easier when shared.

Using multiple authors will give a variety of insights, experiences and knowledge which may make your blog a more interesting read for visitors.

8. Be creative

A blog is more than just pages of text, it is a medium to entertain and interest. Adopting a creative approach will sustain visitors interest, maintain traffic levels and generate interest and buzz in the blogosphere.

For example, why not run surveys, regular features, interviews, guest posts, pictures and special offers in addition to regular blog posts. The variety and different angles will generate a greater level of interest and interaction with readers.

9. Have patience

Rome wasn’t built overnight and neither will your blog be. It may take anything from one month to one year before you start seeing regular numbers of comments and visitor numbers – persistence and patience are key virtues which pay off in the long run.

10. Monitor, monitor, monitor

There are scores of web analytics and monitoring tools which provide insightful data about your blog, its readership and how it is used.

Free services such as Google Analytics, Alexa, Technorati and others will help you understand more about your blog and how you can better use it as a resource. For example, which blog posts pull in the most visitors, which keywords generate search engine traffic and which websites are sending traffic to your blog.

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