So you’re thinking about starting a blog… First, kudos and welcome to the club! Blogging is not only great for your business, but it’s also highly rewarding. In fact, according to InsideView, companies get 67% more leads/month with an active blog, and, according to Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report, blogs are the 3rd most popular online service most likely to influence a purchase – Cha-ching! Blog’s rock! Second, there are some important things you should know before starting your blog, so here goes:
1. Pick the right platform
You obviously need a platform to create your blog, but don’t just pick any ol’ platform – Do your research. According to Blogging.org, 43% of bloggers out there use WordPress, 35% use Blogger, and 16% use Tumblr, TypePad and/or Posterous. Explore various platforms and see what fits the needs and desires for your own blog.
Here’s a short & sweet breakdown of the three most popular blogging platforms: WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr
WordPress dons a distinguished reputation for top-notch design and advanced technology. It offers two blogging options: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.org requires your own hosting system/webserver, however, comes with a plethora of plugins and abilities to change the look, feel and functionality of your blog very easily. Here’s a handy guide to using WordPress.
Blogger has been around since 1999, is owned by Google, and is hence, Google search-friendly. It’s known for being very user-friendly and is highly regarded by beginner bloggers. There aren’t any fancy add-ons or plugins, and you should read Google’s Terms of Service thoroughly.
Tumblr, recently bought by Yahoo!, is a micro-blogging platform – Think Twitter for blogs. Tumblr mainly consists of images, videos, songs, and small amounts of text. Tumblr is highly popular and surpassed WordPress last year as the most popular blog hosting service in the world, hosting 77.6 million blogs. The audience is youthful and according to comScore, half of its traffic comes from those under the age of 25.
2. Find your niche/voice
According to Blogging.org, there are an estimated 31 million bloggers in the United States alone and 60% of businesses have a company blog – Essentially, everyone’s doin’ it. So what does that mean for you? Not only do you need to let your personality be your guide, but you’ve also gotta let your blog’s topic/content shine like a diamond in the rough. Want to write about marketing? How about marketing for DIY small businesses specifically in San Francisco? Want to create a cooking blog? How about gluten-free recipes on a budget featuring stellar photography? A travel blog? How about travel for a family of 4, via train? Stand out, be unique but also understand your audience and write for them.
3. Post on a consistent basis & be patient
Thousands, even hundreds of views don’t just happen overnight, or even over a year for that matter. Blogging, building an audience of loyal readers, and gaining engagement takes time, practice, promotion and patience. According to Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report, 86% of online influencers blog, 31% of them have been blogging for 5+ years, and 60% of bloggers blog up to 3 hours a week. Don’t give up, and write as often and as consistently as possible (at least 2-3 times a week). This will also immensely enhance your search engine optimization. The more you post relevant content, the more often search engines will see your valuable content, and higher up the rank you go. Just make sure the content you’re posting is indeed your own, or that you’re giving appropriate source credit and attribution.
4. Promote your blog on social
The whole, “build it and they will come” concept need not apply for a blog. If you build it, yet don’t promote it on social media, no one’s gonna come a runnin’. Yes, you’ll drive some traffic via search engines, but promoting your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Pinterest is a surefire way to gain significant exposure. We’ve got The Definitive Guide to Using Social Media Marketing eBook here to help you hit the ground running.
5. Learn to write for humans & search engines
Understanding search engine optimization, using appropriate keywords, writing meta titles (if possible), and implementing Google Authorship are all extremely important aspects to gaining search engine traction for your blog. However, if your intended purpose is purely to drive traffic, you’re barking up the wrong blog. Content should be written for the reader first and foremost, optimizing comes second. Read, The Secret to Content Optimization for People and Search for all the details.
Now that you’ve got these 5 blog newbie know-hows under your belt, it’s time to get crackin’… but we’ll also let you in on a little secret. The absolute most important thing about starting/maintaining a blog? Make sure you’re having fun!
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