If you're serious about setting up a successful, small business weblog or blog that augments and enhances your business or service, here are 10 sure-fire tips to help you do it successfully.
1. Get Your Own Domain Name
This is so important. Piggy-backing off of another url makes less of an impact than http://www.widgets.com. Having your own domain name separates you from the hobbyists and children blogging, and lets the world know, you are a serious blogger. It also allows you to change hosting companies, maximize the customization of your weblog and it's still there even if the company that built the software goes out of business. Even if you decide to use Blogger.com and in the future it shuts down, you still have your own web pages on your own domain. You can start building with all your data intact.
2. Learn your blogging software
You need to be able to customize your blog to reflect your business. Whatever software you settle on, whether you start with blogger.com and move on to Typepad or WordPress, you need to learn to work with and change the templates, add your blogroll, set-up what your advertising, change or add pictures and more. In order to make your blog unique and different, you'll need to have at least a minimum amount of knowledge of what you're working with.
3. Learn from those who've already gone before.
Read and study other blogs. Don't be afraid to contact and ask questions. When you want to learn to do something you need to study what is already successful. There are many ways to find blogs, but I've found that BlogExplosion is one of the easiest ways to get free traffic while surfing others blogs. Find out more about BlogExplosion by visiting my website.
4. Post to your blog on a consistent basis.
Updating once a month won't get you much readership. If you update your blog 3-5 times per week with interesting and informative articles and tips about your industry, people will look forward to what you've updated and return again and again.
5. Blogging is like networking and building a virtual family.
The readers don't care what you are selling until they know you care about them and what's going on in their world. Blogging sales messages is the quickest way to lose readership and destroy any relationships you might have. People go out on the Internet and into the blogosphere looking for information, help and fun topics of interest. If you provide information and benefits for them surfing to your blog on a consistent basis, they will return. If you come at them like a used car salesman, people will find other places to spend their time.
6. Allow comments and trackbacks.
Part of the magic of blogging is its interactivity with the virtual world through the comments people make to your blogging articles. Grow a thick skin, and put your opinion out there. Depending on what you're blogging about, comments can range from "Nice Post" to things very much less complimentary. In either case, it's a give and take, not a one-way news delivery or sales pitch.
7. Read other people's blogs
If you don't read and explore the world of blogging, leave or comment on other blogs or participate in the process, your success will be diminished. It's kind of like playing tennis blindfolded. You'll never have any idea of where the ball is, so how can you hit it? Part of joining the blogosphere is getting into the thick of things. That means living outside of your own blog.
8. Create a blogroll.
What's a Blogroll? It's a list of links to other people's blogs you like. Why would you want to create traffic to other people's blogs, you ask. It is important that you give in order to get. Reciprocal linking in the industry you're blogging about builds relationships and links back to your site. This, in turn, increases your search engine positioning. More people find you and your readership grows. It's a give and take. If you read a blog and like it, find the news relevant and want to add it to your website, comment with a trackback, add the blog to your blogroll or links section, and the other website will most like reciprocate. Blogging is more about building a community than cut and dry business. Think warm and fuzzy, because most bloggers, whoever they are, respond much better to honey than vinegar.
9. Ping the news aggregators. Tag your posts.
It's important to let people know when you update, and by pinging, you let the world know that something new has appeared on your blog. Learn about using tags on your posts so that when you update the news services will know how to classify your update. If it's about "blue widgets" and you tag it as such, people searching for information on that topic will find you. Technorati covers tagging in an easy-to-read format that anybody can grasp quickly.
You'll find information about using Technorati tags by dropping by my website.
Ping using Pingoat: What to do: Go to Pingoat and submit your blog, selecting as many appropriate news aggregates you like. Then bookmark the next page that shows your ping "results." Every time you post, visit this page and you will automatically ping the news aggregates.
Ping using Pingomatic: What to do: Go to Pingomatic Do the same as above.
10. Download, use and master an RSS reader.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, this is the first place to start. FeedDemon is a popular aggregator that resembles Microsoft Outlook and delivers both podcasts and feeds from other blogs. You can also get feeds through My Yahoo or MSN Spaces. If you're only tracking a few feeds these are great. For a large number of feeds, you'll need something like FeedDemon. Find out more about FeedDemon by visiting my website.
There you have it. A quick and easy guide to setting up a successful blog. It will take you a bit of time, but it will be well worth it in the end with increased traffic, expert status in your industry and the ability to inform as well as interact with your readership.
For a listing of links to the various places mentioned in this article, simple visit my website and click on the Top 10 Blogging article listed. Happy Blogging!
Judith Allyson Brandy is a writer, breast cancer survivor and science fiction fan with a slightly skewed, amused perspective of the world.
Read some of her other articles at: http://www.writingbuzz.com