Part One: Tips 1-3
If you are deciding on whether a blog is something you should incorporate into your business please read my other blog article “Are You Using a Blog to Explode Your Business Like Everybody Else?” and/or this article in Business Week:“Social Media Will Change Your Business” If you are ready to take your blog to the next level and get an edge on your competition, this is the series of posts for you. I had to break it up into a series because of the amount of valuable information that I am giving you. I will not only give you the top 10 tips for making your blog successful, I will outline the steps for each tips to get you started. So let’s get started
#1 Read And Comment On Other Blogs That Are Relevant To Your Industry.
First let’s create a time-saving system for you to read and comment on blogs. If you are already an avid blog reader of industry blogs and already can pick out about 3 to 5 favorites then that is your first step. If you do not yet have any favorite blogs related to your industry use Google Blog Search and type in industry related keywords to find some that you like. You can always change which blogs you read as well as the number of blogs later if you find blogs you like better. The easiest way to read the blogs on a daily basis is with Google Reader (make it your home page) You can add the blogs to Google Reader by going to the blog and subscribing thru their RSS feed (look for an icon like this ) and once you click the icon click add to Google Reader. Once you have the blogs in Google Reader you can read over the posts you would like to comment on and then click on the posts title (which is a link to the blog post) and you will be able to comment there.
Why do you want to comment on other blog’s you may ask?
1. It builds you and your business’s credibility: People that are interested in the topic you that is covered will not only leave comments themselves but, peruse the comments of others. If you leave a good comment they will remember it. Bottom Line is that you and your company begin to get noticed.
2. Establishes the first step in communication with the blog’s author. This is good for many reasons. The blog’s author may now check out your blog and comment on your posts as well. ( The more comments your blog posts have, The more credible they seem.)This also could lead to a possible Joint ventures and/or guest post’s on each others blogs.
3. Provides a link back to your blog. Much like many of the social sites, a lot of blogs have no-follow links. This basically means that it does not help your page rank with search engines. That however does not mean that it is not a good link. If you ask me any link from a relevant site that can bring my business blog traffic is a good link.
What is a “Good Comment” on a Business Blog ?
Here are several ideas to get you started on leaving “Good Comments”
1.Expand on the topic in two paragraphs or less. Both the readers and the blog’s author will appreciate this as long as you your expansion sticks to the posts main points. You can validate the post with your own experiences and facts. This type of comment helps you further establish your credibility.
2. Add a link to relevant content on the same topic. Use a link to your own blog sparingly as the readers and author may take this as you spamming their blog.
3. Disagree. I know what your thinking, wouldn’t the author be upset and not even publish my comment? Not necessarily. If you validate your argument with sound logic and facts they will probably not only publish your comment but seek you out for more information. Guest Post Opportunity? In the cyber world of blogging it is very hard to determine someones sensitivity or pride level. If you have been reading the blog for awhile and have seen other argumentative comments published, then there is a good chance yours will to. If you know your comment is purely constructive than go ahead and post it.
4. Ask A Question. Get the author to elaborate on his points a little further in the comments or maybe he will create another post that answers your question.
Bonus Tip: Do not leave just your business name in the name field in the comment form. This is too anonymous. Leave your name and business name in the same line like this: John Doe – Acme Supplies. This accomplishes linking you to your company as well as not looking like a spammer by putting your company’s link in the comment text box. Your name will link to your companies website or blog, depending on which you put in the website field of the comment form.
#2 Make Your Blog As User-Friendly As Possible
Integrate good design and functionality in your blog. I recommend using WordPress over the other existing blogging platforms. It has a lot more options and flexibility than the rest. I also recommend either springing for a good premium template or hiring a web design firm to create a custom template for you. Even when purchasing a premium template it’s design and functionality should be customized for your needs.
The same principles that are used for good web design should also be used for the design of your blog. Your visitors should know what your blog is all about within a few seconds of landing on the blog’s home page. They should never be more than three clicks from the homepage.Navigation links or bars should be displayed attractively and prominently on your blog. Visitors should never feel like they are “leaving your site” when they go to any of the pages in your site. The design should stay relatively the same throughout.
WordPress has a lot of available “plug-ins” and “widgets” that you can place in your sidebars, headers, or footers, I recommend using only the ones that enhance the visitors experience. If you use to many your site can begin to look overly busy or cluttered. A good technique in regards to “plug-ins” and “widgets” is to spread them out. You can put the most important ones in your header or sidebar ( anything that makes you more money or increases traffic substantially like opt-in forms or social media tools) and any others that you feel are valuable in the footer. For Examples of two very successful blogs that do this with their design are ProBlogger and John Cow.
#3 Post Great Content
Would you continue to go to a store that sells junk? Even if that junk was free? Than do not put Junk content on your blog. If you really want to talk about what you did over the weekend or the last movie you saw ( unless your business is rating movies ), then get a personal blog separate from your business blog that you can turn into a personal journal. Your business blog is ther for all or any of following purposes only:
1. To Make Money
2. To share your expertise in your field
3. To build your company’s brand
4. To keep your blog’s visitors updated with relevant information about your company or industry.
5. To build traffic to your company’s main site.
Keep these points in mind whenever you add a post or other content to your blog, if it is not accomplishing any of the above you probably should scratch it.
Take a look at your competition’s websites and blogs. If they are successful, What are they doing? Do not reinvent the wheel! What you can do is improve the wheel by giving more value to your blog’s visitors. Your posts should be entertaining and informative.
In the next post we will cover these blog exploding tips…
#4 Post To Your Blog Frequently
#5 Search Engine Optimize Your Blog
#6 Track Your Blogs Success
Then in part three we really turn it up a notch…
#7 Use Eye Catching Headlines
#8 Use the right URL For Your Blog
# 9 Share Your Blog With The World
# 10 Seek Out Joint Venture Opportunities with other Bloggers.
Bonus Tip: Be Creative And Incorporate Other Forms Of Media On Your Blog