The following article is written by Lior Levin.
What is involved in having a successful business blog?
This is a question that many companies both new and old often struggle with when deciding to start a blog. Blogging is not as easy as many think and, with all of the competition out there, it’s even harder to achieve true success.
You can spend 12 hours a day working on your blog but, if you’re not doing the right things, you’ll waste your time and lose potential customers.
What are the best elements to include?
Choose a domain to represent your brand. Pick something that’s short and memorable. Anything too long or ambiguous will be hard to remember and easily forgotten. Your URL should also contain a keyword or two, which is great for SEO and will help you with your rankings.
Image by G.I Joh
You should own a domain and not use a free sub-domain, such as yourdomain.blogspot.com or yourdomain.wordpress.com. This also means that you’ll need to host your own blog. If you already have a company website, then you may want to set up http://yourdomain.com/blog or http://blog.yourdomain.com.
The name of your blog is important, especially if you’re using your own domain and not a sub-domain. It should be unique and memorable so that visitors will remember it and hopefully return. A good name with the right keyword or two also helps with search engine optimization, since it will be part of the title that shows in search results for your homepage.
A relevant tagline is also great to have below your title because it gives a short, yet informative description of what your blog is about. You want visitors to be able to look at both your name and tagline and already have a general idea of the information that they will find on your blog.
The more visitors receive from these two elements, the more they’ll want to click and read.
The design is the first thing that a visitor will notice about your blog, so be sure to give a good first impression.
If you have a company website, your blog should match it and include the same look and feel. If you only have a blog, make sure to have a clean, yet unique theme and style for it. Whether you’re looking for free or premium themes, there are hundreds of creative blog themes available on the Web.
Image by Elegant Themes
You want a design that stands out from other blogs in order for your blog to be memorable.
Do you grasp the takeaway yet? You have to be memorable. Visitors remember themes they see on multiple blogs but likely won’t remember the actual names of those blogs. On the other hand, a unique header, style, and theme will make your blog unique and easy to remember.
Ensure everything on your site is freely accessible and easy to find. No one will spend unproductive time finding your search box, categories, tags, recent posts, etc. You have to make sure every element is in clear sight.
Important items such as categories, pages, and a search box should be above the fold so scrolling is minimal.
I’m sure you’ve heard the overused expression, “Content is king.”
Content helps increase your traffic and improve your rankings. Internet users are very smart these days and they can tell the difference between good and bad content.
Trust me, they’re not going to stick around to finish reading any bad, plagiarized, or auto-generated content. You really have to put a lot of time and effort into your content so that your readers find it useful and worthy of sharing.
Go a step further and add creativity to your publishing schedule. For instance, each day that you publish could have a different theme. Maybe on Mondays you’ll post reviews, Wednesdays marketing tips, Fridays contributed articles, and Sundays all other topics. This helps engage your readers and gets them excited for each day that you deliver new content.
Social interactivity is a must for your blog. This can be accomplished with plugins or widgets. Make it easy for readers to share your content across the web, increasing your inbound traffic and expanding your company’s reach.
Include a Facebook like button, Twitter button for retweeting, and the new Google +1 button. Other buttons are optional, but these 3 buttons should be on every blog. If you create great content, people will come and share you with the world!
Image by Let us Buzz
Insist your readers can connect with your company. You should already have a Facebook page and Twitter feed, so include a way for your readers to follow and like you. There are various widgets and plugins for this as well.
Along with social plugins, there are thousands of other plugins available for your blog; take advantage of them. Whether you’re using a Blogger or WordPress blog (the two most popular blog platforms), there are plenty for you to choose from. Plugins can help you with SEO and speed of your blog and are great for enhancing features and adding other functions.
There are numerous online sources to help you find the best plugins for your blog. Peruse through the WordPress plugin directory or this Blogger widgets repository. These are the main tools that will help take your blog to the next level and help make it a site that others will want to return to over and over again.
Speaking of returning over and over again, subscription options for your blog are a great “reminder service” for your readers.
Letting your readers sign up to receive future articles via email or RSS feed will help them stay up to date with your new content. Whenever your blog is updated, they’ll be notified and can either read it from their email, feed reader, or by revisiting your blog. So make use of the built in RSS capabilities, or create your own email newsletter to help keep your readers and encourage repeat visits.
Once you implement these corporate blogging tips, what’s next?
Success doesn’t occur overnight. In time and with continued dedicated and hard work, your efforts will pay off and you’ll soon be reaping the fruits of your labor. Care to share any tips below?