Top tips to starting a successful blog
I’m a firm believer that blogging is both beneficial and key to include in a marketing strategy. It can be one of the easiest tasks to achieve, especially if you enjoy doing it. However, there are so many people out there who haven’t embraced the social phenomenon yet – Why? Are you one of them? Are you considering starting a blog but have no idea where to begin? I used to be the same, but by following these steps, you can get on your way to building a successful blog for your business or just for yourself...
- Before you create your own blog, consider this... Why do you want to write a blog? What are you going to write about? Who do you want to target as your audience? These are key questions that you need to know the answer to before you put pen to paper (or, technically, fingers to keyboard).
- You need to be interested in the content you’re publishing; if you are, then chances are your audience will also be interested. There’s nothing worse for both your blog and yourself than writing posts that you have no idea what's going on or you couldn’t give two hoots about. If you don’t enjoy it, rethink your strategy!
- Layout may be the last thing on your mind, but when you’re creating your blog, it could make or break it. Keep it simple and don’t overload it with colour, flashy images etc. The easier it is on the audience’s eye, the better. Keep it on topic too – you don’t want a background full of pink flowers if you’re writing about moutain biking, do you?
- Keep your posts to 800 words or less. Readers like to get their information and then get out. Make sure it’s easy to skim read if a reader doesn’t have time to read an essay. Of course, sometimes you can’t avoid a high word count, so why not split it into two blog posts? Get your readers coming back for more.
- Use subheadings for those who want to skim read, and keep your first paragraph at its highest standard in order to draw the reader in. A photograph right at the beginning could also intrigue your audience.
- Once you’ve set up your layout and got some content flowing, how do you get your blog ‘out there’? Sort out your SEO, your meta descriptions, your page titles, your top content line... Match it up with the keywords and topics that your blog covers, and it will help boost your blog in the page rankings, therefore making it easier for people to stumble onto your website. You won't get it 100% perfect straight away, but by using a program such as Google Analytics, you'll get a idea of what is working and what isn't, so you can adapt it.
- Ever wondered about guest posting? It’s a great little way to build relationships with other bloggers/companies, it gets new content onto your blog and you can sit back, relax and watch the page views roll in. Most guest posting does include deep linking – where you include links to external websites – so don’t forget to set each link to open a new window, so you don’t lose your readers by taking them away to a different page. It doesn’t hurt for you to guest post for other relevant blogs and do exactly the same thing to get your name out there. It can be a really effective way to promote your blog, as long you have the time and the drive to do it well.
- Another way of promotion is social networking. Connect your blog to every relevant network you can get your hands on, whether it’s Facebook Pages, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube... It takes time, but they can become one of your main sources of traffic if you use them correctly. It’s a great way to share out your stories, and communicate with those reading them. You never know, that one conversation could inspire you on your next blog post. If you keep open to suggestions and comments, your blog will grow and so will your readership.
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We’re partnering with Social Media World Forum 2012, a leading social media marketing event in London on 27-28 March. We’ll be running our own, free-to-attend MarketingTech conference track. It’s packed with more info from leading industry figures, including some of our own contributors, covering, in-depth, how to compile your social media strategy, measure and analyse results, build your brand through social media and much more. For more information, click here.