People frequently ask me about the world of blogging. There have been some really good basic questions from beginners about having a blog page on their website or blogging elsewhere in an attempt to drum up web traffic to their business’ home page. I have addressed a few of them here. For those who have been around the blogging block a few times and are already familiar with it, this might seem like old hat, so just nod and smile as you read along.
Q. Should I blog?
A. Yes, but only if you can do it well and do it faithfully. It always sounds like fun for people that enjoy writing or sharing their thoughts. It can be. It can also be like your New Year’s Resolution to exercise more. Are you still going to the health club every day like you were a month ago? Only blog if you can spend the time and effort to do it regularly. It takes discipline, time and a decent command of the language to blog. When people can rely on you for something to read about and they like it, they will come back for more. If you ignore it for weeks or months on end, it defeats the purpose. Don’t bother.
Q. How often should I blog?
A. Choose something that fits into your schedule. Whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, aim for a minimum. This will give you a following. If you exceed it, that’s fine, but do a minimum regularly. If you want to do them in bunches, post them regularly without writing them regularly. When you run out, do some more.
Q. What if I’m not very good with words?
A. Have a professional do it for you. This is one of the services we provide for our clients. For some, we do all of the blogging and post on a set schedule. For others, we split the duties with someone on their staff who is willing and able, but does not have the time to devote to it as often as they would like.
Big Tip: If you can’t spell your way out of a paper bag, make the spell checker your new best friend, then proofread it at least once after you are finished. Readers find typos and misspellings frustrating and your message gets lost in the shuffle.
Q. What should I blog about?
A. Go with what you know. When blogging on your company website, aim for things pertaining to your industry or daily happenings. Trends, upcoming events or topics your customers ask about are just a few things to get you started. Unusual occurrences or funny things make good topics as well. If someone is doing it for you, it’s ok to give them ideas and information if they need it and want it. When blogging elsewhere, try to keep a theme and tie it to your website whenever it makes sense. There are many websites that have nothing but blogs, so you can create your own and take it from there. Check out blogger.com or wordpress.com for examples.
Q. Will anybody read it?
A. If it is interesting and done regularly, yes. Tell people about it. Make a blog tab on your website. Include it on the site map. Most importantly, make it worth reading. After you’ve done a few, ask yourself if you would want to read them if you weren’t the author. If the answer is yes, keep up the good work. If the answer is no, maybe it’s not for you.
Q. Does it really make a difference?
A. When done properly, yes. Adding fresh useful content always helps a website. Use photos and outbound links to make it more interesting. Link to other pages within your website. Give people something to do when they are done reading. Make it attractive for the search engine spiders crawling your website and the people surfing on it, too. If you do something worthwhile, other people will link to it without any prompting. They will Tweet about it and Digg it. This will bring more traffic to your website. Hopefully, it will increase your sales, too, when they see what you have to offer.
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