Everyone seems to be blogging these days (ourselves included) – are you?
The concept of blogging works for one simple reason – people like to be heard, and blogs give them a soapbox to stand on. The only difference being that the audience isn’t the local community; it’s worldwide and that’s the benefit for business bloggers.
Now doesn’t this innovation ring bells of deja vu! I remember when people were saying the same thing about websites. It was a chance for anyone to communicate with everyone – all over the world, a genuinely international audience. So really the idea of blogging isn’t revolutionary. What it has done, is significantly simplify the process.
If you’re in business – especially online, do yourself a favor and really investigate starting you own blog (if you’ve already got one – read on to ensure you’re making the most of it).
So why are blogs so powerful?
They are sources of information. As we can see from the meteoric success of search engines, information is powerful, so blogs give you the chance to harness that need for information.
Harnessing Blog Power for Your Business
For people who are genuinely undertaking business online or via the internet, generally your industry will have specific news, stats, product releases, gossip and whatever else, not to mention news about your own business, which will all be relevant to your target market. Now starting your own blog and providing this information gives your potential customers a reason to visit your site outside of the purchase process – this is Gold!
Imagine potential customers visiting your site daily or even weekly without you having to spend ridiculous amounts of money on advertising and promotion. Give them valuable relevant information and they will come. Once they’re there, the job of converting them into buyers is a whole different story – which we cover elsewhere.
The real challenge lies in keeping the momentum going. Many new blogs are started (look at the latest stats from Technorati below) but continuing to update content and provide new information is the key to their success for your business. So when you do set one up, ensure you schedule time to continually update it – even if it is only a new article every fortnight. Remember search engines thrive on new content. The more new content you provide, the more likely search engines are going to visit your blog and share it with the world.
- The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 months
- It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
- On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
- 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
- Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour
Technorati Stats – April 2006
So You’ve Started your Blog – Now you Need Readers
A blog like a website needs visitors to ensure it’s successful, and they are gained in the same manner as traditional website marketing. Search engines are a great primary source of readers!
Whilst the conversion on blogs might not justify paid advertising, the use of organic search engine marketing such as submission and optimization is a more affordable way to drive traffic to your blog. While there are several blog based search engines available, the 3 major search engines; Google, Yahoo! and MSN are still the main sources of web traffic and should be your initial inclusion goal.
So before you go out and start submitting your blog URL to all the major search engines, it’s important to ensure your blog is optimized for high rankings beforehand (or “NOW” if you’ve already started). Just like your main website, top rankings = traffic.
While there are many things you can do once your blog is already up and running, the great optimization ideas listed below (courtesy of Lee Odden from TopRank) are worth exploring before you start your blogging journey.
DIY Blog Optimization
Keywords are Key:
Just like normal website search engine marketing, strong use of relevant keywords is vital to your high ranking. While your content shouldn’t necessarily be driven by keywords, effective use of popular keyword terms and phrases definitely helps.
Tweak Your Template:
As blogs are essentially Content Management Systems, they use templates to standardise the process. Take the time to review your template and ensure that your blog title is attached to all post titles in the title tag. Ensure the standard text found throughout your blog is keyword rich (avoid spamming: blantant keyword listing without purpose).
Optimize Your Permalinks:
Blogs will list your posts titles as permalinks, so strong keyword usage will provide on-page link benefits.
Feed your Readers Desire for Information:
One of the greatest innovations to come from blogs is the syndication of content via RSS and more recently email. Syndication is the ability to subscribe to your blog and have updates delivered automatically (RSS: Real Simple Syndication). By ensuring you have an RSS feed, visitors can get automatic updates whenever you provide new content.
Keyword Based Categories:
Most blog software offers the ability to categorize your articles. Choose keyword rich categories, which will not only make your blog more user friendly, but also make the content more search engine rank friendly.
Let Them Bookmark Easily:
Social bookmarking sites are becoming important sources of traffic, with peer referral sometimes having more value than search results. There are many core bookmarking sites that you should offer simple linking to from your blog posts. The top ones include Del.icio.us, Furl, Digg to name but a few. Simple code within your template will automatically provide links to these social bookmarking sites.
These are just some of many DIY techniques you should be using to make the most of your business blog. For the effort you place in creating a valuable blog resource, you might as well optimize it now so that the search engines can do the hard work of delivering you traffic and potential customers. Stay tuned for more blogging tips in the coming weeks.