If you’ve already decided that you want to start a blog and are looking for some tips to get up and running, this article should answer many of your questions. We will concentrate on the all-important aspects of strategy, process and content but won’t address the technical aspects of building a new website or adding blog functionality to an existing website. Those things are best handled by a professional developer.
Taking the time to think about how to set up your blog before you begin will help you avoid wasting a huge amount of time with little payoff. With proper planning, your blog can contribute to the growth of your business.
Let’s get started…
Why do you want to start a blog?
This may seem like a silly question. However, understanding your motivation will help you set achievable goals. Having goals can improve your focus and will help you sustain your momentum.
Develop a blog content strategy
According to FirstSiteGuide.com, there are 570 million blogs in the world. With so many out there, having a blog with a clearly defined purpose will make it more likely that people will read and share your work.
1. Determine the purpose/vision
What does your blog do and why? This will be your guidepost and help you stay on target. If you’re stuck for an answer, visit websites of other businesses/organizations who are in the same industry as you for inspiration. What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? How is your business/organization unique and how can you use that to set yourself apart?
2. Define your goals
Are you looking to increase foot traffic, sales or leads? Are you creating the blog as an exercise to improve yourself or are you looking to educate the public? The goal should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. This will give you a sense of direction and a way to measure your efforts.
3. Define your target market
Understanding who you are aiming to attract to your blog will help you decide what to write about. Are you writing for people who live locally or abroad? Are they likely to be men or women? What age group? Education or income level? What are their interests? What are they looking for? By being strategic with your content, you’ll be able to attract qualified traffic.
4. Make a list of keywords
If the goal of your website is simply to put stuff out there, if you aren’t interested in building an audience, then don’t even worry about keywords. However, if you are trying to attract a specific audience or you want to build brand loyalty, then keywords are critical to your success. Make a list of keywords that you think someone might use to find what you are offering.
For example, let’s say you own a kitchen store. There will be some people who are looking for a product that you carry, so the more information you provide about that product, the more likely Google will be to match their search with your store.
There will be others who aren’t looking for a specific product, but could be drawn to your website based on content related to your products. For example, a user may go online to learn cleaning tips, find product reviews and try new recipes. If your related content brings them to your blog, they have now been exposed to your website. They may make a purchase now or remember you later. When you provide information for free, you start to build relationships. When a site visitors trusts you, they may come back later.
Now you have a list of keywords that you think would be of interest to your current and future customers. Take the keywords one at a time and build a blog post around each one.
For example, continuing with the kitchen store scenario, one of your keywords might be ‘table linens.’ You could write a blog post that describes your extensive selection of table linens. List manufacturers, include images, and include a testimonial from a customer who frequently buys linens from you.
Commit to a schedule
Many of our clients have us include a blog as part of their new website. They get excited about the potential to drive new business and build their brand. However, all too often they don’t really think about how this new task is going to fit into their already hectic schedule.
We are often asked, “How often should I publish a new post on my blog.” When we first started blogging, we were so proud of each article we wrote that we wanted to publish them immediately. However, search engines love fresh content, so publishing regularly is better than publishing a whole bunch at one time and then being dormant. Websites that regularly publish high-quality relevant content are more likely to be rewarded with higher search engine rankings.
A loose vision can mean no real direction. Planning makes you accountable. When you are only focused on the next thing, it is easy to let others fall by the wayside: out of sight, out of mind. Think carefully about what your readers will expect and what you can really deliver. Don’t set your goal too high or too low.
A blog is your opportunity to demonstrate your expertise
Anyone can say they’re an expert, but how does one prove such a thing? Building a blog and using it to share information about your subject can be the perfect way to demonstrate your expertise and cultivate good will.
People like to work with and make purchases from those they trust. By creating a blog and providing information free and without obligation, you are also displaying your knowledge and generosity. Blogging can be a powerful tool for expanding your audience.
See related posts
- Blog Post Idea: Take a Question/Answer from Your FAQs Page and Expand on It
- Blog Writing Tips for Aspiring Writers
- Blogging for Business. Seven Reasons To Start
- How To Optimize Blog Posts
Now you know how to start a blog. To learn more about our services, visit our Website Design and Development Services page. You can contact us directly by calling 518.392.0846 or email [email protected].