How To Start Your Blog
In order to consistently draw new and relevant traffic to your site, your business needs a presence online which is constantly alive and evolving as we discussed previously in 5 Reasons your business needs a blog. Now, if you don't know how to start your blog, don't worry: just keep reading.
The first thing that you will need to decide on is a platform for your blog. Content needs to be posted regularly to a blog in order to optimize a website's rankings across search engines. The more relevant keywords you can associate with your site, and the more often, the better. There's dozens of popular blog systems in existence. Wordpress makes a great choice, due to its extreme customization in both looks and functionality, while also being easy to set up and maintain. The next step in starting your blog is selecting a name.
The name of your blog is just as, if not more important as the content you put up. Choose a keyword that you associate with your business.Make it a keyword phrase, rather than a single keyword, but don't be too specific. The title of your blog will be one of the first things a search engine like Google indexes, and is thus a very important part of how to start a blog. The third step in how to start a blog is of course creating content.
The idea of publishing to a blog is a quick way to stress out many people. It doesn't have to be this way though. As with any good business strategy, the best way to start is with a plan. In this case, your plan is called a Content Calendar. A Content Calendar lays out directions for what your business will need, and when. Make a list of keywords you associate with your business, and want customers to associate with it. Then, come up with titles utilizing those keywords. Decide when you need to publish individual articles.
As with any new part of your business, the process of starting your blog is no different when it comes to efficiently managing time. Decide exactly how much you can spend, both writing, and learning the ins and outs of how to start a blog, and researching your topics. Be realistic. Don't take time way from other critical elements of your business. Once you've decided on a reasonable amount of time you can allocate, you need to figure out a publication schedule. Decide on a day or days of the week that you will publish on, and stick to that schedule. Update your content calendar accordingly.
Now that we have laid down some suggestions here are the steps that need to be take to get your blog rolling:
1. Determine your blog purpose
Before you do anything else you need to decide what you want to get out of your blog and what it will be about. Will your blog serve as your main website for your business? Will you use your blog to create credibility via thought leadership? Do you want to use your blog to communicate with existing customers?
Answer your own questions about what objectives you want to get out of your blog. For us, it is to educate the small and medium sized businesses owners and provide thought leadership. There is no right or wrong way to approach your blog, so do it your way.
2. Choose your URL and Hosting
We combined these into the same category because your URL decision will be tied to your hosting solution. If you already have a website then we would recommend that you use a sub directory like mybusiness.com/blog within your existing site to host. You can also select to use a sub-domain like blog.mybusiness.com. This option will allow to host your blog with dedicated blogging platforms.
3. Choose your Platform
If your current CMS doesn't have blogging software then you will need to select a blogging software to host your new blog on. The top choice of bloggers and marketers is WordPress. It is inexpensive, cost efficient, and easy to set up. WordPress has a multitude of designs to choose from and is open source so your options are virtually limitless.
There are many other options to choose from depending on the purpose of your blog. HubSpot will not only give you blogging software and analytics, but all in one marketing software that is easy to use and has an extremely robust feature set. Tumblr is one of the quickest and easiest options to set up and of course you have Blogger from Google. Another CMS you may not have heard of is concrete5 that is free and open source.
Be sure that the blogging platform you select allows you to utilize your own URL so you can use the sub-domain or sub directory within your existing site for SEO.
4. Content Creation Plan
Just like starting your business you will need to have a plan to follow for your blog. This is a crucial step that will aid you in creating content and keeping your team members on track. Your plan should work with your blog objectives and start with creating a content calendar. The link you just passed will let you download a free content calendar to help get you started.
Start with your keywords from your website. Use your keywords to create your blog titles. Now that you have titles and a topic you can assign the article to a writer and give them a deadline within your content calendar. You must use keywords in your title and in the text so you can optimize each article for SEO. Check out of free Blogging for SEO Checklist for quick tips on how to do this.
5. Pick Your Team of Bloggers
You may be a team of one and that is fine, but if you can, try to build your team of bloggers via your staff as it will help you produce more compelling content more often. If you have a sales or product development team then get them involved in your blog. Anyone of your employees should be able to contribute to your business blog even if it is only once a month.
Once you have selected your platform and set up your blog, next comes the most important step. Set the date and title for your 1st blog article. Stick to your guns and get it done. There is no wrong way to blog.
image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/stuart miles