Blogging or using a blog as a part of your business strategy is an emerging trend. Most businesses are advised by the marketing teams to include a blog as an important publicity and sales tool. For writers, too, blogs are an easy way to get their writing out to the public without having to go through the publishing and distribution channels. With technology becoming more users friendly and blogging platforms and tools becoming easier to use, blogging is rapidly gaining the edge as everyone wants to be a blogger. Here is a look at what you will need to start your own blog.
The first thing a blog needs is a purpose
A few things need to be done as part of the planning stage of a blog. Getting these basics will save you a lot of hard work after you set your blog up. Many blogs are successful because they focus on a particular purpose, a reason, or a niche. If you are blogging for a business, it will make sense to adopt a specific aspect of your business as your niche. For writers too, you will need to find a reason that you can offer your readers for visiting your blog. For business blogs, a common way of creating a niche is to provide comprehensive, trustworthy, and broad-based information about the particular industry segment that the business is focused on. For writers, you may want to focus on reviews of books, music, or cinema. Just having a blog for the sake of having a blog will not translate into success. The bottom line is that you must be able to define the purpose of your blog in terms of value that it will generate for the reader.
Choose a blogging platform
Start uploading quality content out
Now that you have decided on your purpose, and your platform, the next thing to do is to start publishing high quality content on your blog. Always keep in mind that it is the quality of what you put out and not the quantity of it that will determine whether people will keep coming back to read your blog, and whether they will share or recommend your blog to their friends. When creating a blog post, keep in mind what the reader is going to get out of it. It could be new information about a business strategy or an innovation in the industry. It could be a music review that makes him want to listen to the artist or an article that makes him think afresh about some aspect of life.
Start promoting your blog
A blog out there by itself will attract very few readers no matter how earnestly you create good content. You have to get the word out. You can do this in a number of ways. You can use your online social networks to let them know about your blog. You can include the blog in your company stationery and in your email signatures. You can create attractive banners or pop-ups on your company website to let people know that there is a blog up. Many bloggers have found that community-bookmarking sites can generate large amounts of quality traffic. As you study the art and science of blogging further, you will want to familiarize yourself with the concepts of SEO, various ways of improving your page rank, URL optimization, use of keywords and other technical tweaks that can lead to higher traffic.
Network with other bloggers in your niche
As you start adding content to your blog and promoting it, you will want to know what the standards for blogging are in your particular niche. You can do this by linking up with other bloggers who are doing something similar to your blog. Study their blogs, and see how they are using the tricks of internet marketing to attract people to their blog. Start a dialog with them by commenting on their posts. Do not fall into the trap of doing this for the sake of a link back to your blog, but to exchange ideas and add to the value of the post. As your opinions are noticed, you will find people automatically coming to your blog to see what you have to say about things.
Blogging is an extremely useful tool for small businesses and writers to get word out to people about their products, thoughts, and opinions. It costs little more than the time that you spend creating classy content, but it can bring in huge rewards. Building up a dedicated readership of a blog takes time and persistence. Do not expect to find your sales zooming once you put a blog out. A blog is only a referral or a lead generating tool, and one that can only be built with time. Be patient and enjoy the process of learning about the latest techniques and tips and tricks of blogging. As you build up a significant body of work, and a sizable number of repeat visitors, your blog will slowly turn into an important part of your marketing strategy.
About the author: Alia Haley is a blogger who is a fashion buff and very passionate about learning new things. Her latest interest these days is in learning about architecture. She recently shared an article on green design.
*picture from google images.