You’ve heard it before, you’ve thought it over, or maybe it’s on your to-do list: you need a blog.
Especially if you have a business, blogging is one of the best (and affordable!) ways to brand yourself, build an online reputation, network, and attract an audience. By constantly creating new and compelling content, you can increase the number of visitors to your company site and drive your website traffic up. Even more, once your blog picks up speed, it’s a great way to connect and have an open dialog with customers and business contacts.
But despite all of these advantages to having a blog, it can be difficult to know where to start or how to have success. We’ve written a list of essential tips to start a blog and keep it flourishing.
1) Start Small
While it can be tempting to imagine yourself at the helm of the next Mashable or Buzzfeed, constantly spitting out nuggets of quotable wisdom, it’s often difficult to find time to even write a single post. Start with small, manageable goals that you can realistically meet. For example, aim for one blog entry a week and stick to that consistently. The key is to routinely add new content so that writing becomes a habit, and readers trust that they can come back to find updated content.
2) Make posts “skimmable”
Readers often scan a blog article first before they commit to reading the entire post. Long paragraphs and small type can be intimidating and frustrating to read. Consider using lists, spacing, bullet points, and clear sub-titles to invite your reader.
3) Write for your readers
Just like that loudmouth at the party who continually spouts off abut themselves or provides unwanted lectures, people will tune out if you provide irrelevant or useless content. While it’s important to be passionate about what you’re writing about, don’t blog just to have your voice heard. Think about what your customers need and want to read about. Consider looking through popular blogs to find what’s missing from the blogosphere, or mine your comments and customer feedback for ideas. Above all, DON’T write for search engines – it is much more valuable for your readers to share your content and come back for more.
4) Include images
Visuals can help demonstrate a point, add flavour to your post, and make your article easier to digest. You can check out our blog post for some great places to find free and premium stock images.
5) Be engaged in the conversation
One of the unique aspects of blogging as opposed to other marketing tactics is the ability to personally connect with your audience. Blogging is a communication medium – take advantage of it!
If you have Facebook, Twitter, Digg it, or other social media accounts, don’t be afraid to include a link to your newly written blog! Similarly, include social media sharing buttons on your blog so that your visitors can help you spread your content. Consider adding floating buttons alongside your article, or check out ClickToTweet where you can easily let readers retweet a line or two!
7) Start or seek out blog carnivals
Yes, these exist! A blog carnival is a collection of blogs that have been compiled on a certain subject. This is a great way to promote your blog and get informed about similar bloggers.
8) Guest post
Once you’ve built up a reasonable collection of articles, you can establish yourself as an “expert” by posting for other blogs. This can expose you to a new audience and build your credibility.
For business owners, blogging is one of the most effective ways market yourself, draw an audience, and maintain relevancy. While starting and maintaining a blog can seem daunting, it’s not as difficult as it may seem. The key is to remember to keep realistic goals and aim to provide useful content for your readers. We’ll be compiling a list of blog topic suggestions for whenever you get stuck for an idea, so stay tuned!