Posts Tagged ‘blogging for business’

Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips of 2010

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

How can you improve your blog’s position in search engines? Grow your audience? Effectively generate content contributions from subject matter experts in your organization? Produce more stylish and readable content? Find free, high-quality images to add visual appeal to your posts? Avoid common mistakes that can cost you traffic and goodwill?

Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips of 2010Discover the answers to all of these questions and more here in the final selection of the best guides and tips for business blogging from the past year.

Blogging Guides, Tips and Techniques

The Step-by-Step Guide to Guest Blogging by 2 Create a Website

One key way to spread the fame of your own blog is to guest post on others; you reach a new audience, hopefully pick up some new fans, and get valuable backlinks to your blog. Here, Ann Smarty contributes a guest post on best practices in guest posting, from planning your approach and brainstorming topics to following through by responding to comments.

5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment by Daily Blog Tips

In another guest post, Pat Flynn details five benefits of actively responding to comments on your blog, such as the fact that doing so encourages more comments: “People don’t leave comments just so they can be left unread. By replying, you’re not only letting people know that you’re actively involved in reading the comments, but you’re encouraging them to come back and comment again later.”

7 Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts for Maximum Exposure by Quick Online Tips

In yet another guest post, Jonathan Beebe offers seven common (e.g., promote via Twitter and Facebook) and not-so-obvious (e.g., use automated social bookmarking tools like IMAutomater and Shareaholic tips for increasing traffic to your blog.

How To Optimise Your WordPress Ping List by Pimp My WordPress

A colossal list of more than 120 sites to add to your ping list for automatic notification each time you publish a new post.

Best practices for a killer corporate blog by iMedia Connection

Sarah Hofstetter offers 25 outstanding tips for developing, maintaining and promoting a successful corporate blog, from creating an editorial calendar and incorporating visuals to setting up email distribution and tracking actionable metrics.

Blogs are Becoming the New Front Door for Prospects: Is Yours Open? by MarketingSherpa

Sean Donahue notes that, “If you’re still on the fence about the importance of a company blog, consider this trend: Many B2B marketers report that their team’s blog — not the company homepage — is now the most popular entry point for online visitors,” then provides tips for maximizing company blog success.

Why Host a Blog on Your Corporate Website? by ClickZ

The smart and prolific Mark Jackson supplies five compelling reasons for adding a blog to a company website, both subjective (a blog gives you the opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership) and objective (blogs are much more effective than typical commercial website content at attracting unsolicited links).

What’s Up, Blog? Seven Ways to Revive a Neglected B2B Blog by MLT Creative

Acknowledging that “Blogging is hard work. You must consistently create relevant compelling content,” Martine Hunter presents seven tactics for re-engaging with a neglected blog, including refreshing old blog posts, turning news releases into blog articles, and enlisting guest bloggers to lighten the workload.

A random writing-related pictureHow I Achieved Blogging Success In 30 Days by bizchickblogs

In you guessed it–another guest post–Wayne Howard describes his method for quickly building the following for a new blog, using tactics such as Facebook postings, the BloggerLuv community, Twitter, LinkedIn and contests.

Inciting Insight: How to make thought leaders think by The Communicator

Peter Schram offers a “recipe” for designing a thought leadership program within an organization to create a steady stream of fresh and compelling content, such as priming the pump: “Ideas are usually generated incrementally. This means that the more ‘inspiration’ that a thought leader is exposed to, the more valuable and insightful their ‘Big Ideas’ will be.”

35 Ways to Market Your Blog by Junta42

The brilliant Joe Pulizzi shares his list of 35 “common and some uncommon” methods for promoting a blog, from putting your blog URL on your business cards and leveraging Twitter hashtags to showcasing employees and using the blog as your customer FAQ.

Is blog marketing dead or just growing up? The naked (conversation) facts by conversionation

J-P De Clerck reports that less than half of companies have blogs, despite the fact that “blogs are real social media hubs and cornerstones of inbound marketing.” Furthermore, many of the companies that do blog don’t do it well; nearly three-quarters of all corporate blog posts don’t reflect the company’s message. Given that more than half of all Internet users in the U.S. read blogs, and the figure is expected to rise to 60% in the next four years, J-P notes that corporate blogging, far from being “dead,” is an area of growing importance and opportunity.

How to Make an Awesome Corporate Blog by Entrepreneur Magazine

Bianca Male shares tactics for corporate blog success (such as “Your content should go beyond your company…contribute to the discussion of topics that readers are interested in, by talking about trends in the industry and having thought leaders offer their take, for example”) and links to some noteworthy examples, closing with “If you can’t commit to focusing on fresh, interesting content, avoiding all direct marketing ploys, (and) getting creative and moving beyond boring company info…just don’t do it.”

10 Proven Blog Marketing Tactics You Can Use Today by The Future Buzz

Adam Singer provides 10 valuable tips for effective blogs, including investing in a custom design, connecting with the social web “power users” in your segment, and even making enemies (the kind that will debate you blog-to-blog).

What Can You Learn from 7 Awesome Corporate Blogs? by KISSmetrics

Cameron Chapman highlights winning corporate blogs (such as The Facebook Blog), discusses the key features and provides takeaways from each (e.g., “having a huge blogging team that includes employees from throughout your organization makes your blog much more engaging for users. Your CEO should be blogging, but so should your interns”), and concludes with a brief guide to starting a corporate blog.

9 Awesome Ways to Market a Business Blog by HubSpot Blog

Kipp Bodnar details nine techniques for increasing traffic to a company blog, like including your blog URL on business cards and in corporate email signatures, name-dropping media editors and other influencers, and checking out content networks in your niche (content syndication and aggregation sites such as Social Media Informer in the social media space).

Tim Gunn’s Top 5 Tips for More Stylish Content by Copyblogger

Erika Napoletano channels fashion authority Tim Gunn to provide style tips for bloggers, such as “SEO is not the new black” (“you don’t have to optimize every piece of content you create) and “conversation never goes out of style” (embrace comments).

Get High Resolution Photos And Edit For Free by Trailblaze Social Media With Josh

Joshua Lyons reveals his favorite source for free photos and his favorite free online tool for editing them.

Five Key Ingredients for a Successful Corporate Blog by Sysomos

Mark Evans offers five commonsense, but not always adhered to, recommendations for corporate blogging success, starting with the need for quality content: “Content that provides insight, perspective and information. At its core, a corporate blog has to give its readers information they can use to increase their knowledge, learn new things or receive insight.”

Ten Blogging Mistakes I Learned in Year One by Nectar

Josh Wade shares 10 common blogging mistakes to avoid, like misspelling someone’s name when you highlight them in post (oops!), picking fights, trying to be everywhere rather than focusing, and being a conformist.

8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content by Copyblogger

Pamela Wilson suggests that “writing less and styling your text so it’s easy to read” is key to attracting greater blog readership, and offers corresponding tips for doing so effectively such as breaking up blocks of copy using subheads, bulleted lists and numbers.

Blog SEO

11 Must Do SEO Tips for WordPress by Better Blog Building

An excellent list of SEO tips for WordPress blogs, including using (optimized) images, installing key plugins like All In One SEO Pack and Google XML Sitemaps Generator, and linking within your posts to relevant older posts.

6 Ways to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines by Social Media Examiner

Jim Lodico offers six helpful tips for improving your blog’s position in search engine results. While the tactics themselves are mostly common knowledge, the value of this post is in the tools Jim recommends (such as SEOCentro’s Meta Tag Analyzer for optimizing meta tags).

7 Ways to Create Blog Content That Attracts More Back Links by Digital Labz

Links are critical both for SEO purposes and attracting direct traffic–but they don’t appear magically. This post provides proven strategies for naturally attracting more backlinks to your blog posts, such as capitalizing on current events, making big lists (think “101 Tips” rather than “10 Tips”) and creating an infographic.

Link Building Tips for Personal Blogs by SEOmoz

Links are SEO fuel, and in this post SEO guru Rand Fishkin helpfully advises bloggers on which link-building tactics to avoid (generic directories, link buying) as well as dozen technigues to use such as niche blog listing sites, answering questions in online forums and social sharing in order to improve your blog’s rank in search.

And Finally…

90 Tips To Make Your Blog Rock by Jeff Bullas

And as if all of ideas above aren’t enough to keep you busy for the next year, Jeff Bullas offers 90 more including writing about industry trends, highlighting customer successes, writing a series of “how to” posts and then turning those into short videos, turn the results of surveys or polls into blog posts and more.

Related Posts

Best Business Blogging Tips and Guides of 2010 (So Far), Part 1

Best Business Blogging Tips and Guides of 2010 (So Far), Part 2

The Step-by-Step Guide to Guest Blogging by 2 Create a Website

http://blog.2createawebsite.com/2010/06/14/the-step-by-step-guide-to-guest-blogging-part-1/

One key way to spread the fame of your own blog is to guest post on others; you reach a new audience, hopefully pick up some

new fans, and get valuable backlinks to your blog. Here, Ann Smarty contributes a guest post on best practices in guest

posting, from planning your approach and brainstorming topics to following through by responding to comments.

5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment by Daily Blog Tips

http://www.dailyblogtips.com/5-reasons-why-you-should-respond-to-every-comment/

In another guest post, Pat Flynn details five benefits of actively responding to comments on your blog, such as the fact that

doing so encourages more comments: “People don’t leave comments just so they can be left unread. By replying, you’re not only

letting people know that you’re actively involved in reading the comments, but you’re encouraging them to come back and

comment again later.”

7 Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts for Maximum Exposure by Quick Online Tips

http://www.quickonlinetips.com/archives/2010/06/promote-blog-posts/

In yet another [italics] guest post, Jonathan Beebe offers seven obvious (e.g., promote via Twitter and Facebook) and not-so-

obvious (e.g., use automated social bookmarking tools like IMAutomater [http://www.imautomator.com/] and Shareaholic

[http://www.shareaholic.com/]) tips for increasing traffic to your blog.

How To Optimise Your WordPress Ping List by Pimp My WordPress

http://www.pimpmywordpress.com/wordpress-tutorials/optimise-wordpress-ping-list

A colossal list of more than 120 sites to add to your ping list for automatic notification each time you publish a new post.

Best practices for a killer corporate blog by iMedia Connection

http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/27253.asp

Sarah Hofstetter offers 25 outstanding tips for developing, maintaining and promoting a successful corporate blog, from

creating an editorial calendar and incorporating visuals to setting up email distribution and tracking actionable metrics.

Blogs are Becoming the New Front Door for Prospects: Is Yours Open? by MarketingSherpa

http://sherpablog.marketingsherpa.com/business-to-business/the-importance-of-b2b-blogs/

Sean Donahue notes that, “If you’re still on the fence about the importance of a company blog, consider this trend: Many B2B

marketers report that their team’s blog — not the company homepage — is now the most popular entry point for online visitors,”

then provides tips for maximizing company blog success.

Why Host a Blog on Your Corporate Website? by ClickZ

http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1727984/why-host-blog-your-corporate-website

The smart and prolific Mark Jackson [http://webbiquity.com/?s=Mark+Jackson] supplies five compelling reasons for adding a blog

to a company website, both subjective (a blog gives you the opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership) and objective

(blogs are much more effective than typical commercial website content at attracting unsolicited links).

What’s Up, Blog? Seven Ways to Revive a Neglected B2B Blog by MLT Creative

http://www.mltcreative.com/blog/bid/37259/What-s-Up-Blog-Seven-Ways-to-Revive-a-Neglected-B2B-Blog

Acknowledging that “Blogging is hard work. You must consistently create relevant compelling content,” Martine Hunter presents

seven tactics for re-engaging with a neglected blog, including refreshing old blog psots, turning news releases into blog

articles, and enlisting guest bloggers to lighten the workload.

How I Achieved Blogging Success In 30 Days by bizchickblogs

http://www.bizchickblogs.com/2010/09/blogging-success.html

In you guessed it–another guest post–Wayne Howard describes his method for quickly building the following for a new blog,

using tactics such as Facebook postings, the BloggerLuv [http://www.bloggerluv.com/] community, Twitter, LinkedIn and

contests.

Inciting Insight: How to make thought leaders think by The Communicator

http://communicationsunlimited.ca/blog/2010/09/08/inciting-insight

Peter Schram offers a “recipe” for designing a thought leadership program within an organization to create a steady stream of

fresh and compelling content, such as priming the pump: “Ideas are usually generated incrementally. This means that the more

‘inspiration’ that a thought leader is exposed to, the more valuable and insightful their ‘Big Ideas’ will be.”

35 Ways to Market Your Blog by Junta42

http://blog.junta42.com/content_marketing_blog/2010/09/ways-to-market-your-blog.html

The brilliant Joe Pulizzi [http://webbiquity.com/?s=Joe+Pulizzi] shares his list of 35 “common and some uncommon” methods for

promoting a blog, from putting your blog URL on your business cards and leveraging Twitter hashtags to showcasing employees

and using the blog as your customer FAQ.

Is blog marketing dead or just growing up? The naked (conversation) facts by conversionation

http://www.conversionation.net/blog/bid/46187/Is-blog-marketing-dead-or-just-growing-up-The-naked-conversation-facts

J-P De Clerck reports that less than half of companies have blogs, despite the fact that “blogs are real social media hubs and

cornerstones of inbound marketing.” Furthermore, many of the companies that do blog don’t do it well; nearly three-quarters of

all corporate blog posts don’t reflect the company’s message. Given that more than half of all Internet users in the U.S. read

blogs, and thr figure is expected to rise to 60% in the next four years, J-P notes that corporate blogging, far from being

“dead,” is an area of growing importance and opportunity.

How to Make an Awesome Corporate Blog by Entrepreneur Magazine

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/217393

Bianca Male shares tactics for corporate blog success (such as “Your content should go beyond your company…contribute to the

discussion of topics that readers are interested in, by talking about trends in the industry and having thought leaders offer

their take, for example”) and links to some noteworthy examples, closing with “If you can’t commit to focusing on fresh,

interesting content, avoiding all direct marketing ploys, (and) getting creative and moving beyond boring company info…just

don’t do it.”

10 Proven Blog Marketing Tactics You Can Use Today by The Future Buzz

http://thefuturebuzz.com/2010/10/04/blog-marketing-tactics/

Adam Singer provides 10 valuable tips for effective blogs, including investing in a custom design, connecting with the social

web “power users” in your segment, and even making enemies (the kind that will debate you blog-to-blog).

What Can You Learn from 7 Awesome Corporate Blogs? by KISSmetrics

http://blog.kissmetrics.com/7-awesome-corporate-blogs/

Cameron Chapman highlights winning corporate blogs (such as The Facebook Blog [http://blog.facebook.com/]), discusses the key

features and provides takeaways from each (e.g., “aving a huge blogging team that includes employees from throughout your

organization makes your blog much more engaging for users. Your CEO should be blogging, but so should your interns”), and

concludes with a brief guide to starting a corporate blog.

9 Awesome Ways to Market a Business Blog by HubSpot Blog

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/6788/9-Awesome-Ways-to-Market-a-Business-Blog.aspx

Kipp Bodnar [http://webbiquity.com/?s=Kipp+Bodnar] details nine techniques for increasing traffic to a company blog, like

including your blog URL on business cards and in corporate email signatures, name-dropping media editors and other

influencers, and checking out content networks in your niche (content syndication and aggregation sites such as Social Media

Informer [http://www.socialmediainformer.com] in the social media space).

11 Must Do SEO Tips for WordPress by Better Blog Building

http://betterblogbuilding.com/10-must-do-seo-tips-for-wordpress/

An excellent list of SEO tips for WordPress blogs, including using (optimized) images, installing key plugins like All In One

SEO Pack and Google XML Sitemaps Generator, and linking within your posts to relevant older posts.

6 Ways to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines by Social Media Examiner

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/6-ways-to-optimize-your-blog-for-search-engines/

Jim Lodico offers six helpful tips for improving your blog’s postion in search engine results. While the tactics themselves

are mostly common knowledge, the value of this post is in the tools Jim recommends (such as SEOCentro’s Meta Tag Analyzer

[http://www.seocentro.com/tools/search-engines/metatag-analyzer.html] for optimizing meta tags).

Tim Gunn’s Top 5 Tips for More Stylish Content by Copyblogger

http://www.copyblogger.com/tim-gunn/

Erika Napoletano channels fashion authority Tim Gunn [http://www.fabsugar.com/10-Fashion-Essentials-According-Tim-Gunn-763661]

to provide style tips for bloggers, such as SEO is not the new black (“you don’t have to optimize every piece of content you

create) and conversation never goes out of style (embrace comments).

Get High Resolution Photos And Edit For Free by Trailblaze Social Media With Josh

http://joshuajlyons.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/get-high-resolution-photos-and-edit-for-free/

Joshua Lyons reveals his favorite source for free photos and his favorite free online tool for editing them.

Five Key Ingredients for a Successful Corporate Blog by Sysomos

http://blog.sysomos.com/2010/11/03/five-key-ingredients-for-a-successful-corporate-blog/

Mark Evans offers five commonsense, but not always adhered to, recommendations for corporate blogging success, starting with

the need for quality content: “Content that provides insight, perspective and information. At its core, a corporate blog has

to give its readers information they can use to increase their knowledge, learn new things or receive insight.”

7 Ways to Create Blog Content That Attracts More Back Links by Digital Labz

http://digitallabz.com/blogs/7-ways-to-create-blog-content-that-attracts-more-back-links.html

Links are critical both for SEO purposes and attracting direct traffic–but they don’t appear magically. This post provides

proven strategies for naturally attracting more backlinks to your blog posts, such as capitalizing on current events, making

big lists (think “101 Tips” rather than “10 Tips”) and creating an infographic.

Link Building Tips for Personal Blogs by SEOmoz

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/link-building-tips-for-personal-blogs

Links are SEO fuel, and in this post SEO guru Rand Fishkin helpfully advises bloggers on which link-building tactics to avoid

(generic directories, link buying) as well as dozen technigues to use such as niche blog listing sites, answering questions in

online forums and social sharing in order to improve your blog’s rank in search.

Ten Blogging Mistakes I Learned in Year One by Nectar

http://drinknectar.com/2010/11/24/ten-blogging-mistakes-i-learned-in-year-one/

Josh Wade shares 10 common blogging mistakes to avoid, like misspelling someone’s name when you highlight them in post (oops),

picking fights, trying to be everywhere rather than focusing, and being a conformist.

8 Incredibly Simple Ways to Get More People to Read Your Content by Copyblogger

http://www.copyblogger.com/scannable-content/

Pamela Wilson suggests that “writing less and styling your text so it’s easy to read” is key to attracting greater blog

readership, and offers corresponding tips for doing so effectively such as breaking up blocks of copy using subheads, bulleted

lists and numbers.

90 Tips To Make Your Blog Rock by Jeff Bullas

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2010/12/02/90-tips-to-make-your-blog-rock/

And as if all of ideas above aren’t enough to keep you busy for the next year, Jeff Bullas offers 90 more including writing

about industry trends, highlighting customer successes, writing a series of “how to” posts and then turning those into short

videos, turn the results of surveys or polls into blog posts and more.

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Best Business Blogging Tips and Guides of 2010 (So Far), Part 2

Monday, October 18th, 2010

How can you craft more compelling blog headlines? Which SEO tools should be part of every blogger’s arsenal? What characteristics do successful bloggers share? How can you get more links to your blog? Continually come up with fresh and interesting topics? Avoid dumb mistakes that even smart bloggers make?

Best Business Blogging Guides of 2010 (So Far)Find the answers to those questions and others here in more of the best guides to business blogging of 2010 so far.

10 SEO Tools Every Blogger Must Use by Daily SEO Tip

Anil Gupta provides mini-reviews of 10 useful SEO tools for bloggers, from the popular (e.g., Google Analytics) to the lesser-known (e.g., Ranks.nl keyword density tool and Sitening.com SEO Analyzer).

Blog Optimization, Post Title SEO & Deadeye Targeting by aimClear

Marty Weintraub explains, with his customary depth and real-world illustration, how to use keyword research to craft blog post titles that draw both human readers and high organic search position.

The 8 Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers by Copyblogger

Want to join the ranks of highly successful bloggers? Of course you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this. Annabel Candy details eight traits to cultivate for blogging success, such as being concise, focused and persistent.

Meaningful Metrics for B2B Blogging by Proteus B2B Marketing

The prolific Galen De Young first clarifies which commonly used metrics aren’t particularly important (and why), then does a deep dive into several more valuable ways to measure the impact of a corporate blog, including analysis of total site traffic driven by your blog, your blog’s impact on search traffic, and visit quality.

Top 10 Blog Directories by SEO Wizardry

***** 5 Stars
Pete Hollier lists the top ten blog directories for listings that will generate both direct traffic and valuable backlinks.

The 5 Old Blogging Rules Killing Your Readership by Outspoken Media

The highly linkable Lisa Barone showcases five “old rules” for blogging success that no longer apply, and recommends new ones to replace them. Example: “Old Rule: Good Bloggers Keep Posts Short…Instead of insight, opinion and commentary, we got copycat stories and blogging for blogging’s sake. It was riveting. Only not. New Rule: Size doesn’t matter, the content does.”

Smart Professionals with Dumb Blogs by Writing on the Web

Patsi Krakoff presents a list of common “dumb” mistakes made by otherwise smart bloggers (long sentences, overuse of “we,” vague terms) along with recommendations for writing better posts.

17 Easy Steps to Brilliant Blog Posts by Copyblogger

Lamenting the lack of a “succinct summary all in one place” of the most valuable guidelines for bloggers, Jill Chivers proceeds to offer her own excellent summary of four key factors in writing a compelling post, eight ideas for more interesting content and five things to check before publishing.

4 Business Blogging Best Practices by HubSpot Blog

Noting that “Great business blogs have to walk a fine line: they have to create value for current and prospective customers while at the same time supporting a strategy that provides business growth,” Kipp Bodnar advises business bloggers to think like publishers, consider SEO and provide a clear connection to the corporate website among other practices.

7 ways to get more link love by iMedia Connection

Garrett French offers seven tips for getting relevant links to your content, such as constantly looking for ways to link to your peers first: “Link lavishly, and it will return to you in time.” Hey, it worked for him here.

50 Ways To Optimize Your Blog by jeffbullas.com

Jeff Bullas presents 50 tips to increase your blog’s readership, like asking questions of your readers, using StumbleUpon and AllTop, thoughtfully commenting on other blogs (with a link back to your own) and tweeting each of your new posts at least twice.

100 Sources of Blogging Inspiration by Ink Rebels

Diana Adams compiles an outstanding list of “though starters” to help break through blogger writing block, including writing a follow-up to an earlier post, lessons learned from an event you’ve attended, a book review, a case study, or if all else fails—inviting another blogger you’re socially connected with to write a guest post.

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Proper Care and Feeding of a Blog

Monday, September 13th, 2010

My daughter is hooked on those pet rescue shows on Animal Planet. What I’ve learned from my more occasional viewing is that despite the many joys of pet ownership, not everyone is cut out for it. By the same token, despite the many benefits of a business blog, not everyone should rush into it. Like owning a pet, writing a blog isn’t rocket science but does require a certain level of care and attention, lest the effort end up among the millions of abandoned, forgotten and neglected blogs littering the online landscape. Here are seven tips for a healthy blog and a happy blogger.

Proper Care and Feeding Makes for Happy Blogs (and Pets)Post regularly. A healthy blog thrives on fresh content, at least once per week, more often if possible. If it’s difficult for you to maintain that schedule on your own, consider a group blog where several authors provide content, easing the load on each. A blog with fresh content looks vibrant; a blog with no posts for several months appears neglected or abandoned to the lonely back streets of the web.

Maintain your blog. Make sure sidebar links are current and working, and keep your plugins updated.  A blog with obsolete (e.g. promoting an event that is already past) or dead links, buttons that don’t work, or features that don’t function looks scruffy and uncared for.

Moderate and respond to comments. The best blogs communicate with readers rather than just broadcasting to them. Encourage comments, and when you get thoughtful comments or questions, respond and keep the conversation going. But being social doesn’t mean permitting every comment to be posted; obvious link spam or other worthless input should be rejected like the annoying parasites who leave them.

Provide contact information. There will be times when someone (such as a prospect with a product or pricing question, or a journalist looking for the right expert to quote) needs to contact you directly rather than just posting a comment. You can post your email address, use a WordPress contact form plugin, or incorporate an interactive business card (see the upper-right of this blog for an example) on your blog. A blog without contact information is like a lost pet with no ID tag.

Link out. Blogging is a social activity. No matter what topic you write about, there are other smart, insightful bloggers addressing it as well. Link to other posts that support a point you’re making, provide additional information or present a different point of view. It’s helpful to your readers as well as to the bloggers you link to, and often leads to some “link love” coming back to your blog in return.

Acknowledge those who link to you. Links are good things; they drive direct traffic to your blog as well as helping improve your rank in the search engines. When someone is thoughtful enough to link to your blog, show your appreciation: leave a comment on their blog, link to their post from your blog or from Twitter, Digg their post, send them a quick note, do something to affirm the recognition.  There are certain over-inflated egos in the worlds of SEO and online marketing who are very poor at this. To be successful in social media, act more like a friendly pooch than an aloof feline.

Be patient! The animals on Pet Stars didn’t learn to do those amazing tricks overnight, and you shouldn’t expect your blog to attract a massive audience right away either. Like pet training, growing the readership for a blog requires using the right techniques and takes some time.

By following these tips for the proper care and feeding of your blog you’ll increase your odds of blogging success. And you won’t need a visit from Victoria Stilwell.

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Should a Blog be Part of Your Corporate Website or Stand on Its Own?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Okay, so you understand the benefits of business blogs, and you’re ready to make the commitment to developing and maintaining a blog for the long haul. The next question is: where should I put the blog?

There are five common options:

Most Popular Free Blogging PlatformsFree hosting on a blogging platform site. The URL would look something like mycompanyblog.wordpress.com or mycompanyblog.blogspot.com. This option should never be used for a corporate or business blog. Free blogging platforms are fine for hosting personal blogs where there is no justification for spending money and no expectation of generating any business leads, sales or income. For business however, such platforms are an unprofessional setting, offer limited functionality, and provide very little SEO benefit.

Hosting on a corporate website using the site’s CMS tool. Many corporate websites are built on content management system (CMS) platforms such as Joomla, Drupal or DotNetNuke. These and several other open source and commercial CMS platforms offer built-in blog creation functionality. The advantages of this approach are:

  • • All SEO authority (via inbound links) accrues to your corporate website, because the blog is just another section of the site. This is valuable because blog posts are often more effective “link bait” than typical website copy (“About Us,” product/service descriptions, etc.).
  • • Your internal (or agency) staff, who may at different times write content for both the company blog and corporate website, have only one content creation tool to learn.
  • • The blog has the same “look and feel” as the rest of the site, supporting corporate branding.
  • • Whether viewing the blog or regular product/service content, visitors never leave your site.
  • • Most CMS plaforms will easily accommodate multiple-author corporate blogs. They can also support multiple blogs (e.g. a widget industry blog and a widget maintenance blog)—though the common look/feel and top-level domain name make it difficult to clearly separate these.

The primary disadvantages of the CMS approach are that the blog is very clearly “the corporate blog”—it has no independence or personality of its own—and that CMS tools often lack the rich functionality and plugins that blogging platforms such as WordPress offer (e.g. subscribe to posts by email, quick polls, automatic XML sitemap maintenance, etc.).

Hosting on an existing corporate site using WordPress. This option assumes that your corporate website is built in something other than WordPress (e.g. on an open source, commercial or proprietary web CMS platform), and that you’ll be installing WordPress just to power the blog. This approach shares many of the advantages of using the underlying CMS to build the blog (SEO links, visitor are kept on the site, multi-author blogs are supported) and does away with some of the shortcomings: first, since the blog template is separate from the website template, it’s easy to give the blog its own personality, consistent with but separate from the rest of the corporate site. Second, unlike most CMS platforms, WordPress has an active developer community contributing special-purpose plugins to continually expand and enhance its functionality.

However, this approach has its own drawbacks. For one, it requires installation and setup of the WordPress blogging and MySQL database management software–not a terribly difficult task, but not one for technophobic to be sure. Where this really becomes complicated is in a multi-blog scenario (again, such as separate industry news and technical / how-to blogs), since each blog requires its own WordPress and MySQL installation. For another, functions that are often provided seamlessly by a dedicated WordPress host (see the separate blog and website hosting option below), such as nightly database backups and WordPress version upgrades, have to configured separately for a self-hosted WordPress installation. In other words, you’ll definitely need knowledgeable IT support for this option.

Hosting both a blog and website on WordPress. This is definitely an option to consider if you are just developing the website for a new organization or rebuilding the website for an existing enterprise. It offers all of the advantages of a WordPress blog while giving IT only a single platform to manage and users only a single CMS tool to learn. Though originally developed as a blogging platform, WordPress has evolved over the years into a respectably capable full CMS option for relatively small, simple websites–with or without a blog.

The downside is that WordPress isn’t suitable for large, complex websites or those requiring customer web application functionality, at least not without some highly involved development effort. For midsize to large enterprise sites, or even smaller company sites requiring specialized functionality, it’s often simpler to develop the non-blog portions of the website using another tool and treating the blog separately. Which brings us to the final option:

Separate blog and website hosting. With this alternative, a blog is treated completely separately from the main company website development platform, hosting arrangements and underlying technology. Regardless of how or where the main website is hosted, the blog is generally hosted with a dedicated WordPress host such as HostGator, Bluehost or JustHost. (Disclosure: I do use JustHost for my personal blog hosting, but I have absolutely no financial relationship with any of these companies.) The advantages of this approach are:

  • • The blog can not only have its own “personality” separate from the corporate website, but even its own search-friendly domain name (e.g. widget-industry-news.com).
  • • Related to the point above, your company can potentially get an extra spot on the first page of the search engines for specific core search terms. The search engines will generally display any specific website no more than twice (e.g. the home page and one interior page) on the first page of search results. Having a related blog with a separate top-level domain name gives you the opportunity to snare a third spot on the home page for certain search phrases very closely aligned with your business.
  • • The blog can easily have its own look and feel, carrying over selected elements of corporate branding (e.g. colors, logo) without having exactly the same look and navigation structure.
  • • There’s no burden on the corporate IT group. Setup is easy and maintenance is usually handled automatically by the host for a nominal annual fee. This frees your IT group to focus on more important things, and it means you don’t have to wait for or rely on IT to install new features, add authors, add new pages or perform pretty much any other function on the blog.
  • • Authors can write blog posts, add comments, install or update plugins, and perform virtually any other function on the blog from any Internet connection. This may or not be true for your corporate website, depending on the platform used and security settings. In large companies (and many midsized organizations as well), a VPN connection or other software is often needed for corporate site editing access.
  • • Separate hosting supports both a single blog with multiple authors and multi-blog scenarios. Managing multiple external blogs will increase costs (though many hosts offer discounts for multi-site hosting packages) but also provide more opportunity for search presence (e.g. in addition to your corporate site, you may own blogs like widget-industry-news.com, widget-maintenance-tips.com, etc.).

Disadvantages:

  • • You’ll incur extra hosting and domain name registration fees, generally running $80-120 per year per blog. That’s not a huge outlay, but something to consider.
  • • Your SEO authority will be split, with one set of links pointing to your corporate website and a different set pointing to your blog.

In the final analysis, there is no single perfect answer for all organizations to the question posed in the title of this post. There are benefits and drawbacks to each approach. The best advice is: consider the specifics of your situation and relative advantages and disadvantages of each approach before deciding on the optimal hosting arrangement for your blog.

Other helpful information on this topic:

Location? Location? Location? by SEO Inc Blog

Business Blog: separate domain or on your website by Better Business Blogging

Blog: On Site vs. Off Site – SEO Advantages by WebProWorld (forum)

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Best Business Blogging Tips and Guides of 2010 (So Far), Part 1

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Stumped for new blog post topic ideas? Struggling to increase blog traffic? Want more comments? Higher search position? Better results from social media? Younger looking skin in just three days?

Can’t help you with that last goal, but excluding that one you’ve come to the right place. Learn how to make your blog the center of your social media efforts, build traffic, write great posts and more here in some of the best tips, tactics and guidance for blogging of 2010 so far.

Best Business Blogging Tips of 2010 (So Far)100+ SMB Blogging Ideas to Kick Start 2010 by Small Business Trends

Running low on inspiration? Muse taking a break? Lisa Barone offers 100 topic ideas to kick start your blog posts, divided into various categories such as Go Social, Highlight Your Customers and Get Personal.

How to Never Run Out of Blog Topics to Write About by Internet Marketing for Business Owners

If, somehow, you’re still scratching your head for blog topics after reading Lisa’s list, Jarom Adair supplies about 30 more ideas here, from tips and survey follow-ups to customer testimonials and scaring your readers with horror stories of business decisions gone wrong.

Ten Must Read Tips to Start a Small Business Blog by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Lee Odden writes that “there’s a litany of things you COULD do with setting up a blog. Even if…filtered it down to what one SHOULD do, the list (is) amazingly long.” So, in the interest of helping out new business owners (or business owners new to marketing on the web) without overwhelming them, Lee “decided to create…a short list of what a small businesses CAN do when starting a blog.”

Marketing Your Blog: 10 Essential Tips You Should Know by Hongkiat

To make your blog stand out from the crowd, Edward Khoo provides 10 tips including using controversy (carefully), simplifying the subscription process and this gem: “Create different profiles for each social media site. On LinkedIn, you want to be all about business. On Facebook, show a little of your personality – the carbon-based life form behind the blog. On Twitter, shine the spotlight on your blog. Each profile should be designed to show a different facet of you and your expertise.”

Blogging Tips: How to Promote and Publicize by Spin Sucks

Gini Dietrich lays out a six-step, eight-minute process to use social media to promote blog posts. Some of the tools take a bit of time to set up initially, but it’s a quick process from there on out.

SEO’s Magic Bullet by PR 20/20

Based on the top ranking factors for SEO, Keith Moehring explains how one key tool, still overlooked by many companies, may be the silver bullet for SEO success.

7 Days to Turn Your Blog Into a Social Media Hub – Day 1: Defining Your Hub by Danny Brown

Danny Brown explains why your blog belongs at the center of your social media efforts (just as it’s positioned in the web presence optimization model) and how to use it to keep all of your social media marketing efforts aligned.

Why a Blog Improves Social Media for B2B by My Venture Pad

Still not convinced that a blog should be the center of your social media strategy? The brilliant Ardath Albee lays out a dozen more reasons to make it so, such as “The Internet moves fast. Publishing a new article once a month on your website isn’t enough to keep up a consistent dialogue.” “Blogs are a kind of ‘natural nurturing’ – the more often you touch your prospects, the more your ideas are top of mind for them. (hence, your company)” and “Blogs allow comments longer than 140 characters.”

Submit Your Blog to 50+ Free Blog Directories by Kittu K

Links are vital to SEO success, and one way to accelerate link-building for a blog is to use this helpful list of 50+ free blog diretories sorted by PageRank.

5 Sure Fire Tactics to Promote a Business Blog by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Michelle Bowles provides some high-impact tactics to build traffic for a business blog, somewhat similar to the recommendations for successfully launching a new blog presented here a while back.

12 ways to Increase comments on your Blog by Technshare

A dozen great tips for generating more comments on your blog, from do-following comment links and thanking commentors to asking for feedback and moderating comments promptly.

Search Optimization Tips for Bloggers by SEO Wizardry

Pete Hollier offers tips for search optimizing a blog, some of which also apply to standard websites (keyword research) and some unique to blogs (using SEO plugins).

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