Back in 2010, I dipped my toe into the world of blogging. Actually, I pretty much waded into it—without a life preserver. A lost job prospect made me realize that not being adept at blogging was hampering my career. So, like millions of other Americans, I entered the vast blogosphere.
Right off the bat, one of the challenges I faced was this: What am I going to blog about? As a longtime business journalist in Austin, TX, I came up with the answer pretty easily: Write about what you know and what you’re passionate about. In my case, that was the business scene in the Austin area. A blog was born.
How did blogging benefit me? It helped me learn even more about the Austin business community, it taught me a valuable skill, it gave me an edge in obtaining my next job and it even landed me a TV news interview. Most importantly, the blog informed hundreds and hundreds of readers about job opportunities and other goings-on at Austin businesses.
At first, blogging seemed like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro—a nearly impossible undertaking. But it proved to be rewarding and stimulating (and doable).
“I think people have this mistaken idea that successful blogging is some mystical voodoo or secret sauce. It’s not,” entrepreneurism blogger Daniel DiPiazza said.
Just what is the “secret sauce” when it comes to launching and maintaining a successful blog for your business, whether you’re in self-storage or another industry? Blogging experts give these 13 tips.
1. Work With WordPress.
WordPress is the most popular, most versatile blogging platform available. Plus, it’s pretty easy to use, and it can be added fairly easily to your existing website. Some experts recommend against using Blogspot or Blogger, as they’re not as user-friendly as WordPress is.
“When adding a blog to your company’s static website, it’s imperative that the site is professional, clean and easy to read,” media strategist, journalist and blogger Lynn Daue said.
2. Include an “About Me” or “About Us” Page.
“Talk a bit about your company’s history and the services you offer. You’d be surprised how many people will stumble on your blog through this page,” said Jackie Chu, a marketing professional and beauty blogger.
3. Brainstorm Ideas.
Lisa Parkin, president of social media consulting firm Social Climber, said you should set aside time to come up with, say, 15 or 20 ideas for blog posts. Write several posts in advance, and then plan on trickling those out over time so that you’re not overwhelmed at the outset.
“Blog posts should be a mix of keyword-driven posts aimed at increasing visibility in search engines and fun posts that drive engagement,” Parkin said.
Entrepreneur, investor and blogger Mike Fishbein said his inspiration for blog posts includes fascinating conversations he’s had, interesting articles he’s read and current events he’s following.
“Many people want to blog,” Fishbein said, “but don’t because they can’t think of what to write about.”
4. Concentrate on High-Quality Content.
“Strive to provide readers with tips and advice that can’t be found anywhere else on the Internet,” said Andrew Schrage, co-owner of personal finance blog MoneyCrashers.com. “Draw upon your past business experiences to provide readers with unique and insightful commentary, and focus on quality over quantity, as one well-crafted article posted every few days tops several mundane posts.”
5. Use Photos.
Rely on inexpensive, royalty-free stock photos to dress up your blog.
“High-quality photos add interest and an element of professionalism,” said Karen Catlin, a career strategist for women in the tech industry.
Catlin recommended BigStockPhoto, but several online stores sell images at reasonable prices.
6. Read Other Blogs.
“Spend time every day on other blogs that speak to the same audience. Follow them and comment on them,” style blogger, freelance writer and journalism teacher Pam Lutrell suggested.
7. Post Several Times a Week.
If you don’t publish regularly, you risk suffering from “Dead Blog Syndrome,” speaker, author and marketing consultant Thom Singer said. Google and other search engines highly value fresh content.
“When someone finds your blog and your most recent post is weeks, months or years old, they do not assume you are committed to your projects,” Singer said.
8. Market Your Blog.
“Nobody is going to find out about your blog, even if it has awesome content, if you don’t advertise it,” financial blogger Anton Ivanov said.
Among Ivanov’s marketing suggestions: Spread the word through social media, comment on other blogs, participate in online forums, write guest posts for other blogs and join blogging networks.
9. Make a List.
List-oriented blog posts—like “10 Tips for Storing Clothes”—always are always a hit, according to Schrage.
“Using specific examples to back up your points always helps, and citing statistics lends credibility to these articles,” Schrage said.
10. Stray Away From “All Business, All the Time.”
Singer said several of his off-the-topic-of-business posts—dealing with matters like family and hobbies—have been among his most popular ones.
“Keep a mostly positive tone, as people do not come to a blog to hear you whine about things,” Singer said.
11. Avoid Politics.
If your business isn’t related to politics, then don’t go down that path, Singer advised.
“The problem with politics—or any subject that is polarizing—is that it can turn people off,” Singer said. “There is no need to share every belief you hold if it will cost you clients.”
12. Share the Workload.
Particularly if you hate to write, blogging can be a real chore and a real bore. If that’s the case, enlist others in your business to pick up the slack, Singer said, “but make it a priority assignment, or others will just not do it.”
13. Don’t Chase the Money.
“Everybody wants to monetize their blog, but that shouldn’t be your top priority. Sticking banner ads all over your website will turn your readers off,” Ivanov said. “Establish yourself as an expert, build a following, and then begin worrying about advertising.”