They’re very simple to set up, update and maintain, require no web design skills and they can be a hugely effective tool for generating interest in your website, and therefore free traffic. As a copywriter, I’ve been commissioned to write a variety of blog posts for businesses and online entrepreneurs, with many people prepared to pay a handsome sum for a piece of well-written, relevant content.
This is simply because people now understand just how powerful blogs can be as business tools. To begin with, they are ABSOLUTELY LOVED by the search engines because of the way they’re structured, the amount of relevant content they contain and the fact that they’re constantly updated, which has enabled people to push their blog (and therefore their business) to the top of the search engines for their chosen keywords.
Furthermore, blogs are seen as more credible than adverts, websites and sales letters because their focus isn’t normally related to marketing products or services.
Instead, people read and contribute to blogs because they’re looking for entertainment, information or a discussion of some kind. Therefore, make sure you keep this in mind, and don’t use your blog PURELY as a means of pushing your website.
When starting out, you’ll need to choose a blog platform and there are two to choose from here; stand alone and hosted. Stand alone platforms like www.WordPress.org allow you complete control over your blog, as well as total ownership and flexibility.
The other platform is the hosted blog, like www.Blogger.com. These platforms are free, take only a few minutes to set up and they’ll also provide you with a sub-domain for your blog, such as www.JohnDoe.Blogger.com.
Although these are hosted (and the content of your blogs is therefore under scrutiny from the provider) I’d recommend them if you’re interested in going down this route.
You can also host a WordPress blog yourself, which is what I’ve done with my blog. It allows me to design the look and feel of the site and also have more control over the content.
If you’re interested in setting up a blog to promote your business, here are a few handy tips:
1. Be an authority on your subject
As the person who set up the blog on health, online income or whatever your market is, you need to come across as an expert on the subject. Read up, do your research and know your stuff. However, remember not to simply plug your website as readers won’t like the advertorial nature. Instead, create good quality content so that people have a reason to come back.
2. Write 3-5 “major” articles
Major articles are intended to attract readers with relevant and thought-provoking content. These articles should act as pillars, around which the rest of your blog is formed.
3. Post 3-5 times per week minimum
You need to demonstrate to your visitors that your blog is updated regularly so they’ll be more inclined to come back. The search engines also like websites that are constantly being added to and updated with relevant content. (This can be comments as well as fresh articles and promotions!)
4. Choose a good domain name
If you’re going to use blogs to generate traffic for your website, choose an appropriate name. Make it easy for people to spread the word and pass on your URL. When I set up my blog, I wanted to use the words “freelance” and “copywriter” in the URL so that people would know exactly what it was about.
5. Comment on other blogs
Find other blogs in a similar niche to yours and comment on them. Most blogs allow you to have your name/title linked to your blog when you leave a comment. This is how people will find yours.
6. Ask readers to link to your blog
Another good way to increase traffic to your blog (and therefore your website) is to have links on other blogs that link back to yours. In order to do this you’ll need to strike up a positive relationship with other “bloggers”. This can take a little bit of time, but it’s worth it.
7. Use videos, audio or photos
If you’ve made any videos you could upload them and use them on your blog. Visual forms of media are more popular now than ever before, and they also serve to break up long streams of text and make your blog more appealing.
Follow the advice above and your blog will be pulling in the readers in no time at all!
Nick Cobb – Freelance Copywriter