The first time I heard of the term blog (short for weblog) was when a website designer recommended it about nine years ago as a way to keep the website for my coaching company fresh. She explained that when website content changes, search engine spiders find the site more easily. Even though most new clients find my business through personal contact and not through a web search, I was game to try it to see whether it would improve my visibility in a Google search. I finally wrote and posted my first blog entry in September of 2005, and now blogging has become an integral part of my marketing mix.
Beyond boosting your search engine ranking, you can achieve a number of additional goals by writing a blog:
The simplest method to get a blog going is to use one of the online platforms. Blogger (a Google product) and WordPress are two of the most commonly used blog platforms. You establish an account, name your blog and select a template for the appearance of your blog. Your blog will have its own URL (for example, thefriendlyplumber.blogspot.com) that you can link to your main company website so that every blog update you do will automatically show up there.
Your selection of content will be one of the chief determiners of the frequency at which you post to your blog. If you are a news blogger, for instance, a once daily post will leave you in the dust behind bloggers who are online the moment after a story develops. Most likely, however, your posts will either be informational and educational or commentary and opinion. If there is not time sensitivity in your content you will determine your own posting frequency: daily, biweekly, weekly, etc. The goal is enough frequency to attract regular readers and search engines, but only enough that it is sustainable for you to do.
Posts don’t have to be lengthy to be effective. Many new bloggers write articles that could be split into a series of related posts. In addition, consider your audience when determining the length of your posts. If your audience isn’t oriented toward reading, a photo-oriented post or one with a brief concept could be your best approach.
When you know the audience to whom you are targeting your posts, it is much easier to select content and determine the tone of your writing. For instance, if you are addressing teenaged skateboarders in your blog, you’ll choose different language than if you are blogging to middle-aged businesspersons. What does your target audience want to know, and what is it that you’d like to know from them?
If you’re going to the effort of producing blog posts you want it to be read by more than you, your spouse and your mother. So how do you spread the reach of your blog?