Creating and maintaining a blog is one of the best ways to market yourself or your company on the internet. Blogging provides a wealth of opportunities for both yourself and your readers.
Few internet marketing strategies afford you with the flexibility of your own blog. In this article, we’ll explore exactly what a blog is, how to create one, promote one, and manage a blog so that it drives traffic to your website and helps promote your business and make you money online.
What is a blog?
In reality, a blog or “web log” is nothing more than a very simple website dedicated to a topic or closely related set of topics. A blog can stand alone as an independent URL, such as yourblog.com, or it can be hosted by a blogging website such as Google’s blogger.com or you might embed a blog directly on your own website.
A blog generally consists of a few basic parts. The main blog title, which describes what the blog is about and tells viewers the general topics they’ll find there. The blog will also have multiple posts or small articles that are dated and feature the bi-line of the author. Finally, the blog will feature a comments section where readers can post comments on a blog entry and interact with each other as well. Additionally, most blogs will have social sharing mechanisms where readers can share the information on their Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking accounts.
A blog can be more complex than this, but in essence, what has been described above is the core of every online web log you will come across. Blogs should be informative and interesting, as well as optimized for search engine traffic.
How do you create a blog?
As stated above, a blog is a website, or a part of a website. If you are a programmer, you can easily write your own blogging scripts. However, there are generally two types of blog creation and maintenance options for the average internet user.
First, you can use blogging or website creation software to make your blogs. These systems include WordPress, Joomla, and other CMS type systems. These allow a great deal of flexibility and give you the ability to create entire websites around your blogs.
The second most common method is to use a pre-existing blogging application like the afore-mentioned Blogger.com. This website will allow you to build and maintain your own blog with only a very few clicks of your mouse. They provide themes, editing tools and social interaction that is very simple and very effective.
As mentioned earlier, a blog should be focused on a specific topic or category of topics to be effective. For example, our blog is about internet marketing, business development and website design. Very inter-related topics. It allows users and other entrepreneurs to share their thoughts, ask questions and gives them an ongoing resource.
A blog should not ramble and cover multiple unrelated topics. Stay focused on what your blog is about. If you want to blog about several unrelated topics, create more than one blog. You can even network and cross-link them. Just try to keep each blog focused on its intended purpose. You’ll find it is a lot more effective at capturing and keeping interest.
How do I manage my blog?
Probably the most important thing about a blog is the way you manage it. Blogging is unlike all other forms of marketing and content creation due to several factors. First, blog readers come to expect and will respond to consistent postings. You can’t treat your blog as a once in a while activity.
Second, because of the interactive nature of a blog, you will have to monitor and interact with those of your readers who comment. You may even get requests for guest bloggers. You must be attentive and responsive.
Write at least once per week, if not more. If and when your blog begins to grow in popularity, you’ll find that you will have to be on top of it on a daily basis. There will be a constant desire for new information as well as many comments to be addressed. Of course, if you get to a point where your blog requires more than an hour a day of your attention, you will be glad to do the work.
How to promote your blog and use it to promote you
Many people wonder how you promote a blog. How do you get readers? Keep in mind what we’ve already mentioned. A blog is nothing more than a small website. It’s going to be indexed by Google, yahoo and Bing like any other website. Further, it will get indexed by some special blogging search engines as well. So the first thing to think about with your blog and all the posts you write is SEO.
Second, just like a website, begin to build back links to your blogs. You can do this by actively pursuing link exchanges as well as writing good quality content that others will want to syndicate to their own blogs and websites.
Another great way to promote your blog is to comment on others’ blogs. It’s like that old saying about writing letters, “You’ve got to write them to get them.” Become a contributor to other people’s blogs and they in turn may contribute to yours, thus allowing you all to exchange active links.
Finally, use social networks. Let people know about your new blogs and about posts they may find interesting. Ask them to comment or even write a guest post about a topic on which they’re knowledgeable. Just keep in mind, you want to provide this network with real valuable information, not just a constant stream of self-promotion.
If you do all this, and some other internet marketing strategies too numerous for this article, you will not only see your blog visits and comments increase, but this will almost automatically do the same for a website you want to promote via this blog. You can even embed the latest one or two blog posts on your site to keep its content growing and send visitors back and forth. Provide your blog readers with quality valuable content and they’ll not only keep coming back, link to you and comment, they’ll tell others about you. So go out there and create a place for sharing your thoughts and information. And if you want, let us know about it!