Seems like everyone and their ‘teacup’ pigs have blogs these days. If you’re not familiar with the term (likely noone reading this post!), a blog is basically a running (web) log of journal like entries – like the one you’re reading now. From personal blogs chronicling daily life to corporate blogs aimed at informing customers and building a brand, online journals or “blogs” can be an integral part of a business. But before you jump on the band wagon and start your own blog for the sake of being able to check “create a blog” off the ol’ list of to-dos, consider the following:
What are your goals and what are your reasons for starting a blog?
There are millions of websites and blogs on the world wide web as it is and we humans only have a limited amount of time to browse through content. Translation: you better have something compelling to say if you want people to read your content. Of course, your goal not necessarily be to create a following. Perhaps your big goal is to effect natural search rankings by increasing your amount of content. Before you create your blog, deliberate on what types of goals you would like to accomplish. If your goals include some of the following, then perhaps blogging should indeed be in your future.
- Obtain/improve natural search precense
- Open up the doors to two way communication with your customers/interested parties
- Build a community for like-minded people
- Become a recognized thought leader in your community
- Increase return visits to your site
Do you have time to maintain and post fresh content?
Successful blogs tend to be updated on a very frequent basis. One of the interesting things about a blog is the fact that many blogging platforms display the date and time that you publish your content meaning that it is easy to tell how fresh content is. I don’t know about you, but I generally have atoward fresh content (the search engines do too!). Based on my experience, I would recommend shooting for at least a weekly update but depending on your goals from above, you may want to shoot for more like once a day if you can swing it.
- Do you have enough topics for creating at least one new post per week
- Do you have enough time for creating at least one new post per week
- How do you plan on monitoring comments and discussions
- Do you have time for responding to comments
- Will you write everything or do you have writers
- How good are your writing skills
- Can you keep to a consistent schedule
Who is your audience?
And are they online. One of your goals may be to form a community centered around your business and your offerings or expertise but if your audience does not want to interact, simply having a blog will not be enough. Knowing your audience and targeting your content to them will help, however.
- Who are you targeting with your blog content
- How will you perk the interest of your target audience
How will you promote your content?
Just because you built it doesn’t actually mean they’ll come. You’ll need to promote your content in ways that attract the right kind of audience. This exposure can of course come from a lot of places. Below are some places to start:
- Display a link or snippets of your content in a prominent region of your main site (assuming you don’t have just a blog)
- Participate in related blogs, forums, and Q&A sites
- Participate in blog promotion and blog community sites
- Create a link to your blog in outgoing email
- Participate in social networking sites
Are you willing to do a whole bunch of work before you see a return?
It may be a little lonely on the blog in the beginning but nobody said this was going to be a quick and simple process. Depending on how well you promote your content and how big your potential audience is and how much traffic makes it over to your site, it may take a considerable amount of time before you start accomplishing any of your goals. Know that traffic won’t just appear out of nowhere and that you have to earn it. Slow and steady wins the race.
Writing and interacting in a blog can be a rewarding endeavor. But it can also be a huge time investment that doesn’t result in satisfaction. Help yourself out by setting solid goals, deciding on how you’re going to go about accomplishing those goals, be willing to pour in the time and effort, and you just may create success. If you’re not quite ready to move forward with a blog at this moment, there are plenty of other places to spend your time and effort to improve your site.
Matt is a hobbyist photographer, gadget nerd, a problem solver and a lifelong Austinite.
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