Blogging is a practice that has been around for at least 5 years. It began with average, but opinionated people with something to say, who wanted to share their opinions with anyone who would read them. While it has been popular with the general public, it hasn’t caught on with many businesses until recently. Blogging can be a powerful tool for marketing and exposure for any business if done properly. This article will cover the first steps businesses will need to take to set themselves up for successful blogging.
1. Select the Appropriate Hosting for Your Business Blog
You first step is to select an appropriate host for your blog. There are a couple of solutions that you can use to host your blog. You can:
1) Host it on your own server
2) Host it at a blogging hosting server, such as livejournal.com or blogger.com
If you host your own blog on your own web site, you will need to find blogging software that you can use on your web site. You will need to determine what your web site server capabilities are, and then determine what blogging software will work within your server environment. You will then need to install the software and configure it in order to begin blogging.
If you host your blog on a blog hosting system, then everything is already set up for you. All you have to do is sign up for, and configure your account. Some of these blogging services are free and some of them will have a monthly hosting charge.
2. Configure Your Business Blog
Once you have determined how you want to host your blog, and have installed it, or signed up for your blog service, you will need to configure your blog.
Configuring your blog includes, what template you want to use with your blog. Most blogs whether they are on a blog hosting service, or software that you have installed, will come with several templates. If you are new to the Internet, and don’t have a lot of programming experience, it is probably best to stick with one of the templates that has come with the software or service. It is however, better if you have some programming background, or have the funds to hire someone, then you can get your blog to look like your business web site. Even if your blog is hosted elsewhere, you can do amazing things with the templates to get your blog to look very similar to your business web site. Most services will allow you to modify the templates that come with their subscription.
Other things that will need to be configured are settings such as the name and description of your business blog, the email address you want messages from your blog to be sent to, how you want your blog archived (posts saved for future access), what ping services you want to notify when you update your blog, and other settings too numerous to mention in this article.
3. Determine the Content of Your Business Blog
This next step can be done before you actually install your blog, but you will need to determine the topic of your business blog, and how you want to convey your information to your target market. The content and topics of your blog should relate to your industry. You can focus as narrow or as wide as you choose think is appropriate. In general, it is a good idea to cover many areas within your industry and then separate the different areas of your industry into different categories within your blog.
For example, if you are blogging about your real estate business, the big topics would be commercial real estate, residential real estate, and investing in real estate, etc.
However, it would be better to specifically focus in your main category/industry. For example, if your main industry is residential real estate, you could have topics such as renting out your home, buying a home, and selling a home. Each of these would be a separate category within your blog.
Lastly but most importantly, you should choose topics and categories that will be of interest to your visitors. You will need to research the keywords that your customers would use to find you. There are many keyword research tools available on the web today that will tell you what exact phrases, and how often, your target market is using to find you. These keywords will determine the topics of your blog entries. You should also use some of the phrases you have found in your research in your business blog posts.
4. Begin Blogging for Your Business
The last step is to start blogging. You can choose from a number of different formats to add entries to your blog, as blog entries can take on any format. Some formats that you may want to consider include:
1) Writing articles and posting them to your blog.
2) Finding related news items in your industry and posting them with comments as to what you think of the news item.
3) Answering frequently asked questions you get from your clients.
4) Writing reviews of products/services in your industry
5) Writing “how to” posts
6) Using a free-style posting of anything you feel would be of interest to your potential clients and/or customers.
Your style of posting should match what your target market would find interesting.
Now that you know the basic steps of what needs to be done to begin business blogging, you can choose how you want to host your blog, what keywords your target market uses to find you, and what format would make the most sense to begin blogging. There are many web sites that have more articles and in-depth information about business blogging. You can use these resource sites to help guide you through the process from making your first post, to getting your first customer from your business blog.