Starting your own blog can have many benefits for you as an individual, or for your company. Blogging is a fantastic way to reach out and find people who are interested in what you are selling. The other great bonus is that the entry point to start blogging is well supported and low in cost. Although it can seem intimidating in the beginning, once you are up and running you will quickly discover the marketing benefits that blogging can bring.
In his article I'm going to outline the details you will need to get up and running quickly. Of course you will need additional information, but a few searches on Google will uncover an almost unlimited number of technical tutorials for you on the "nuts and bolts" of getting your blog online.
When You Start Blogging Make Sure You Have Complete Control
The most important decision you will have to make in the beginning is where and how to host your new blog. This can have implications further down the road that you need to be aware of at the start of your blogging journey.
Forget the fact that it's called a blog. What you are setting up is a website. Although you will be using specialist blogging software that has features to make producing blog format articles easy, there is no real difference between a blog and any other content management system.
Blogs are hosted in one of two ways. They are either hosted or self-hosted.
Hosted platforms include places like blogger.com and Wordpress.com. You create an account and are then given access to an admin area where you can choose a theme, create an article and publish.
Self-hosted blogs are slightly more complex. You will need to get some web space and have a domain name. You will then need to install the blog software to run your blog.
Although hosted blogs take minutes to set up, it's this ease-of-use initially which proves to be a long-term trap for many people.
My advice is if you are serious about setting up a long-term blog is to use the self-hosted option. The reason for this is around control. No matter what happens, you have complete control over how your blog looks, what additional software (called plugins) that you install, plus you always know you have full control over your data.
Installing And Using Self-Hosted Blogging Software
So now we have taken the decision to have full control over the future of our blog, let's talk about how you actually get a self hosted blog up and running.
In the beginning you will be in one of two circumstances:
- You already have a website and wish to place a blog on it.
- You wish to create a free-standing blog with its own domain name.
Whichever of the two situations you face, the actual installation process is the same.
The easiest way to install blogging software is to log into the hosting panel of your web space account. Whether you have your own website or have purchased web space from a provider specifically to host your blog, the installation process is usually very simple. Most hosting providers offer a "one click install" option on software such as Wordpress. You fill in a form and click a button and your blog software is installed in seconds.
Just to clarify any confusion you may have over Wordpress, the software comes in two flavours. Hosted Wordpress is available through Wordpress.com. You create an account and start blogging.
The software you install through a hosting provider is the same as the software you can download directly from WordPress.org. You don't get free hosting like you do on WordPress.com, you just get the software to install on a web server.
Creating A Blogging Strategy
Once your blog software is installed and your new blog looks exactly how you want it to, through installing what is known as a "theme", it's time to start writing.
Both in terms of your overall strategy, and for each article, known as a blog post, you need to consider the following in order to create a unique angle:
- What is the purpose of what you will offer your readers?
- What reaction do you expect?
- Do you hope the reader will take a specific action?
It's important you stick to a single topic throughout your blog if possible. This will allow you to build up a strong topicality for the search engines, and will make it easier for people to define your area of speciality and to subscribe to read all of your posts.
If you are not sure how to structure your blog posts then I recommend you take time to read and learn by visiting Copyblogger.com, which is the largest and best internet writing resource.
Once you have created a fully rounded strategy for your blog, you need to make sure you blog frequently and at regular times where possible.
By blogging at regular times, for example every Thursday, you will help regular readers to learn to look out for your posts by visiting, or looking for emails from you if they have subscribed to a mailing list or notification service.
When it comes to blogging frequently, you should be looking to create a high quality article on at least a weekly basis. However, it's really important to state that it's better to take your time and put out something really useful once a month than it is to churn out rubbish every week.
Put Your Blog At The Heart Of Your Marketing Strategy
Your new blog should be right at the heart of your overall marketing strategy. Blogs are great for assisting in all areas of marketing your business online.
By blogging informally, with your own voice and personality, you will build trust with your audience and encourage relationships with them. By producing high quality content you will encourage them to click through to links you provide, download additional resources or subscribe to your mailing list.
When it comes to social media, sharing the great information you provided on your blog, through links on Twitter and Facebook, is a great way of providing value to interested people. This will also increase your chances of people retweeting and liking what you share, building a larger marketing reach for free.
And finally, high-quality blogging is great for building natural links. If you create and share high quality content then once your audience becomes loyal you will see an increase in links to your content, which is great for search engine rankings.
Ready to get started? Buy the book 'Easy Business Blogging from Scratch' from Amazon.