If you don’t have a blog, build one. It’s easy using blog modules that plug in to your existing site. Then start posting content. Then get listed in blog directories. Then keep it fresh. Oh man, that’s a lot of work – especially when this is your second job!
Blogs build traffic and keep it coming back. However, too many site owners either don’t maintain a blog or don’t promote it for maximum benefit. So, here are some tips from your web host provider on maximizing the usefulness of a blog.
Post Your Thoughts on Topic-Related Sites
One way to get noticed, especially by those in the know, is to make posts on other topic-related blogs. You can provide your URL so that readers who find your astute insight are able to follow the trail back to your blog archives.
And speaking of blog archives, keep a good one. Sort each blog post by date and general subject, i.e. conversion optimization. Unless you’re a great writer with plenty of time on your hands, good content is expensive to develop. Think of blog content as a commodity. An asset for you and others interested in what you have to say.
And speaking of what you have to say, stay on topic. If your readership (whether 10 or 10,000) turns to you for certain information, meet expectations. If you occasionally go off on a tangent expressing your political views, for example, you’ll lose readership.
Keep It Unique
A change in the Google algorithm will be the topic of the week, and virtually every webmaster blog and forum will be crammed full of erudite opinions on the affect this change will have. In other words, they’ll be so much written on a major topic, you can afford to cover something else. And get noticed.
Make it Attractive
It’s human nature to become bored easily on the dynamic web where things change faster than you can say “keyword stuffing.” So, paragraph after paragraph of text is going to bore even the most dedicated reader or subscriber.
Add some relevant images. Charts and graphs. Eye candy to maintain the reader’s interest. Skip the endless pages of “just” text.
Perform Regular Blog Analysis
Good tracking software will tell you which posts are popular with visitors and which get passed over for whatever reason. Use these metrics to more specifically target the wants and needs of your readers.
The things you want to measure regularly are: number of page views, time spent on site and the source (link) and destination of the reader after leaving your site (do they go to the site or bounce off to another site?). Regular metrics analysis will provide concrete data to demonstrate whether your site blog is performing to expectations.
Write Like You Talk
This is the best advice any blogger or writer will ever receive. Something happens to people when they sit down at the keyboard to write the next blog entry. They become walking thesauruses. They use big, impressive words and long, run-on sentences. Don’t. That kind of writing is great for a master’s dissertation but it does nothing for the readers (except bore them).
Blogs as Linkbait
Some posts are better than others. Market your best posts only. Posts can be tagged and show up on human-based search engines like digg.com and del.icio.us – sites where readers determine how good you are. Don’t oversell every blog entry you write. You’ll start to pickup negative user feedback when readers have seen your post everywhere, or it’s a so-so post.
Blogs make great linkbait (a reason for another site to link to your site) but your efforts to “sell” your content to expand your presence may blow up and backfire with readers and search engines alike.
Use High Traffic Days to Build Your Reputation
When one of your posts is front page news on digg.com or reddit.com, you’re going to see a lot more blog traffic that day sniffing out this high quality linkbait. Use these days, when your traffic jumps 100%, to build on a good thing. Immediately follow up with top-of-the-line posts – as good as the one tagged by enough readers to make it to the top of user-driven search engines. This will establish you as an authority, and your site one worth visiting for the latest.
Don’t Hide Your Blog
Your blog is designed to create stickiness and/or to provide something to subscribers. So, make it easy for users to access your blog. All tags, of course, link to the blog. But, do you have a big, well-labeled blog link on your home page? Is there a BLOG button on the navigation bar? If not, there should be. Make it easy to find your blog and more visitors will find (and read and return because of) it.
Don’t Host Your Blog on a Separate Domain
Some site owners do this to keep things simple. Business side. Blog side. But they’re missing a critical benefit of maintaining a blog (in a subfolder) as a sub-section of their primary domain. Blogs attract all kinds of good stuff. Links, improved PR, “buzz,” new readers and customers (showing up as more traffic in SERPs) offers to contribute to other blogs and so on. Maintain your blog as a section of your main domain to get all of the benefits that come with maintaining a blog.
Start the Conversation
Blogs should generate discussion among readers. They should provoke readers to add a comment – good, bad or indifferent. But what if your posts don’t elicit any response? What should you do?
Shill. Fake it. Salt your posts with a comment or two. Many readers are shy about leaving the first post but will happily jump in once they see what other posters have said. There’s nothing deceitful in starting a conversation – one that grows your site’s popularity.
An up-to-date blog – one that contains useful information for a particular market segment – is a great way to build site traffic and to maintain customer or subscriber interest. But, there are certainly things that every blogger can do to increase readership and squeeze out a few other benefits from blog building. After all, it’s time consuming. You might as well get all you can out of the time you invest.