Blogging is clearly a powerful tool for every business website. But just as with anything, there is a right way to do so to ensure the best results.
Blogging is Dead!
Some say blogging is dead. That could be a matter of semantics. Maybe you do not need a formal “blog” on your site, but you’d better darned well be adding content, on a regular basis, and doing it properly! That is never going to be “dead” for credible business sites. Blogs are still a great way to organize and categorize all your content above and beyond the pages that rarely change (About, Contact, FAQ, Services, etc.).
In my opinion, having a blog is still a great way to publish content to your target market. That’s why I thought I would share with you some of the overlooked issues I notice in my daily travels. Both in running a Blog and/or networking by commenting on other Blogs:
- Commenting on other Blogs and using keyword phrases in the name field instead of your actual properly typed name. Tacky. Blogging is about the conversation between human beings — not keyword phrases. Use keywords and your motives will be clear. You risk your comment not being be approved or even possibly removed. Using keyword phrases reflects your true intent — trying to game search engines. This approach reflects two things; your comments are not sincere and you do not understand search engines.
- Relying solely on scraping content from other sites thinking this provides a unique and information rich blog. Regurgitating others content is not what folks are looking for — they are looking for your point of view, your opinion, your experience and your perspectives. Instead of using others content (which you shouldn’t do without permission), you should concentrate on giving your point of view or opinion about the other person, site, info or article. Then link to their site/blog as a reference or for more details. Links off your blog are not a bad thing. The Web is about linking and outgoing links that provide relative information or value. Many folks have forgotten this fact.
- Not responding to or deleting negative comments or those comments you do not agree with. You should respond to participants on your blog promptly and professionally. If comments are posted that disagree with something you typed about or are critical in some way, use that as an opportunity to clarify your position and professionalism. A teachable moment! Explain in detail why you disagree or what you’ve done about the negative experience or issue — or if opinion, that you agree to disagree. If negative comments are valid this is a perfect opportunity to redeem yourself and resolve the situation. That’s what visitors like to see!
- Commenting on blogs with generic comments like “Great Post!” or “I Agree!” without explaining why you think it is great or why you agree. You are not contributing any value to the conversation. Always take the time to explain why you feel the way you do so you don’t look like you are simply trying to get a link for search engine purposes. (That doesn’t work anyways — most comment links are “nofollow“.) The majority of site owners want to hear from you. More importantly they want the conversation.
- Posts that are rambling with long paragraphs that are not formatted for ease of reading. I know, easier said than done. But try and make an effort to keep your posts succinct and use bulleted lists and headlines. Short sentences and no more than a few sentences per paragraph. For topics that are more comprehensive, think about breaking them up into several more focused posts as a series or e-course.
- Not having the ability to share/bookmark/email posts and pages to others and the popular social networks. If you don’t give folks the ability to pass on a post that they can relate to, you are missing out on additional exposure.
- Not having categories that are specific or intuitive. Not everyone who visits your blog is going to care about every single post. Nor will they know your industry buzzwords if they are new to your subject matter. Create categories that make sense to site visitors, while allowing you to organize your posts intuitively. Avoid industry jargon or buzzwords your readers may not understand or be able to relate to.
- Not taking advantage of all the neat plugins and widgets that are available to help manage, market and increase the functionality of your blog. I test and play with new plugins every day. Some I keep, others I don’t. Some are very cool and I wonder why I didn’t know about them already. Others are nothing more than disappointing. The key is to be aware of what is out there that you can use to better the experience for both you and your visitors. Make sure any plugins that you install are compatible with the most recent version of WordPress.
- Not posting often enough to keep visitor interest and to encourage a following. Yes, quality posts take time but if you are an expert in your field, you should have no problem typing at least once a week about trends, sites, articles or info you want to share. Infrequent posting does not lend to growing an active subscriber list or following. (If that’s your goal).
- Not having at least one cool graphic that is representative of the content’s theme or meaning. (I get my images here. <= AffLink). This is a visual medium after all!
Blog Right or Not at All
Blogging halfheartedly or by not paying attention to the issues above will not produce the benefits that drive many business owners to begin participating in the Blogosphere in the first place. Worse yet a poor effort could cause your brand harm.
At your service,