5 Damaging Myths About Increasing Traffic To Your Blog Or Website


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Most website owners or bloggers believe that traffic is the Holy Grail, and that they can’t possibly get enough of it.

It’s true that too little traffic will make your blog redundant and that a blog that doesn’t get any visitors doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things.

However, the opposite is also true. That too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Here are five myths about traffic that I have learned through years of generating millions of hits to my many blogs and websites.

Myth #1: More is better

Here is the main reason this is not true. Too much traffic can crash your website. And what would you have to show for it? Just an empty boast that your site got so much traffic that it crashed. So much for that myth.

Myth #2: It doesn’t cost me anything

Not true for one important reason. Bandwidth costs money. Although most web hosts claim to offer ‘unlimited bandwidth’, when push comes to shove, most of them will suspend your website or blog, leaving you with few options other than moving your site to a new host altogether.

Myth #3: Traffic equals results

Is your traffic working like it should? What do you want your visitors to do? Unless you’re getting paid for ad impressions on your website or blog, you’re not going to be making any money out of the glut of traffic on your site.

If, on the other hand your website has a purpose, in terms of conversions to leads or sales, you need to ask yourself – is your traffic converting? If not, why?

Your site might need a redesign, or targeted landing pages, or you might need to redo your copy or offers to make sure that your traffic is converting the way it should. Either way, more traffic is not the answer.

Myth #4: All traffic is the same

Again, this is not true because the source of your traffic affects your conversion rate. Traffic from some sources converts better than others. For instance, you might get a lot of visitors from StumbleUpon, but they might leave your site very quickly, giving you a high bounce rate (which can adversely affect your Google ranking).

On the other hand, traffic from LinkedIn might be more suitable for your website, if yours is a B2B company and you offer the kind of information and solutions your visitors are looking for.

Myth #5: Organic traffic is the best

There are many reasons why certain pages from your website might rank well in the search engine results pages. But if the pages that are showing up in the top ten are not your best converting pages, the traffic is wasted on them.

It takes a lot of time for an SEO campaign to create the kind of results you need. In the meantime, using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to send targeted traffic to certain landing pages might be your best option to get the right kinds of conversions for your business.

The lessons one can take away from this is that website or blog traffic is not the Holy Grail to help your business meet its sales targets online.

What you need to focus on is sending the right message to the right buyer persona in the right context, and this can usually be accomplished by sending just the right amount of traffic to targeted landing pages that are designed to convert visitors.


How to Attract Genuine Customers with Your Blog


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buying customer

The internet is a vast resource. Consumers in the world over acknowledge this fact. As such, when they want to seek out information on products, services and the like, they turn to the internet.

When they find a product they need, they naturally want to know more about it. They want to determine how it will suit their cause. So, they visit its location site or a blog about it. So, if your company has a blog, how do you attract customers to it?

Your customers have needs and they want these needs met. That is the main reason they are on your blog. For your business to achieve its success, you need to fully understand your customers and cater to their needs. Here are some ways to do that.

Publish Useful Blog Content

A consumer going through your blog is searching for more information about your products or services. Consumers and customers are smart. They can tell when you’re pushing a product instead of satisfying their needs. As such, your blog content plays a vital role in convincing your customers that you care about them.

To win them over and solidify their loyalty, encourage timely and honest discussions on your blog concerning your products and services. The content on your blog should be give credible and provide useful information. In addition it should relate to the customers, as they are a crucial part of your business.

Answer customer’s questions, recommends, Marcus Sheridan, whose approach to content marketing on his company’s blog brought it back from the edge of bankruptcy to exceed its peak pre-2007 revenue.

Make It Interesting And Easy To Read

Put simply, your content should be helpful and easy to read. Most customers tend to skim through content fast and as such may not read word for word of your blog post.

To capture their attention, you can also incorporate infographics or short videos and provide access to social media discussions on your business. With these tactics, you will attract more customers and be in a better position to increase their satisfaction of your brand.

Allow Your Customers to Complain

In fact, encourage them to do so. This is one of the best things you can do. Why is this so? Why should you give incentives on your blog for your customers to vent their frustrations and tell you what they do not love about your business?

It’s simple really. Most customers and clients don’t complain to a company. They turn to their friends, associates, colleagues, social media platforms and anyone that’s willing to listen.

And with the speed that information travels these days, it will reach both your current and potential customers. No company, business or enterprise can afford this negative word-of-mouth publicity. Use your blog as a platform where they can relay their grievances.

How is this effective? To put it simply, disgruntled customers just want to be heard. They want to know that you’re giving attention to their plight. To be shown that they are important to the business. And they are.

Out of those who get to complain, you can maintain the loyalty of a larger percentage to your business and brand by addressing their complaints and setting things right.

Your consumers just want to have a voice. Answer their concerns and queries. They want to participate in the conversation around your brand. Let them. The greatest partner for the prosperity, promotion and progression of a business is a delighted and satisfied customer.

A recommendation about a brand from your customers is more effective than an advertisement about it. Improve your customer relations through your blog. This will increase their satisfaction and your credibility and attract even more clients and customers.

Earned, Owned And Paid Media: How They Impact Your Social Media Campaign


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social media marketing

Social media, more than ever before, has become a central marketing tool for most, if not all, organizations. This is a sentiment held by most industry players including customers and marketing gurus to whom public relations and customer care is key to organizational success.

Marketers have amplified their techniques to incorporate earned, owned and paid media into the whole marketing mix. Earned media is generally a channel in which the company or organization markets itself through PR campaigns.

Owned media is a direct link to the audience and client base through means such as personal websites, blogs, Facebook pages etc., while paid media is advertising through channels that require payment such as television.

This rapidly changing marketing mix, and the ever growing need for PR, demands a lot of planning time and execution to yield results. In many ways, all these three channels have an impact on your social media campaign.

Owned Media

The most important goal of most agencies is to try and connect these three forms of social media marketing campaigns and gain some sort of control over them. Owned media is fully under the control of the organization and therefore can be fully utilized to drive the necessary customer traffic to where it is required.

Companies wield control over what is posted on their social media channels. Channels such as blogs, websites and other social media channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn help build long-term relationships with targeted niches.

The key benefit to this form of media is control over the message and direct customer relations. Owned media is a tremendously important of social publishing with optimized content.

Paid Media

Advertising has always has been an effective marketing method, and one that is preferred by most marketing agencies. In the past, paid media was generally associated with TV broadcast ads. However, with the advent and gradual growth of social media, there has been a shift from this form of advertising to paid search engine advertising and sponsored ad placements.

In the past, TV commanded a national audience, but social media has a global presence and the audience is multiplied almost a hundredfold. Social media has created a connection between paid media and owned media such that pricey TV ads could be used to turbo charge viral ads on social sites such as YouTube.

Earned Media

Earned media is a direct result of timely and precisely executed campaigns on paid and owned media. This channel is generated through public relations investments that targets prospective customers and clients while creating service/product awareness.

This channel spurs consumer engagement and interaction in the same way that social media networks and communities spur gainful conversations. It is the creation of an unmonitored conversation in consumer circles that happens out of its own volition.

In PR circles, earned media is considered as the holy grail of social media campaigns. It is closely monitored and fuelled by paid and owned media. It cannot be forced. Consumer retweets and virality can only be earned and this is a direct result of paid and owned media.

This combination together creates a horizontal layer which touches every aspect of the business to acquire, care for, and retain customers. The same metrics that this combination worked with on traditional media currently apply on social media with an even greater impact as expressed above.

© Priya Florence Shah is a published author, online publisher, blogging and social media consultant and digital marketing trainer. Get access to her free ebook on using blogs to generate leads for your business.

Why Is Wordpress The Best Blogging Platform?


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There is a famous quote about blogging that a blog is what websites wanted to be; updated regularly, contains content that is of interest to a particular audience and is considerably easy to update.

Well, whether you use a blog for the purpose of journalism, or your blog is simply an edited version of your personal story, you can’t escape the fact that WordPress is the best blogging platform.

Of course there are other numerous blogging platforms that get the job done, but none can be equated to the experience you get with a self-hosted WordPress blog – from the general user interface, ease of content publishing and search engine optimization among many other benefits below.

Unlimited Themes and Plugins

When running a blog, you might get the urge to change its theme to match the type of content published.

For instance, if you wish to talk about flowers, a flowery theme provides the exact design your blog needs to create the perfect atmosphere for your reader.

WordPress gives you the freedom to choose from among almost unlimited themes and plugins to make your blogging experience enjoyable and easily customizable.

SEO Friendly

Blogging and SEO are inseparable. In order to succeed in blogging, there is no doubt that your blog has to rank highly in search engines.

This way, you are sure of maintaining a huge audience, most of whom will land on your blog from search engines like Google and Yahoo. If yours is a self-hosted WordPress blog, then a SEO-friendly experience is almost inevitable.

WordPress has quite a number of recommended plugins for SEO. Some of them are premium will others are free. It all depends on your need and the level of SEO that you need because they each may work to achieve different objectives.

Excellent Technical Support

This is particularly important for newbies who have do not have any prior experience in blogging. You do not have to shy away from installing WordPress on your site because it offers an excellent support system that will guide you step by step as you look to develop your blog.

Even for those with enough experience, blogging is just as dynamic as technology. New tools are constantly being developed to make the WordPress experience even better and the excellent technical support available from developers may come in handy.

Simplified Monetization

Before monetizing a blog, it is essential that your blog earns trust and respect in the blogosphere. Your audience must be able to identify themselves with it and consider it totally reliable.

Advertising agencies are known to decline bloggers using platforms such as BlogSpot. But, there is no platform that will make your blog earn trust more than having a self-hosted WordPress blog.

When it comes to monetizing your blog, advertising agencies will readily accept a WordPress install, hosted on your own domain, into their system. Besides, most advertising agencies have launched dedicated plugins for WordPress blogs, making it a lot easier for you to monetize your blog.

3 Blog Writing Tips That No Business Can Afford To Ignore


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blog-writing-tipsBlogging is among the most common tools that entrepreneurs use to promote their business online and the results it provides are nothing less than impressive.

In order to reap the rewards of blogging, however, you need to be able to adhere to certain standards especially when it comes to the quality of the content you produce. You also need to ensure that your content is relevant to your business and useful to your readers.

Here are 3 of the most important blog writing tips to keep in mind:

1. Know Your Facts

Sales copy can only do so much when you are trying to establish trust between you and your customer base. A blog, regardless of the niche it is catering to, must provide usable information that is backed by facts.

People who frequent the web are always looking for websites from which they can learn new things especially if they are trying to find out more about certain commodities and/or services.

Writing authoritative articles is not just a great way to plug your products or services but will also help you build authority and thought-leadership in your industry.

2. Keep Your Writing Style Simple

The use of highfalutin words is a no-no when writing a blog. Your main goal is to reach as many audience or readers as possible so you have to use words that are easy to understand.

Avoid using jargon and big words as much as possible, unless you’re writing about technical topics or reviewing electronic gadgets. As long as you get your point across, it does not matter if you use simple language.

3. Update Regularly

The point of having a blog is to keep people apprised with the goings-on of your business. In order to do so, you need to update the site on a regular basis (we recommend 2 to 3 times a week) and infuse it with new content as often as possible. Regular updates keep readers coming back for more.

These three writing tips, if followed consistently, can often mean the difference between the success and failure of your business blogging efforts.

If you are not able to do this on your own, you might want to consider hiring professional blogging services. There are highly qualified professionals as well as freelancers who can be contacted to do this very specific job and all you need to do is tell them what you want for the blog.

© Priya Florence Shah is a published author, online publisher, blogging and social media consultant and digital marketing trainer. Get access to her free ebook on using blogs to generate leads for your business.

How To Turn Your Blog Into an Online Lead Generation Machine


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generating leads onlineOne of the popular ways in which you can market content and also generate leads is by blogging. Businesses make use of blogs to let their customers know about their products and services as well as for brand building purposes.

Despite the popularity of bogging, many companies fail to generate a sufficient number of leads with it. This article aims to provide some tips as to how you can transform your blog into an online lead generation machine.

#1: Ensure that your blog is part of your website. Your blog should mirror the design navigation and design of the website. This is because a visitor’s first experience of your company may be through a blog and they may never reach your main website. It is a good idea to maintain your blog as a sub-domain (for example, blog.website.com).

#2: Solve customer problems. Your blog posts should be focused towards solving the problems of your customers. It is not a good idea to make your blogs solely a repository for your press releases. Your company’s news may be interesting to you, but not to your prospects. You can make use of customer inquiries or FAQs to fuel your blog postings.

#3: Post consistently. Write blogs that contain great information with some amount of regularity. You can hire a freelancer if writing is not your forte. It is a good idea to follow an editorial calendar. You must also encourage visitors to post their comments and keep them engaged by responding to them.

#4: Keep it simple. It pays to make the blog posts concise as well as punchy and focused on one idea. Blog posts can be images, videos, PowerPoint presentations or even graphics. Frame the blog posts in such a way that the visitor does not have to spend a lot of time reading and understanding them.

#5: Use multiple content formats. There are five types of content that you can make use of for lead generation: informational and educational, ebooks, webinars, media interviews and guest posts or article contributions.

Further, you must optimize the content on the basis of the buyer persona, align it with the needs of your customers, as well as the buying stages, and ensure a smooth flow of the conversation.

#6: Headlines attract attention (or not). Make the headline catchy in order to entice the visitor into reading your blog. It is the post title that makes visitors click on your blog post.

#7: Link internally. Your blog post must contain several links (through specific keywords and phrases) to the resources built around these keywords and phrases on your main website.

#8: Include a call to action. Make use of the space around the blog post, especially the leaderboard at the top, the side bars and the space following the post.

Whereas the leaderboard and side bars can be made use of to place an email subscription form or banners with a special offer, the space at the bottom of the post can be utilized to provide a companion offer or link to related content. The space at the bottom can also be made use of to provide links to landing pages that call for email registration.

#9: Get them to subscribe. Make it easy for visitors to subscribe for updates to your blog through email. That way, whenever you publish a new post, a notification is sent to your subscribers inviting them to check it out.

You can make use of plug-ins that can be integrated into WordPress or other such blogging platforms to allow subscription options. This turns your blog into a list-building system. You can also make use of third-party services to collect names as well as contact information for you. Some of the services available are Google FeedBurner (free) and Mailchimp (free upto 2000 subscribers).

#10: Nurture your list. Email lists are very important for the success of your business. However, you need to maintain a good relationship with the members of your list. Make sure you send regular follow-up emails to your list with useful information about your business, products and services.

#11: Incorporate social media buttons – especially that of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – in your blog posts. You can do this easily using one of the many plugins available to WordPress users. Your visitors will share your content if they feel that it will be of use or if it makes them look good (read, smart and well informed) to others in their social networks.

Blogging presents you with a real opportunity to generate leads by connecting with your customers in real time and engaging them on a continuous basis. If you can apply the tips provided here, it will help convert your blog into an online lead generation machine.

Priya Shah is a former journalist, editor and online publisher and content marketing consultant. She runs a business blog consulting firm that offers lead-generating blog and social media services. Click here to download our FREE EBOOK that reveals 6 steps to creating a blog that will generate more leads for your business.

How Often Should I Blog? How To Find The Right Blogging Frequency


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writing-scheduleI often get asked the question: “How often should I blog?” The fact is, the more you publish, the more is your blog considered to be a generator of fresh content.

The search engines reward websites and blogs that offer updated content. Therefore, all things being equal, your frequency of publication leads to an improvement of the blog’s position in the search engines.

On the other hand, depending on the topic of your blog, very frequent posts might annoy some readers, especially those who subscribe to feed readers. Too high a frequency of publication overwhelms some readers, unless you write a news or celebrity gossip blog, in which case, more news is good news.

It would be worth your while to think over this issue before posting, if you do not have the confidence to keep up the quality of your posts day after day. You can find many successful bloggers who post every day, sometimes even several articles a day, while others who publish less frequently, maybe once or twice a week, or maybe even once a month.

It all depends on the type of blog you’re running, your available time, and of course, your personal style. The most important point is to understand yourself, the scope of your blog and the level to which you want to take it. This will determine the pace of publication that works best for you.

Some things to do when you’re trying to find the right blogging frequency are:

1. Understand your rhythm

Many inexperienced bloggers think that if they cannot publish every day, they have no ability to have a blog. That is not true. There are simply no limits that guarantee your success in terms of the number of times you publish.

2. Reader expectations

It is important to listen to your readers and take note of their responses. For example, posting once a week or less, on a topic that needs a daily dose of food for thought, such as a daily news blog, would end up disappointing your readers.

3. Your goals

If you plan to keep your personal blog and be the only person doing the updates, you should not commit to a high frequency of blogging or get too ambitious, because, in all likelihood, you will not be able to fulfill it.

If however, you have guest bloggers or other writers writing for a collaborative blog, or co-blog, you have more chance of meeting your publishing goals.

4. Start slowly

If you decide to publish every day, it will not work if you’re not used to carrying that pace. There will be times when you write your articles only to keep up the frequency, to the detriment of the quality of your content.

So start slowly and gradually increase the frequency of publishing. Statistics reveal that three weekly publications are usually good to begin getting some response from readers.

They strike a perfect balance between keeping the reader’s interests alive and not overwhelming them with so much information that it makes them lose interest and unsubscribe.

5. Be consistent and pay attention to the response of your readers

No matter whether it increases or decreases the frequency of publications, you must monitor the response of your readers.

Readers pay special attention when there is an abundance of material. However, if you load them with more content than they can handle, you may end up losing readers, no matter how good your content is.

Remember to find your own blogging pace and frequency, and do not get discouraged when you are not as productive as you could be.

If you are capable of frequently finding interesting and useful stuff to write about, post with a high frequency. You have everything to gain by doing so!

No one but you can decide what your ideal blogging frequency is. Just remember that frequent and regular posting has indisputable advantages in terms of rankings on search engines.

Can Blogging Help You Bypass Google’s Algorithm Changes?


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seo blogs content

If your business, in any way, depends on traffic from Google and other search engines, you’ll be aware of the Panda and Penguin updates that penalized over-optimization and other practices by SEO professionals and left many websites and businesses high and dry.

If you’ve been answering customer and user queries on your website for a while now, Google’s recent Hummingbird update may have benefited you, especially if you optimize for longer search queries in content.

For years, we have advocated the use of blogging as an ethical and search engine-friendly way to provide useful, relevant and fresh content that makes your site more appealing to Google and other search engines.

Here are 5 reasons why regular and consistent blogging can help you bypass Google’s algorithm updates.

1. Blogs are loved by readers and search engines alike

Blogs are an easy way to keep your site updated with great content that keeps your readers and search engines happy. When readers visit, they have something new to read and when search engines visit, there is something new to index. As long as you write useful and original content, you can keep both your readers and search engines coming back for more.

2. Blogs create more value for your site visitors

Businesses thrive when they create more value for their customers. Blogs are like your newsletter to the world. They help you add value to your site in the form of useful, relevant content that showcases your expertise, products and services.

Blogs offer your readers a chance to get to know you better and give you the opportunity to build a personal connection with them. You can answer their questions, provide solutions to their problems and give them a glimpse into your knowledge and expertise through your blog.

3. Blogs are naturally optimized without requiring over-optimization

With features like tags and categories (that create new search results every time you post) and plugins that allow you to create interlinking between posts, add appropriate titles, descriptions and keywords, blogs allow you to optimize every post without it looking contrived or over-optimized.

4. Blogs give Google a reason to revisit your site often

Google and other search engines visit websites at intervals to find and spider new content. When you add new posts to your blog, it will send a ping to the search engines, notifying them of the existence of new content.

This invites Google to spider your site more often. If the spider finds new, relevant content there, it gives you brownie points for keeping your content updated and fresh.

5. Blogs make it easy to get natural inbound links

Other bloggers or websites are more likely to link to sources of useful information and a regularly updated blog offers more posts to link to.

Blogs are also more readily shared on social networks by users who like sharing useful new information with their networks. Keep this in mind when you create content and you will get more inbound links that are natural and organic.

When you use a useful and well-written blog to grow your visibility online, it provides your business with a natural buffer against the vagaries of search engine algorithmic changes and updates.

© Priya Florence Shah is a published author, editor and online publisher, and business blogging consultant. Get access to her free business blogging webinar and learn how to use blogs to brand yourself and your business.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How To Write Blog Content That Gives You The Results You Want


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business goalsIn the process of publishing many of our own blogs and consulting with a number of clients for business blogging services, we’ve found that it helps, at the outset, for a business to get clear on what it is they’re trying to achieve with a blog.

There are essentially three types of goals that businesses can achieve with a blog.

1. Boosting Visibility and Traffic

2. Creating Thought Leadership, Authority and Branding

3. Generating Leads and Sales

While the results of the first two goals are hard to measure in terms of numbers, the third is easier to quantify. A business blog can, in effect, meet all three of these goals, but it helps immensely if the content you create is targeted to achieving the exact goal you desire.

Here’s how we advise our clients to go about creating content that fulfils these goals.

1. Boosting Visibility and Traffic

If your goal is to create more visibility on search engines and social networks, get ranked for important keywords in your industry and get more traffic to your blog, your content needs to be search optimized for the keywords that your target audience is searching for.

It starts with understanding your audience, researching their choice of keywords and the places where they prefer to “hang out” online. We would then create SEO content designed to boost search engine rankings and offer information relevant to the keywords and topics being searched for.

Top rankings and social sharing not only help your audience find you more easily, but also boost visits to your blog over a period of time. Almost any blog post can be optimized to boost search rankings and traffic, and these tasks can be easily outsourced, even for content that you have written yourself.

2. Creating Thought Leadership, Authority and Branding

The sort of content that creates authority and thought-leadership is very different than the kind written for SEO or lead generation. Blog posts that create authority are meant to demonstrate your in-depth knowledge and expertise with the goal of positioning you or your company as the leader or “go-to” expert.

This involves the writing of insightful articles and commentary on topics that tackle an issue facing your industry or discuss cutting-edge research being done in your field and its effect on your business or products and services.

It is usually much more expensive to outsource this kind of writing because it is high-end content written, either by you or by a domain expert who has a certain degree of knowledge and expertise in your field.

Authoritative posts are much more likely to be shared on social media, because when your readers share your cutting-edge information, some of your shine rubs off on them and it helps them boost their own authority among friends and clients.

Blogs like Mashable and TechCrunch are excellent examples of thought-leadership blogs and command an unbelievable rate of sharing in social media.

The best way to publish a blog that creates authority is to write the posts yourself and have them optimized by a blog content writer well-versed in SEO copywriting, so you don’t miss out on the potential traffic it will generate through searches.

3. Generating Leads and Sales

The sort of posts that generate leads and sales are targeted to a very different type of reader – one that is looking for solutions that meet their needs – immediately.

These posts usually tackle a problem that you know your audience is facing and presents them with a solution that they can buy or opt-in to immediately.

They work best if they contain buyer-specific keywords that get picked up in search engines or are sent to a mailing list of prospects hungry for your solution.

The aim is to promote action – in the form of a subscription or a sale to a product or service that is yours or belongs to someone else. Ecommerce portals often use such posts to announce promotions and discount codes for holiday shoppers.

While it is fine to use all these three kinds of posts in a single company blog, the best way to do it is to gain clarity on what sort of audience you are trying to reach with your posts and what sort of action you want to generate with them.

Need a blog content provider that can help you write content targeted to your goals? Get a free email consultation now.

© Priya Florence Shah is a former journalist, editor and online publisher and content marketing consultant. She runs a business blog consulting firm that offers blogging services to help you brand yourself and your business online.

Image courtesy of bplanet / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Starting A Business Blog? 7 Questions To Ask Before You Commit


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With so many people jumping on the blogging bandwagon, few people are giving a thought to whether blogs are really up their alley, or taking the time to consider the best ways of going about it. If you’re planning to start a business blog, ask yourself these questions before you take the final plunge.

1. Do you really need a blog?

Writing and maintaining a blog takes a certain degree of commitment, as well as a passion (or at least a liking) for stringing words into a decent sentence. If you don’t enjoy writing that much, you could always create an audio or video blog.

But would your business objectives really be served by starting a blog? Or could other methods of online marketing – like SEO, ezine advertising or newsletter publishing work just as well, if not better?

2. Whom do you want to reach with your blog?

The first step to reaching your audience is understanding where they go to find information about your products. If your audience largely consists of people who live in your town or use products that they search for in the newspapers, offline advertising might be more suited to your purpose.

If however, your target audience belongs to one or more of these segments, a blog might be just the thing to boost your business.

– Internet users

Does your target audience really use the internet? If not, then starting a blog (or any online activity, for that matter) will just be a huge waste of time and effort.

– Blog readers

Does your target audience read blogs? Or do they prefer to get their information in their inbox? If the latter is true, then an email newsletter might be a better option than a blog.

– Search engine users

A blog is an excellent way to boost your search engine rankings and get listed for a lot of your target keywords. If you know that your audience uses search engines to find information, a blog will increase your chances of getting their attention.

– Social media users

A blog is an excellent way to provide a focal point for your community. Regular content updates through social media networks will help you offer something of value to your community users.

3. What do you want to achieve with your blog?

There are a lot of things that a blog can do for your business. Blogs can help you –

  • Increase your visibility and search engine rankings
  • Brand yourself, your products, your services, your company
  • Build a community and network with people who have similar interests
  • Expand your reach to those outside your current sphere of influence
  • Establish your credibility as an expert or thought-leader in your field
  • Put a human face on your business
  • Reach out to potential customers and stakeholders

Deciding exactly what you want to achieve with your blog can help you get focused, so that you can spend your time and effort in activities that help, not hinder your business objectives.

4. How much time can you spend on your blog?

Serious business bloggers not only spend time writing their own blogs, but also spend a great deal of time reading up on current events and browsing other blogs in their field for information.

If you are prepared to put in the time and effort required to do that sort of research, your blog will serve as a good branding tool for your business. If not, you should either hire someone to do the research or seriously rethink your decision to start a blog.

5. What blogging platform will serve your needs best?

Deciding your blogging platform is an important step that you should take only after becoming familiar with the features and benefits of each option. The reason it is so crucial is because it can be extremely difficult to migrate an established blog to a new platform once you have started it.

Moving your blog can result in you losing your data, search engine listings and readers, so don’t take this decision lightly. Decide which platform will best meet your marketing objectives, time constraints and personal preferences before you make your first post.

If you don’t mind spending some time and effort to customize your blog, then we recommend using WordPress as your blogging software. You don’t even have to install the scripts yourself if you choose a hosting solution with Fantastico, which comes with a one-click install of WordPress.

You can also download some great-looking, professional WordPress themes that are easy to customize and have all the bells and whistles you want on your blog.

6. How do you plan to promote your blog?

Why is it good to know this before you start your blog? Because it will help you decide where best to invest your time and effort when you need to build traffic to your blog. You’ll learn more about the methods to promote your blog in our series of articles on marketing with blogs.

Some of these tasks can be outsourced, while others you would have to do yourself. Decide what you want to take on and look for service providers to handle the other functions so you can start building traffic to your blog as soon as possible.

7. How will you measure the success of your blog?

To determine how successful your blog is in boosting your profile or profits you will have to measure your blog traffic and track sales or leads that have come through it. Decide in advance which results matter to you, so you can make more informed decisions about your blogging metrics and degree of customization you require on your blog.

Understand that blogging is not for everyone. It’s just another form of communication. Don’t get so hung up on the technology that you end up ignoring more appropriate ways of communicating your message. Some things may be easier to communicate face to face, in a conference room, or even through the good old telephone.

Excerpt From “Blogging For Small Business: How to Use Blogs & Content To Grow Your Small & Medium Enterprise (SME)” by Priya Florence Shah.