How to blog effectively?

Who rules the internetYesterday I found an interesting post on Dan Schawbel blog. The debate was Conversation or Content. Who rules the Internet? I think that in the first years the Internet we had this split (Web 1.0). We had either content (websites mostly static) or we had conversations (forums). The model was not perfect so we improved it and Web 2.0 was born. And so came the blogs.

What defines a blog? A blog has two very important characteristics:

  1. It offers the possibility to quickly and easily create and publish your content
  2. Has a mechanism that allow readers to leave comments or another form of feedback

If you miss any of the above you do not have a blog. For sure you can argue that Seth Godin for example, does not accept comments. You are right but he accepts trackbacks which is a form of feedback.

Coming back to conversations or content discussion we can see that a blog has both. It has content created and published usually by the owner and it has the feedback mechanisms that spark the conversations. And that’s why blogging got so much traction. In 2008 13% of the US population was maintaining a blog. This will increase to 17% form the US population by 2013. The readers of blogs represented in 2008 45% of the US population and they will increase to 58% by 2013. This means that by 2013 128 million people in the US will read blogs while 38 million will blog.

When you start blogging the first thing you have to decide is what to blog about. If you are blogging for business you should ask yourself who are your customers and then figure out what are they interested about. Statistics show that you will find your blogging “voice” and you’ll figure out how to blog after creating the first 30 posts.

By now you should have a lot of questions: How to blog? Is blogging for me? What platform to use? What should I write about? What layout should my blog have? What theme should I choose? What domain name? Most of these questions will be answered in the first class of Inbound Marketing University that you can watch below. Learn how to blog, enjoy and if you have more questions or comments, post them below.

How to Blog Effectively for Business (GF101)

Photo credits by Courtney Bolton

10 things to promote your blog posts

Now you have started a blog but for different reasons people are not getting to your site. What are the 10 things that will drive traffic to your site?
1.Great Title. Whatever the post is about you should look for catchy titles. Most of the viewers will read your post only if the first thing they read makes them click your post. In most cases we decide what is interesting and what’s not in a matter of seconds (less than 10 seconds) and the only thing we can read in this short time is the title of the post so have a great title and you will increase your chances of having me reading the rest of your post. If you are reading this post means that the title I’ve chosen made you click on it.
2, Great Content. In real estate there is a saying that there are 3 things that are important to make profit and these are: location, location and location. That means that if your property is in a good location then you sure can make money from it.
For your blog if you have good content you will get noticed and your blog will get big numbers of visitors. If you have a good title but the content is not so good you will have traffic but of low quality and with increased bounce rate (the percentage of your visitors that leave your site in less than 10 seconds). What else can you do to drive traffic to your site?
3. Optimize your post for Search Engines. When you write a post be sure to complete all the meta fields such as description, keywords and so on (keywords are not used by Google but the other search engines may use them). Verify if your keywords appear in the body of your post frequently enough and get as many inbound links as possible. These will help the search engines to index your post and to rank better in the search results. You can have plugins that help you optimize your blog. I use All-In-One-SEO plugin for WordPress on this blog.
4. Social bookmarking sites. Submit your post to social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon. One very important thing for getting found is the number and quality of links to your blog and your post from other sites. By submitting your post to social bookmarking sites you can get quickly some links to your post. You can use plugins on you site so that people that liked your post can bookmark your post.
5. Social Media. Promote your post through social media. Write a tweet, update your status in LinkedIn or Facebook. Your followers, friends or connections will be the first to visit your article and comment on it. From my experience, depending on the moment I tweet about more than half of my twitter followers are clicking on the link to my post. If you have huge number of followers this is a great way of driving traffic.
6. Newsletters. This is a classic one, if you have a newsletter you can advertise your post there.
7. Blog comments and Forums. By posting relevant comments on other blogs you benefit of the traffic of the other site and drive traffic to yours. In most of the cases you will not get SEO credit for the links posted in the comments (while the comments may be set not to be followed by search engines) but you may get real visitors. Forums are another grate way of posting links to you article. You can answer to a user question and just ad “by the way, I’ve wrote a post on this topic and here’s the link”.
8. Pitch other bloggers to link to your post. I do this mostly offline when somebody is asking for my support, I give him my advice and then tell: “by the way, I’ve written a post on this subject, If you are interested in more details here is the link”.
9. E-mail signature. You interact daily via e-mail with people. Buy writing a link to your post in your signature will make these people aware of your post. Remember that people that know you, that trust your opinion are more likely to read and comment your post than perfect strangers.
10. Directories. Depending on your post you can submit your article to different sites that let you post news with links to your article. I use the Inbound Marketing site for submitting my stories related with inbound marketing. You can search for similar hubs in your niche.
These are the ways I promote my posts. Do you use the same? Do you have some other? What are your best practices? Share them bellow.

Wondering what I was doing?

If you were wondering what I was doing here is the answer. I was trying to figure out a way for my name to appear on the posts I make instead of the well known “posted by admin”. But I found out 2 ways to do this with WordPress (the CMS that I am using on this blog). For those that have the same issue here are the 2 ways:

1. The easiest way is to go to your profile page (Users->Admin) and choose your name as your nickname instead of the default admin.

2. The other way is to create a new user for you (go to Users-> Add New) with your name. In this way WordPress will display your name (your new user name) as the one that published the post. The only thing that you have to take care is to log in with the new user name and password.

Have other issues with WordPress? Drop a comment here!

5 reasons to share your knowledge

When you start blogging many people do  not know how much of the information they have to share. The main fear is that people that read that blog, using the information provided can do what the owning company is providing.

In my opinion this is a false problem. There is a lot of information over the internet regarding SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and still a lot of companies have enough market to grow. Also the information regarding the diagnosis of specific diseases and their treatment is available on the web, but still you hardly find patients that are putting their diagnostic and treat themselves based on that information.

Here are my 5 reasons to share all your knowledge:

1. The more you share the more you will be seen as an expert and when I have a problem I will ask an expert to solve it for me

2. By sharing more information you will build a tribe of followers that may refer you as an expert in that particular field resulting in increased sales

3. If more people are following you and training in your subject area of expertise you can extend your business to training those people meaning again more sales

4. Not everyone has the resources and want to invest in learning from the information you share. Sufficient people will not have the time or the will to learn and they are your target clients

5. By opening discussions you open yourself to new points of view that may enable you to innovate the domain in which you have expertise. In this way you will maintain your competitive edge.

Dan Ronken elaborated more on these reasons and got to the following reasons:

1. Unselfishness attracts future customers

2. Building community

3. Helping others succeed. The old adage, “Give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”

4. Hence a foundation of capitalism, right? Specialization.

5. Open mindedness

What do you think? Are these reasons enough for you or you want to add some more?

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