Ultimate Guide to Blogging - Part 2

In last week's post, we set the stage with initial tips and tricks for becoming a rock star blogger.  As we continue this process, we will learn that the secret to effective blogging is all about content, content, content.

Four Ways to Make Blogging Content More Compelling

  1. Keep Current of Industry News – Spend some time each morning researching the latest advancements and breaking news in your field.  Compile and condense the information into an easy-to-read digest that your readers will appreciate.  Your blog just might become the trusted source for news about your industry.
  2. Make it Easy on the Eyes – Keep your paragraphs short.  Use bullet points for short, succinct thoughts.  Post a nice photo or graphic with your blog.  All of these will make your blog more compelling to readers.
  3. Interview Industry Officials – Research who are the movers and shakers of your industry.  See who recently made the news or reached an achievement.  Send an email or call these people and ask to interview them, by phone or email.  Their answers will often be compelling material for your readers.
  4. Write About Challenges – Are there widespread problems or concerns with your industry?  (Every industry has a few)  These are often good topics to write about and leave open for discussion in the comment section.  You might enlighten your readers and together, solve a real problem that faces many of your peers.

Five Things to Check Before You Post Your Blog

  1. Recheck Spelling & Grammar – Are you sure names of people and companies are spelled correctly?  Nothing’s worse than getting a person's name wrong.  Is your grammar accurate?  If possible, get someone else to check for errors before you post.  Using the same word too many times?  Use an online thesaurus.
  2. Review Your Content – Are all your facts and figures accurate?  Does your content have a clear focus or does your blog ramble and veer off-track from your original purpose?  Is your topic too broad?  Narrowing your focal point often results in a more interesting blog.
  3. Check Your Structure – What does the final page look like?  Is it aesthetically pleasing to the eye?  Do you have small blocks of text for ease of reading or long, unwieldy paragraphs that repel readers?
  4. Double Check Hyperlinks – Do all of your hyperlinks work?  Providing links are an important step in building relationships with other bloggers.  As a rule of thumb, try providing a hyperlink every 150 words or so.  You should also include a few internal links that connect back to previous blog posts or pages on your website.
  5. Amp Up Your Final Words – Your last paragraph should bring home your message, whether it is a call to action, a summarizing thought, an amazing offer or a solid punch line.

Six Things to Do to Persuade People to Leave a Comment on Your Blog

  1. Ask a Question – Asking a question lets readers know you want them to comment.  It’s also easier for readers to answer a question than to think of something to say.
  2. Be Controversial – If your blog posts are vanilla, people just won’t respond.  If you want to solicit a response, push their buttons.  Highlight an area of concern or talk about a topic that people are passionate on both sides.  Just use your best judgment though and keep it professional. Offending your customers may make them leave your site for good.  And monitor the responses carefully for abuse.  You can let others disagree with your viewpoint, but don’t allow anyone to flame another poster – others will blame you for allowing the remarks to be posted.  We like to review each comment before they go live.
  3. Make it Easy to Comment – The more steps involved, the less likely someone will leave a comment.  Cut out the red tape and make it simple for readers to leave a comment on your blog post.
  4. Ask for Comments on Your Social Networks – Use the power of Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn and others to advertise your blog post and solicit comments.  The larger your social media circle, the more comments you’re likely to get.  Just be sure you return the favor when your friends ask you for comments.
  5. Leave Comments on Other Blogs – Many bloggers will reciprocate when you contribute to the conversation on their blog.  Follow a group of bloggers you like and add comments, and watch the remarks on your own blog increase over time.  Plus, you may pick up regular readers as a result of your comments.
  6. Add to the Conversation – It’s beneficial to reply to comments on your blog.  Be thankful, offer new information and ask questions of people who post.  It keeps the conversation going and invites other readers to join in.

And Lastly… Eight Miscellaneous Tips for a Better Blog

  1. Skip the Sales Pitch – Your blog will gain more followers and people will take you more seriously if you concentrate on giving out useful information and forget about selling.  It may be tempting at first to constantly pitch your products or services, but you’ll turn off prospective customers.  Let your readers seek out what you have to offer after you’ve built their trust and gained their respect.
  2. Write in Your Own Voice – Blogging is much less formal than business writing.  And while you should still follow the basic grammar and spelling rules, you should let your own voice come out in your blogs.  Being yourself might take a little time to develop, but once you find your personality, your blogs will be easier to write and easier for your audience to read and enjoy.
  3. Write About What You Love – Use your knowledge, passion and experience when writing your blog posts.  If a topic seems forced or uninspired, your readers will know and quickly lose interest.
  4. Don’t Advertise – As your blog becomes more popular, it may become tempting to try and make a little extra cash with advertising programs such as Google AdSense and others.  We don’t recommend this approach for a business blog.  Keep your blog page clean and professional.  Ads will clutter up your page aesthetics, plus it’s possible that your competitor’s ads will show up and steal business away from your website.
  5. Use Keyword in Title & First Paragraph – If you’re able to, use your strongest keyword in the title of your blog post.  Then use it again in the first paragraph.  Search engines use the first several sentences of your post to provide a snippet or description of your post.  If your keyword is included in that block, it’s more likely to be ranked higher for that particular keyword.
  6. Post on Forums – Posting on forums is a good way to provide backlinks to your site, as well as drive traffic to you.   Post on the forums that have high PageRanks.
  7. Italicize Keywords – Google and other search engines treat italicized words with a higher priority, so make sure a few of your targeted keywords are in italics.
  8. Add Social Media Buttons – It’s critical for your friends to help you spread your content to their social sites.  Even better, a customized social media bar allows you to quickly and easily add only the social sites you desire.

Do you currently write a business blog? Do you have some tips for our readers that you don’t see here? We want to hear from you!  Please help us add to this list and share your blogging knowledge at our Facebook Fan Page by leaving a comment in our "Blogging Tips" Post.  Don't forget to share your blog with our fans on the "Show Us Your Blog" Post too!

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