[VIDEO] How to Set Up a Blog: 6 Things You MUST Do
Thinking of blogging? Already blogging? Are you doing the basics, do you have an author strategy, do you use an editorial calendar? Is your blog on your website url? What are your objectives for blogging?
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Every man, woman and their dog is blogging at the moment – no, honestly: look up “Dogs with Blogs” on Google!!
You’re probably watching this video because you know this, and you now want a piece of the action.
But before you plough ahead and set up a blog, there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself to work out which blog set-up is best for you, and how you should plan your content.
In this video, I will take you through a step-by-step approach to setting up a blog, and will share these steps with you today.
First up, ask yourself why:
(1) Set some objectives
At an early stage it is useful to step back and ask yourself why you are setting up this blog. Is it to promote yourself as an expert on a particular subject? Is it to sell more of your products? Is it to drive traffic to your website (we’ll come on to this in a minute).
Try and set some key objectives for your blog. This will help you to stay focused, will help you determine your content strategy (i.e. what you will be writing about), and will give you something to measure the success of your blog against.
Think about both AUDIENCE and PURPOSE.
There are numerous kinds of metrics and analytics tools about – it is tempting to want to report on everything. But to avoid wasting your time, setting objectives can help you zone in on the metrics you are really interested in, and who you are writing for.
(2) Host your Blog on your Website
Obviously if you don’t have a website, this doesn’t apply to you. But if you do have a website, and your blog will be about something in the same area, then you should host your blog on your website. (And if you’re not blogging about your core product, service or industry area – then why not?!)
A blog should not be a separate entity. It should be integrated with your content management system (or CMS) and if you don’t have one, you should consider moving your entire site to a CMS. A CMS gives you much more flexibility to make changes yourself and not have to pay someone else to do it.
Your blog and your website should compliment and reinforce one another – your website shows your products and services, and your blog shows you know what you are talking about. Both should interact very closely with each other and the only way to make this successful is to have them on the same website.
Another way of looking at it is:
If you’re about to add some amazing content, you want it to be on your own website, and not on another platform. Blog content will massively help with your SEO, so you should embed it within your website in order to see the benefits from this.
Bing and Google have brought in a lot of changes over the last 2 years with regards to social media and blogging, and are both are now openly relying on it to help position websites in their ranks.
(3) Plan Your Content
A blog is a way of sharing news and ideas. It is an opportunity to talk about all aspects of your business, a way to portray members of staff as thought leaders and to illustrate knowledge, experience and quality in your business.
Consider these key areas, along with your specific objectives, when planning your content. Always try to think ahead and have a number of blog ideas in the pipeline. Plan ahead so you always have content ready to go to avoid dry periods.
Here are some tips on generating content ideas if you are stuck:
(a) Return to your key objectives, and look at any gaps in your current website content
(b) Make sure you are subscribed to 10-15 other industry expert blogs (you can do this through RSS feeds or by signing up to emails)
(c) Read the news – there is always something going on in the news that you could provide comment or opinion on
(d) Subscribe to key journalists and industry experts on Twitter – Twitter is normally the first place you will hear about breaking news now, before the main news websites get updated – get an edge and be the first to comment on breaking news on your blog and share it via Twitter for maximum re-tweets and reach!
(4) Decide on an author strategy
Quite simply: who will write the blogs? You might want to write all the blogs yourself. As a business leader, this can be a great way of sharing your vision for your company with both your employees and the outside word. However, writing all the content yourself can be very time consuming and CEOs rarely have lots of spare time.
Another option is a multi-author blog, with a number of key contributors. The added value here is variety, and each person will have a vested interest in promoting the blog so this can help with site traffic.
Another option if your blog content is mainly written by employees is to have regular “guest writers” who write on key industry areas. This can bring in new audiences and really add value to your content, especially if your guest authors are high profile.
Whatever author strategy you choose, think about blog regularity and a posting schedule. And make sure everyone who is providing blogs is clear on what they should be writing about and when.
(5) Write a content schedule
Planning and sticking to a content schedule is a good discipline to get into. Not only will it help you plan and manage your time better, it will ensure regular content and a captive audience for your blog. If your readers know you will always post a blog at 3pm on Friday afternoon, they will be expecting it and setting aside to time to read it there and then.
There are numerous content schedule templates available to download for free online – just search on Google.
(6) Put Link Building at the core of your blog layout
I consider blogging to be main focus of social media, if you blog then you automatically have content for your social platforms, it’s a way to get people talking about what you have blogged about and its also a great way to get people from your social platforms on to your website.
I hope these six tips to setting up a blog have been useful. If you want to talk through some of the more technical aspects of setting up a blog, or which platform would be best for you to use, then please give me a call.
My philosophy is about removing the mystery around website development and SEO. and enabling clients to manage their websites themselves, so I’m always happy to answer any questions. You can call me on 011 33 20 21 21.