Creating A Successful Blog | 9 Step Guide

If you have read Blogging for Business  then you know that businesses create blogs to expand their online presence, connect with potential customers, promote their brand, and generate online revenue.  This article demonstrates how you can get started with your blog and how to create a successful blog that converts.

Choose your blogging platform

If you already have a website, adding a blog page should be a fairly simple process. However, if you are setting up your blog from scratch you will need to choose a blogging platform. We love the features and usability of WordPress but there are many other platforms to choose from here.

Design your blog using a simple theme 

You always want to make a good first impression so this step is crucial.  Your goal should be to design a website that visually appeals to your target audience.  Most blogging platforms have a variety of themes to choose from. We recommended selecting one that best suits your company personality and branding.  If for some reason you don’t like the way your blog theme looks you can simply change the theme or improve upon it as you go.

Tip: Use Whitespace to your Advantage

Select the best plugins for your blog

A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a website. They can extend functionality or add new features. Whether you want your blog to be found by search engines or make your content more shareable, the best plugins have these things in common:

  • Do what they say they do
  • Don’t take up lots of resources on your servers
  • Get Along with other plugins

We’ve narrowed the list down to 10 must have plugins:

  1. Wordfence– Secure your website with the most comprehensive WordPress security plugin.
  2. Anti-Spam– An exceptionally powerful and user-friendly WordPress anti-spam plugin that eliminates comment spam, contact form spam, registration spam, trackback spam, pingback spam, and every other type of WordPress spam.
  3. All in One SEO Pack-Use All in One SEO Pack to optimize your WordPress site for SEO. It’s easy and works out of the box for beginners, and has advanced features and an API for developers.
  4. Google XML Sitemaps-This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and to better index your blog.
  5. Google Analytics Dashboard -This Google Analytics for WordPress plugin enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view key Google Analytics stats in your WordPress install.
  6. Social Media Share Buttons – Social media plugin which let’s you add icons for RSS, Email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube
  7. Contact Form-Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup.
  8. Google Maps– Add a customized Google map to your website quickly.
  9. Email Subscribers & Newsletters– Email Subscribers is a complete newsletter plugin which lets you collect leads, send automated emails, create & send newsletters and manage them in one place.
  10. Image Compression and Optimization– The faster your site loads, the more Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines will like it. Your site will load faster and rank higher.

Write content that adds value to your readers

Write educational content that answers problems people are searching for answers to. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas . What are you customers searching for? It is important to remember that you are trying to reach people who have never heard of your company so write about your industry, not your brand.

Brainstorm Blog Topics

Unless your blog is strictly for your own enjoyment, you’re probably hoping to gain or increase readership. So, it’s important to consider what others might want to read or learn about.

When brainstorming topics, it is important to answer these questions:

  • What are the most frequently asked questions we have?
  • What do our potential customers need help with?
  • What do people wish to know about our industry?
  • What are industry bloggers, social media and competitors talking about online?

When you have come up with topics to write about, pick one to focus on per post and do your keyword research. Use this research in your post to get found online and start ranking higher in search results.

Create Your Working Title

A working title is something you work off as you start to write your post. It is recommended to Include a long tail keyword in the title. Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases people may use to find your content online. You will likely draw less traffic with a long-tail keyword than you would with a more common one, but the traffic you do draw will be more focused, committed, and more desirous of your services.

TIP: Google will only show the first 50-60 characters of a title in search results, so to avoid having this cut off try and keep it within these limits.

Optimize Your Blog

Search Engine Optimization is incredibly important for a blog to be successful. When you optimize your blog pages you are making your website more visible to people who are searching for keywords associated with your brand, product, or service.

How to Optimize Your Blog Content:

  • Focus on one or two keywords per blog post
  • Include keywords in your headline, headers and body, URL, and meta description
  • Make sure your blog is mobile friendly
  • Your meta description should include the long-tail keyword
  • Include images with keyword alt text to help explain your content
  • Link Internally when possible and where it makes sense

How to Promote Your Blog

Not only do your posts need to be well-written, helpful, and relevant to your target audience, but you’ve also got to make sure you’re promoting them correctly.

9 blog promotion tactics:

  • Share on various Social Media Channels like Facebook and Twitter
  • Send Emails or Email Newsletters to launch new posts
  • Include links to your blog and posts in your email signature
  • Participate in aggregate sites and up-vote communities like Reddit or Inbound
  • Answer questions with your blog posts in forums like Quora
  • Get your blog listed on social bookmarking sites like Digg and Stumble Upon
  • Include your blog link in your social media profiles
  • Share your posts more than once
  • Use hashtags to reach a larger audience
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