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10 Tips for Beginner Bloggers

Tips for BloggersOne of the most difficult parts of blogging is actually getting started. You might ask yourself: “What do I have to say?” “Is it really that important?” “Who will actually read what I write?” The answers to these questions will never be revealed . . . if you don’t start blogging.

We’ve all heard about the benefits of generating fresh content that search engines love, link-worthy posts that get shared across the Web, and brand interaction that can only happen in the blogosphere . . . but what about coming up with ideas and writing good posts? Here are 10 tips to help make your first foray into blogging successful:

  1. Select appropriate topics. You can take a different perspective or provide better information than other blogs in your industry. Think about what topics a reader would find interesting, useful, or relevant about your industry. Don’t make your blog a sales pitch. Write about topics that can help your readers—such as various ways to use your product—or that can educate them about your industry. Use the opportunity to connect with your readers by showing that you know what you’re talking about when it comes to your industry.

    Don’t risk your reputation by posting controversial, personal, or hostile content—unless that’s part of your brand. The blog may be one of the first interactions a customer has with you. Make the interaction count by establishing trust and credibility through engaging or useful content.

  2. Consider length and style. It’s best to limit your entries to 150–250 words, as most Internet readers tend to skim. If your topic requires a more in-depth treatment, you can go beyond 250 words. Keep in mind that you can stretch a complicated topic across several posts, rather than stuffing it all into one entry.

    Most blog posts tend to be conversational and informal in tone, although certain industries may need to be more technical or informational. Just remember to give your posts personality. Think of your blog as a lobby for your brand. It has to feel welcoming and approachable, while still being able to convey all of the useful information visitors need.

  3. Format effectively. Because most online readers skim, format your post to make it easier to read. Break up text by using paragraphs, subheadings, quotations, bullet points, lists, images, video, or other elements to organize your information in a way that makes it easy and accessible for your readers. Be creative!

  4. Write engaging headlines. The headline is one of the most important pieces of a blog post. Just like your storefront attracts customers into your shop, a good headline will draw your visitors in. When writing headlines, remember not to shout at or market to readers. Instead, give them something short, sweet, and engaging. Entice them. Use active voice.

  5. Use links responsibly. Don’t use more than a few links in a blog post; otherwise, your post will appear like spam. Instead, link when necessary, and when it’s relevant to what you’re writing about. Try not to use the phrase “click here” as the anchor text when linking. Instead, use keywords that are relevant to your brand. That makes a link more understandable, and it can also help with search engine rankings.

  6. Include images. Images can make your post more attractive and—because they break up the text—easier to read. Include images that complement what you’re talking about in your post. Also, don’t forget to use image alt tags to provide search engines with information about the content of the images.

  7. Be consistent. Daily updates are ideal. When you post less than once a week, you risk losing your readers. Establish a posting schedule so that you keep the fresh content coming. The worst thing you could do is start blogging and then go missing. It becomes embarrassing when a reader comes to your blog only to find the last update is months old. If a company doesn’t care enough to update its blog regularly, what does that say about how it values its readers (or customers)?

  8. Proofread, edit, proofread again. There’s nothing worse than reading a blog post riddled with grammatical and spelling errors. It’s frustrating for the reader, and it looks unprofessional. Take time to proofread, edit, and proofread again.

  9. Respond to feedback. Blogs can be an excellent customer service tool because they create a more informal environment for customers to voice their thoughts or concerns. Be sure to take the time to respond and interact accordingly.

  10. Stay committed. Finally, stay committed to your blog. Make the effort to update regularly, develop good content, and be a thought leader in your industry. Practice writing. Read more. Comment and interact on other blogs in your industry. By being committed to making your blog successful, you’re already taking the first step toward having a blog that helps your brand, and ultimately, your business.

This article appeared in the January/February 2010 issue of eBiz Insider, the magazine for eCommerce professionals from Web.com.

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  1. Thank you for this easy-to-understand tip sheet!

  2. I’m interested in participating in your new ad vehicles.

  3. Annie – my pleasure! I’m glad that you enjoyed the post! 🙂

  4. Thank you for the tips. I am fresh into my business, and these tips are most helpful.

  5. Sonji – glad I could be of help!

  6. Nice tips. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Excellent article! Just what I needed. I’m interested in starting a blog and wasn’t sure how to start. It’s like the author read my mind. Thanks.

  8. Glad to help, Ramon! 🙂

  9. Hi Mandy,

    Number 10 is oftentimes the toughest one for business leaders to understand, staying committed. The expectation is that he or she will write their first blog post and everyone within their industry will suddenly appear to heap praise upon them. When they see zero comments, they are quickly frustrated. Just like a small child promising to clean up after a puppy, they suddenly lose interest once the fad (in their mind) wears off.

  10. Greg – It’s very true and it is indeed a challenge to stay committed, especially when you’re not seeing results at first. I think it’s important to remember that commitment is only one piece of the puzzle. Marketing, producing solid content, and participating in the community are other pieces. 🙂

  11. Mandy – We recently spoke with a business about a new website and he spoke passionately about community involvement. However, he never thought of incorporating it into the business website. It seemed like a very bright light bulb turned on when I explained to him the goodwill he generates could be a valuable asset with respect to the online presence of his business. I love those “aha” moments!

  12. Aha moments are what make this business so exciting! 🙂

  13. I think that blogging really helps your SEO campaign because Google loves new content! But at the same time, blogging takes a lot of your time! 🙁

  14. It’s true – Google does love fresh content. I think the time investment is definitely worth it because it offers more than just SEO value. You get to connect with customers, share your knowledge, and improve confidence in your brand. 🙂

  15. I’ve enjoyed your tips so much. Thanks!

  16. Thanks for the tips. I am new to blogging and don’t really know how to start one, but after reading your tips, I’m at least willing to try. Thanks again!

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