A blog, if done correctly, can be a very valuable marketing tool especially for professional practices, technology ventures and professional services organizations. The key is understanding what a blog really is, how to construct one and how to use it properly. If you want to create a blog better than your competition then read on.
I recently did a presentation at Reliabilityweb’s Digital Marketing Forum discussing why Blogs Are Like Preventive Maintenance to your marketing efforts. You can read and download the original PowerPoint presentation for free under my Entrepreneur’s Corner. The presentation is the foundation for this post designed to help entrepreneurs, professional practice managers and new technology start-up ventures understand the need for a blog.
What is a Blog?
To use a blog effectively you need to understand what a blog does for you. A blog is a permanent display of:
- Your new venture or professional practice
- Your product, service or concepts
- Your knowledge
- Your expertise
Your company and your product are important to you for Internet visibility, however, your knowledge and expertise is what your clients, potential investors and customers want to know.
Why Create a Blog for your Professional Practice or High Value Venture?
- Establish a web presence
- Business name recognition
- Subject or professional authority
- Inexpensive compared to other media
- Blogs have a worldwide reach
Websites with blogs receive on average over 50% more traffic and over 100% more links than a website without a blog. Blog articles can and will immediately identify you as a knowledgeable expert when written well.
What Makes a Good Blog for Entrepreneurs?
A good blog has 5 major components which are:
- Quality content
- Have links
- Makes use of keywords
- Has a call to action
- Is coded for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Some people will tell you content is king and others that SEO is the most important. The reality is they must all work together as great content is useless if no one ever visits your site and good SEO coding is wasted if the quality of the content is poor. Lets us take a look at each of these individually.
What is Quality Content?
- Informative – Industry or product news, makes use of current events, holidays, humor and so on.
- Readable – 2-3 sentences per paragraph, use of easy to identify lists or charts, written to readership level of reading comprehension.
- Rarely mentions the company name or product – No one wants to read a sales brochure, readers are interested in your knowledge and expertise.
- Has an interesting headline. Which catches your attention more Pitfalls of IP or Slaying the IP Dragons?
- Has pictures or videos – pictures capture attention, video will have people staying on your site longer to watch and both are great places for links and keywords.
- Makes people want to know more or respond to your call to action.
Why are Links important?
- Links tell the search engines what information is important about your web page.
- Links point readers to other relevant information and pages on your website (ex: a product page, a promotional page and so on.
- 1 link per 150-200 words. Too many links is considered spammy and to few links is wasted content.
- You can link to web pages, other blogs, important resources and reference material.
- Links need to be coded correctly. 90% of all blogs and websites I read have very poor coding. A good link contains a keyword and a title. The title appears when you hover over the title. For example:
- A poor link – Find out if your ideas need protecting at http://blog.theentrepreneursadvisor.com/about-us/what-we-can-do-for-you/intellectual-property/
- A properly coded link going to the same location would be: Do you know if your IP needs to be legally protected?
- Keywords are words or short phrases that you want to be associated with by potential clients or investors conducting a search. This association is recognized when your website/blog appears as a result of searches using the major search engines.
- Keywords are used throughout your site, blog posts, headings and links.
Call to Action
- Designed to stimulate a response or action from the reader such as leaving a comment, contacting you for more information, signing up for a newsletter etc.
- It is usually placed toward the end of the blog. Some sites now place it first or have it as a pop-up action which is extremely annoying. As a general rule of thumb, I immediately leave all websites and blogs without reading the content if the call to action is in the form of a pop-up window that appears before I can read the content.
Content is only half a blog, HTML coding is the other half. This is because Google and other search engines do not read your content, they read the HTML (source coding). Proper SEO coding is needed for many items including:
- Pictures – alt tags, titles, embedded links.
- Quotes – Block quotes, pull quotes, sources/citations.
- Links – keywords, titles. Each blog you write creates links to your website.
- Headings – H1, H2, H3 tags: These tags tell the search engines what is important about your page and their priority.
- Abbreviations – hover over each instance of SEO and see how abbreviation coding works. It is doubling keyword impact.
Remember, Search Engine Rank (where you show up on an Internet search) = quality content + pagerank. Pagerank is essentially the amount and quality of links pointing to your website.
Getting Read After Constructing a Good Blog
The final piece of blogging is getting read. There is no magic formula for getting read, instead it is a combination of:
- Consistency – writing on a consistent basis whether it is once a day or once a week.
- Time – It takes time to establish a quality web presence. Give yourself a minimum of 6-9 months to see results. Run away from anyone selling you instant results.
- Make use of Social Media – Twitter each post, publish to relevant LinkedIn groups, promote using book marking or reading sites such as stumbleupon, digg and Buzz Yahoo, publish link to Facebook and/or relevant professional associations.
- Make use of RSS feeds. RSS feeds are free and enable your potential clients to be notified through a reader every time you publish content.
There are other things one can do to enhance your Internet exposure. One such way is to write and accept guest blogs. This is a great way to develop connections, credibility and links. Guest blogging guidelines for The Entrepreneur’s Advisor® can be found on the Entrepreneur’s Corner.
The final post in this series will be a listing of the top resources for Entrepreneurs, Professional Practices, Inventors covering websites, blogs and people. If you feel you, your blog or your company would make a quality resource for Entrepreneurs then leave a comment on this post including, your name, website and area of expertise so that we may research your qualifications.
Articles in The Ultimate Checklist for Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Micro-enterprises so far are:
- The Ultimate Checklist For Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Micro-enterprises
- Choosing Your New Venture Legal Entity
- Choosing Names for New Ventures, Domains and Social Media
- The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | How to Determine Your Keywords
- The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | Creating Keywords
- The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | Understanding Sales Metrics
- The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | SEO Basics of Writing Calendars
- The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | SEO Basics of RSS Feeds and Directories
- The Entrepreneur’s Advisor | SEO Virtual Reality: Linkwheels