New To Blogging? 9 Useful (And Not So Obvious) Tips For Small Businesses
Blogging is must for any small business. And there are great articles out there to get you going. Just starting out and finding the terminology confusing? Devshed’s Blogging For Beginners is good. Then find more topical indepth information at ProBlogger, for example. And of course just google a phrase like “blogging for beginners”.
We wrote this article though to reveal some quick things that aren’t so obvious immediately. We hope they can help you from learning things the hard way and wasting time. Because time is exactly what the small business owner has in short supply.
- Unless you are selling a book or EBook or selling something with NLP or MLM techniques you won’t want to replace your regular website. There’s a lot of discussion about this on the web, and granted Site Ducky exists to provide content managed websites, but as a user I feel comfortable making this recommendation. Blogs are essential and often part of making a buying decision (do I like the people and culture behind a product?) but their structure is not set up for disseminating product or service information in a quick and efficient way. Blogs are structured for discovery. If you think you could benefit from the circular linking and never-ending scrolling, though, consider imitating Tiny House Design. For what they are selling, and the culture they are creating around their idea, the blog structure works admirably well.
- Even if you don’t know HTML, you can take advantage of some basic tags to help organize your posts. Not everything useful is in the toobar. Just choose the HTML tab in your editor, and then scroll to find the place in the text you want to modify. HTML For Dummies can be found at any library. Don’t be afraid, play around and preview. Some code will work – others won’t. WordPress for example strips out line breaks from bulleted lists. Our favorites to supplement the visual editor?
- <hr/> creates a horizontal line
- <br> creates a single line break (shift-return works in some editors in visual mode to create the same result)
- Use HTML in your comments when allowed. Especially to link back to your own blog or website when a field isn’t offered…like on this post. Try it! Just write your comment and then drop in the following code replacing the bold items with your own information: <a href=”http://www.yoursite.com“>Your Name</a> Feel free to try it below letting us know how you liked this post!
- There are different blogging tools out there. Rather than reinvent the wheel read this and review the different blogging tools before you start to determine which best meets your needs. You’ll be investing time into learning how to use the tool you choose, setting up your theme and customizing your blog. You don’t want to waste that. While we like wordpress.com, the free version that they host (and we use currently) does NOT ALLOW CUSTOM SCRIPTING. This means you can’t add widgets – from Widgetbox, if you’re an Amazon affiliate, or hundreds of other services that are providing neat stuff. If you anticipate that you’ll need anything beyond what WordPress.com provides, you should consider other options.
- Preview, DON’T Update, your blog with every revision. I was particularly guilty of this. I don’t know why, but psychologically I just want to hit that update button a lot. In some subscription feeders a notice goes out EVERY TIME you update an article. EGADS! No wonder some of our first subscribers ran away (come back, please, I’ve learned my lesson I promise!)
- If your blogger of choice doesn’t provide it, use a tool like Feedburner to track your subscriptions and provide buttons for your readers to subscribe to your blog via email or their feedreader. You can see how we use them in the column to the right under the heading “Subscribe To This Blog”.
- If you reference a link to another blog in your article, be sure to “send trackbacks”. Understand and do this from the getgo. Don’t just ignore that field! Let the owner of the article know you are quoting them. This increases goodwill and helps increase the visibility of your blog especially as Google and other search engines start giving more weight to what “virtual neighborhood” your website exists within. Problogger’s Beginners Guide to Trackbacks
- Twitter your new blog articles. This is one of the best platforms for announcing your new article en masse and assuming you are providing information expected by your followers, will be welcomed.
- Use a tool like Technorati to help you increase your blog’s visibility and to see who is talking about what you wrote (you won’t always get trackbacks). Again, like some other apps we’ve tried, once you join, it’s not obvious how to find this information. On the home page it’s on the right in a little box. Click on your blog name. Or just go under Blogger Central Tab > Claim Your Blog > and then after you’ve claimed it, click on it to get a URL like this: http://technorati.com/blogs/smallbiztrends.com (only your blog will be at end of the URL – not smallbiztrends.com, which is a great site by the way worth bookmarking and following – on Twitter @smallbiztrends). You can see your rank and down at the bottom “reactions”. They also have a great tool for determing how powerful your tags are called “Charts”, also under the Blogger Central Tab.
More articles of interest:
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