Have you ever thought about setting up a blog? It’s easier than you think and the potential benefits of doing so are substantial. In this post, I’m going to outline why you need to be blogging and how to set up your own blog from scratch. I’ll also share a list of some of my favorite blogging resources.
Why you should be blogging
Blogging is a great way to build your presence online, drive traffic to your website, and establish yourself as a thought leader. It’s also a way to build your brand, demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, and fuel many of your other content marketing efforts. In other words, it’s one relatively small investment that you can make that, if done well, can make a big impact on your business.
How to get started
Starting a blog is very easy. Here are the steps that you need to follow:
1. Decide what you want to blog about. There are literally millions of blogs out there. Now before you start to feel deflated and wonder what the point is, remember, your blog is your chance to let your audience hear directly from you. Think about what topic your blog should cover (maybe it’s e-mail archiving, or maybe it’s cloud computing or disaster recovery). Whatever the case, figure out what the essence of your blog is going to be about. The more specific you can be the better. It will help you attract more relevant followers than if you write a little bit about one topic, and a little about another, and so on.
2. Pick a blogging platform. I highly recommend WordPress (probably the most popular and user friendly blogging platform out there), but there are lots of options for you to chose from, each with its own pros and cons. If you’re having a hard time picking one, check out this post for some tips.
3. Choose a good domain name and theme for your blog. Once you’ve picked a platform, your blog is going to need a domain name (i.e., the URL that people type in to access it). Your domain name should either brand you or your company, or explain what the blog is about. Most blogging platforms also let you choose from a variety of free and paid themes that allow you to customize the look and feel of your site. While it’s easy enough to swap the theme of your blog after you’ve picked one, moving to a new domain name is a different and more cumbersome matter, so choose wisely.
4. Develop a list of topics that you want to blog about. The worst thing you can do is start a blog and then realize that you have no idea what you’re going to write about. Before putting out your first post, make sure that you’ve already come up with a list of ideas for future posts. Here are some potential ones to consider:
- A post explaining what your blog is about
- Top 10 lists
- Book reviews
- Lists of best practices or tips
- Recaps of good meetings or conversations
- Lists of useful resources
- How-to posts
- Case studies
- Round ups of other blogs you like
5. Start writing. Writing is probably the hardest part of blogging. You’ve got to get into a rhythm where you are blogging at least once (but ideally multiple) times a week. That takes discipline, but it’s the only way to build any momentum and get people to start following your blog. Remember to keep your posts relatively short (500-700 words), to always include an image, and to make your headlines as pithy and engaging as possible.
6. Actively share your posts. After you’re done writing each post, make sure that you do everything you can to promote them socially through sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and even Pinterest. People won’t find your blog on their own (at least initially), so you’ve got to figure out ways to drive them to it.
- HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator: http://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator
- 6 Tactics That Turn a Blog Into a Business Engine: http://www.copyblogger.com/blog-tactics/
- The Ultimate Guide to Corporate Blogging https://labs.openviewpartners.com/ebook/corporate-blogging/
- Your 10-Step Blogging Guide http://www.inc.com/guides/10-step-guide-to-blogging.html
I hope this quick primer on blogging gives you the motivation you needed to get blogging now!