I once read a post by Marcus Sheridan on his 11-Step Plan to Launching a Successful Business Blog. I thought it was well written but didn’t think it applied to most small business owners who, like me, are either a one person shop or fewer than 5 employees. Therefore, I decided to put my own little plan together because, well, I’ve got 5 blogs (for now…), and most of them are doing pretty well.
1. Write 5 to 10 posts ahead of time – This first helps you to see if you can write blog posts, but it also gives you some early content that you can do something with and not have to worry about writing that second or third post too soon.
2. Set up your blog on your own domain – This is the most crucial thing for having your blog help your website because search engines love new content and, if you post often enough, they’ll love your site and keep coming back for more, which helps your website rank higher.
3. Set up your theme – This is important for three reasons. One, you’ll want to determine how many columns you want for your theme (2 – 5), colors, fonts, etc. Two, you can always change your theme later on, but if you’ve added anything special to the theme you’ll have to remember to add it to your new theme, which many people forget about. And three, you’ll need to be careful if it comes with its own images; trust me on this one. By the way, something I try to do is have the blog theme look as much like my websites as possible for consistency; it’s something to think about.
4. Set up some protections – You’re going to want to look at a few things here before you get started. One, you want to make sure you have a back-up plugin so you can save your content in case something goes wrong with your blog. You’re going to want to set up your spam filter and possibly have a spybot plugin as well. You’re going to want to add a firewall to hide your ISP from invaders, and you’re going to want to add a plugin to keep people from having unlimited access in trying to crack your passwords. Finally, you might want to add a copyright plugin so that you have proof that something is yours first in case someone tries to scrap, aka steal it and claim it as their own.
5. Set up your feed & distribution system – As Twitter has started phasing things out plugins might not be the best way to work on getting the word out about your blog. You might also need to worry about the feeds you create so people can subscribe to your blog as my favorite feed program, Feedburner, might be gone within the year (Google bought it & is now not supporting it all that much). I don’t have a recommendation for feeds at this moment but a website called Twitterfeed seems to be working well in sending my blog posts to Twitter when they go live.
6. Create your posts, post-dating most of them – This covers #1 because most blogging software allows you to post-date articles. So, if you have 10 articles and space them apart every 3 or 4 days, you have ready made content that will go the first month to a month and a half on a regular basis, and this gets your blog established as one that will have continual content, and eases your mind for a while because you don’t have to worry about sitting down and having to write something new. And if you do, just post date that one as well.
7. Send the link to the first post to almost everyone you know – This is a one time thing unless your friends and business associates are a tolerant bunch. When I created my second blog, I sent the first post to everyone I knew so they could decide if it was for them or not. Promotion can get dicey at a certain point, but initially you want to let everyone know you’ve got a blog. By having some consistent posts early on, those people who do check it out will know that you’re not a one trick pony and that you’re serious about continuing to blog.
Can you do these things? Of course you can!
12 thoughts on “First Seven Steps To Small Business Blogging”
Hey Mitch, great points. I especially love that you mentioned having your own domain. It’s important to do this for other reasons than appeasing the search engines. The most important one, as you well know, is that it gives you total control over what you write. It also gives you the added security that you don’t have to worry about losing your blog because of something completely out of your control.
As to themes, well you know how much I love mine. I’ve actually paid to update to a completely new version of the paid one I’m using. Gives me even more control. Especially with the plugins he’s developing for it.
Mmmm is seems on link is one link too many. Damn plugin wiped all my content after the link and put a / wherever I had a ‘. Now I’ve forgotten what I had said 🙁
Oh yeah Pete, any post that has a link is supposed to automatically go into the spam filter and I’ll put it out of there. I’m going to have another post coming up about aplug that I’m betting you already know something about to protect one’s blog.
As to the other, yes, having the freedom to write about whatever one wants to write about is definitely freeing. But for business purposes, one shouldn’t ignore the SEO benefits.
Love it Mitch! Great list of how to blog in small business effectively. With the “Carve Out Time” item, it’s vital that you choose a proper frequency of posting, and keep it pretty close to that same schedule each week.This allows your readers to come to expect when your posts will appear. A consistent posting schedule we’ve found is important to not only growing our blog, but keeping your readers coming back and staying interested.
Thanks Amrish. I think that recommendation would definitely come in the second set of 7 steps to follow. One would hope that in scheduling those first 10 posts that the owner would post them in a way that they’d be starting a schedule. For instance, 10 posts, if one decides to use 2 posts a week, gives them a full month and an extra week to write more, and that’s not such a bad schedule. Even if they only wanted one post a week the first 2 1/2 months are set. So, it’s important to first write something and then figure out how often to do it afterwards.
For newbie in blogging, it’s a nice trick if we will create 5 to 10 posts first, just like what you have said, to not worry about writing that second or third post too soon. It’s a practical advice Mitch.
It would be not as difficult as another bloggers who had a hard time writing the second, third and so on.
The next tips are easy to follow of course; I was just glued with your strategy tip on the very first number. It caught me off guard.
Thanks Metz. I think it’s very important for people to figure out whether they have the capacity to write or not, and it’s not always skill but motivation to get it done. After that, it’s just getting things set up and moving on.
Wish I knew these basic tips you listed before I started my first blog, could’ve been more easier for me. Hope someone finds this helpful.
Thanks Grace. I wish I knew them earlier also but the things I’ve learned since then… whew! 🙂
I’m unable to write posts ahead of time. I’ve tried it and this recipe doesn’t work for me. Although I do create titles and an idea or two as they come to me. I’d say 90% of the time, I’m writing on Saturday or Sunday when I publish my post.
I think the first step to become a blogger is establishing a personal contract with yourself that says how often you’ll post a blog. Once a week, month, whatever and stickin to it.
That’s what’s worked for me. What works for you?
I write when I want to write. lol Okay, kind of true… I have 2 articles a week go live on this blog most of the time; sometimes 3. I vacillate between writing ahead of time and waiting. I have lots of articles ready to go on this one, but when something new hits me and I want it to go earlier I just back one of those other articles up. On the business blog… hey, didn’t I cover this in the article? lol
On second thought, the first step is believing you can actually write.
That’s a good first step lol
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