An online blog is a portal that allows individuals and businesses to submit online newsletters, journals or diaries intended for private or public consumption. Online blogging is a growing search marketing tool enabling entrepreneurs and businesses to engage with their consumer base.
How do I create a blog?
Blogging is one of the easiest and cheapest online marketing methods to use today. There are many ways to create a blog and get your voice heard by the masses. You can choose a free blog provider or to integrate an open source blog into your website using software such as WordPress and Movable Type.
With a free blog provider you will be provided with minimal options to customise your blog. The beauty of an open source program is that you can customise the entire look and feel of your blog. With WordPress and Movable Type you can brand your blog and make it appear a simple extension to your website.
Where can I host my blog?
Many free blog providers also offer free hosting with a subdomain URL included as part of the package. However, if you have the capability it is recommended to host your blog on your own server using a URL from your own website to improve the perceived importance of your brand.
Some web hosts now offer free installation of WordPress as part of their hosting package, enabling your business to have its own blog presence within minutes.
Why do I need a blog and a website?
The blogosphere is entirely different from an e-commerce website as it provides an intimate atmosphere in which you can provide industry news, hints and advice to your consumer base. It is a stripped down version of a website, allowing you to speak one-to-one with the customer to talk freely about products.
Regular blog articles can improve consumer trust in your brand with increased credibility in your chosen niche.
Choosing a niche for your blog
It is incredibly important to choose the right niche for your blog. By providing authoritative information you are far more likely to succeed. Whether you are choosing a niche to discuss topics that you are passionate about or to simply make money you should research your niche and visit popular existing blogs in your field for inspiration.
Once you have selected your niche you must choose the right keywords to target for search marketing purposes. Weigh up the decision of choosing keywords with high search traffic and keywords that have very little competition to improve your presence in major search engines.
How to engage your readers
Setting up and hosting your blog is actually the easy part – engaging your readers and encouraging them to come back for more is a greater challenge. Interact with your blogging circle and provide polls, competitions and exclusive offers that will captivate your readership and more importantly encourage them to spread the word.
The art of self-promotion
Take matters into your own hands and market your online blog using the multitude of social media tools that allow you to share articles, encourage debate and create your very own community. Article marketing is now extremely popular to further establish your online presence. With informative online PR articles you can link back to your blog and website, giving you greater prominence for your time invested.