From personal to corporate, a blog is a must-have when it comes to your online presence. They help create visibility, awareness and a touch point for customers, fans, fellow hobbyists, whoever you chose to address. Blogs can turn into a day-to-day lifelong commitment to prose, or a random visual record of events and achievements. Whatever your blogging style of choice, there are several rules and best practices that everyone should follow.
1. Choose the Best Platform For You
The word blog means so much more than just a stream of text these days, WordPress and Blogger are leading platforms that can help you craft well-designed sites or pages. Pinterest lets you take a photographic lead to your blog, while Periscope is the new way to share your live video, or you can host shows on YouTube and Facebook.
These and many other niche services are all viable. Consider how you can best present yourself, your company or products to the world and go for broke with the most appropriate platform, or play safe and stick with a standard blog you can add many types of media to. Go for an appropriate style and design to attract users
2. Find A Voice For Your Blog
How you address your audience depends on what you want to say and who you wish to appeal to. Personal blogs should reflect your own voice, while a company voice can be narrated by a “persona”, with whoever updates the blog taking on that role. Alternatively, blogs updated by a range of people can have many voices to lend variety and unique perspectives to the mix.
Over time, you will discover what sort of content attracts an audience. Keep mixing that in with new ideas and vibrant images, riveting information and exciting content to keep people coming back for more. Any content that you can provide, either a unique insight or a useful collection of statistics or facts will always be eagerly sought out. Infographics are very popular and easy to create, but don’t go overboard.
3. Get More Insight Into Your Followers
However you track your followers, be it the number of subscribers, clicks or comments, you will want a useful way to be able to contact them. The best way to capture that information is through a contact form. By gathering useful information, even if it is just a name and email address, you can use it to send out regular updates or newsletters. Entice them to sign up, with offers for exclusive content or information and keep in touch as you cultivate a relationship with your followers to find out what they want from you.
4. Build A Reputation
Blogs rarely grow a massive following instantly. Instead, they generally develop slowly until established, and then pick up the pace as more people share news about them, be prepared to put in the hard yards on your blog. No matter how niche, or how small the audience, they will come, as long as you keep at it and provide a genuine voice. Stay true to that tone, and don’t go for gimmicks or pad your blog out with dubious content, users can spot fakes and fakers, and will turn away instantly.
5. Link and Be Linked To
The key to any degree of success is the use of web links. Linking to other blogs and sites will help your ranking. Getting people to link to you, or adding relevant links in forums, discussions and across social media will also help people discover your blog. Paying for links, comments, reviews or followers falls under the faking it category and will be immediately obvious to real followers. There is endless discussion of link types, but don’t let that drive the direction of your blog.
6. Protect Your Blog
Successful blogs are prone to be cloned or have their content being ripped off. Ensure you patrol the web for plagiarists. Also, ensure that your blog text and images are backed up somewhere safe, in case your blog is hacked, the server if corrupted or the host fails. Ensure you only allow trusted contributors access and safeguard passwords and use two-factor authentication to make certain no one else can take control of the site.
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