How to Start and Manage a Blog
Managing a blog is just like adding another product or service to your company in that this new endeavor will take time to set up, manage and promote. Blogs will require time in your schedule for marketing, networking, writing and scheduling in posts and managing comments. However blogging can be very flexible – you can schedule posts to go live twice a day or you can choose to post once a month, it is up to you.
Whatever you do, be consistent because readers will rely on new content and if they visit your site expecting new content that isn’t there, they likely won’t be back. That means your hard work attracting them to your blog was lost. The truth is that most of your readers will be new to your blog; about 80% of them have not visited it before. It is important to provide a reason for people to come back, to leave a comment or to share the posts with their friends on social media.
Before rushing the publication of your blog, take a few days to become familiar with the platform, the templates and tools that they have made available for you to use. Most blog service providers will also have an administration centre where you can learn a great deal about effectively managing and promoting your blog.
Take the time to browse a few blogs that reach an audience similar to the audience you hope to attract. Examine the kinds of advertisers utilizing their blog and try to determine who they are, what are they selling, and what may have attracted them to this blog. Take a look at the topics the blog has covered over the past year. Watch for ways that they have utilized the tools you hope to use on your blog. Look at their chosen theme, colours and imagery that are they using. Determine what you liked and what you didn’t like about their blog, and make notes on thoughts you may have during this process. This information will help you refine your blog into something distinct and effective.
Once you have decided on who your ideal reader will be, the theme and design, the kind of content you will offer and the frequently you intend to post – now it is time to determine what you hope to get out of the blog. Perhaps you hope to generate sales or gain more customers. Perhaps you are using it to create dialogue, or solidify customer relations, or share information about your business activities, behind-the-scene topics and to highlight your green policies or celebrate suppliers’ charitable donations. Maybe you are going to use the blog to reinforce and gain networking opportunities. It is perfectly fine to have several intentions for the blog, the point is to determine what they might be. Armed with this, the process of making content creation, blog policies and assigning staff to manage the blog becomes easier.
It is very helpful to create a few files on the computer to keep items easily accessible. Create a file to store future content, ideas for content and resources like EzineArticles.com for instance. Have a separate folder where you can store the images, ads and logos that will be used on the blog.
Just like your email signature, you’ll want to create a small by-line that will be placed at the end of every post. This might be a logo, a business meme, a message to your readers, or simply a single URL to your business website.
Utilizing the option for multiple pages on the blog can be very helpful as well. Creating an About Us page is a great way to reach out to those new readers explaining who you are, links and contact information. A second page for media appearances is also a great idea, perhaps a third that offers reviews, endorsements or customer comments. Perhaps a page that has a contact form for reader feedback. The options are only limited by the blog platform (Blogspot, WordPress, e-commerce site, etc.) that you have decided to use.
Once you start blogging, be sure to encourage people to utilize the social media buttons located at the bottom of every post. Every time someone clicks on those media buttons your posts are shared with their social media contacts. Be sure to use those buttons yourself and encourage your staff to as well. Get connected with social media groups, forums, networks, article distribution sites, and any other outlet that is relative to your blog. Networking with other bloggers and like-minded businesses will help drive traffic to your new blog as well.