Today’s guest post is written by web 2.0 and social media consultant, Derrick Sorles of Business Blogging Consultants. In this post Derrick breaks down the top 3 mistakes to avoid when starting a blog, great read!
>> Read Derrick’s full bio here
In my last article, What Is Web 2.0 and Why Should You Care? I defined, in my words, what revolutionary changes have occurred in how we communicate on the Internet forever. The shift in power from The Big Guy to you and me, the impact on consumer/B2B decision-making and behavior across all industries, and most importantly, the shift from “pushed” canned marketing messages to “pulled” answers, information, news, and entertainment chosen by the consumer (you and me!).
Yes the Power To The People Web 2.0 environment has changed everything; “pull” versus “push” information (specifically through keyword search, i.e. “top training consulting firm Denver” can someone find you?), user -generated content and feedback, information sharing, collaboration and social network and/or online communities of folks with common interests and needs.
Often as consultants, our key role is to help clients find solutions to increase market share and drive new business revenue and opportunities. So we have to ask ourselves some of these key questions to begin to format a new strategy to be a player in this Web 2.0 environment:
- What impact is Web 2.0 having on the/my industry?
- How is Web 2.0 changing behavior or decision making for our products and/or services?
- How can we best utilize Web 2.0 tools for reputation/brand management, increasing customer conversations and customer experience/engagement opportunities?
Well, these are BIG questions and come with a not-one-size-fits-all, debate-able and time-consuming solution. I ended my last article with “Start A Blog, Start A Blog, Start A Blog…” and promised to talk about the differences between weblogs (blogs for short) and websites. However, as I thought more and more about this article, I did not want to create a bunch of hype about starting a business blog and send you off with an excited, loaded gun about starting blogging and not knowing how to shoot to win.
So for now I’d like to share some common mistakes people/companies often make when setting-up a blog initially and what you want to avoid doing, ever. Next time we’ll talk about the reasons why you need to be blogging, sooner versus later, and how they compliment a website if you have one, but you’ll already be equipped with the key mistakes not to make.
1.) The Infindability Factor of Subdomains – Building Your Blog As A Page Within Your Exising Website. I’m sure there are many people who may disagree with us on this, specifically most Webmasters who don’t want to lose your business and don’t understand the blogosphere, but know how to build a website, and not for its Search Engine Optimization (SEO) properties. My partner and I are not Web technical guys but what we do know we’ve learned from trial and error over the last 3 years and 100+ blogs later. What has proven to work for us is what we preach and coach upon. What works in search engine findability and getting on Google page one organically for keyword search is the ultimate goal in our strategies. Here’s an example of such findability: Let’s say I’m a Homeopathic Doctor and my website is intentiontoheal.net and on page 6 of my website my “blog” is housed as a page. There could be many “problems”, or only one, on previous pages that prohibit or shut down search engines from getting to my blog page content through the website-major issue number one. Problem Two-the main URL for the blog page link offers no keyword search engine lift around any primary keywords for the business. A number of choices exist to who houses your blogsite software/server space and domain name. Based on our experience with clients just starting out, GoDaddy.com sells a domain name and QuickBlogcast blogging software for under $50 a year and provides 24/7 customer service-they have served us and our clients extremely well over the years. A much better and user-friendly solution, I believe, than typepad.com or other competitors. FYI, if you are more tech savvy and willing to endure a longer learning curve with no direct support, WordPress is a very popular, open software blogging solution. If this is a blog for a business, do not use Google’s free blogger software as your main blog site for many reasons, including it is perceived as very unprofessional by many in business circles and you don’t own your domain name. Great though however for micro-landing page sites encouraging visitors to your main blog or website URL.
2.) Findability and URL/Domain Name Choice For A Blog. We do our research with Google and find out what are the key or related key word searches that would represent the highest number of potential clients through keyword search and how do we penetrate those pages by optimizing a domain name for the blog site to be housed at? In the above example shared, we realized “naturalmedicinetreatmentalternatives”.com had all the keywords needed for the optimum key word search marketplace the client was seeking. We then “pointed” or “redirected” the webite page link AND a Web name people could remember and/or hopefully spell to send them to the same .com site. By doing so, she now has dramatically increased her potential virtual audience/readership/prospect base because of her improved findability factor simply through a better, independent domain name and site for her blog and key words.
3.) Writing Blog Content That Is Industry Relevant and Search Engine/Key Word Friendly. In the Web 2.0 world, one simply has to accept that a website alone is a dinosaur in keyword search, yet still can be a vital part very often of converting sales, the true workhorse. They just can’t compete against all the blogs out there reaching top search engine rankings for keywords and acting as the soft-sell, Venus fly traps for new business. Therefore, start and make your blog a dynamic, online newsletter/magazine and let your website remain static, or publish to both if you must, but do include a blog in your marketing mix. Be the expert in your industry-aggregate the best of the best information, answers questions, provide news and entertainment that your clients and prospects are looking for. Be sure to write or republish content that is search engine friendly. For example, the article/post/entry title becomes the “permalink” and how it is indexed in the search engines. Most programs allow you to manipulate or add keywords before publishing. Let’s say I’ve titled an entry for my blog “Your Secret Weapon” which will help no new relevant prospects find my business really, but if I had titled it “Natural Medicine and Treatment Alternatives to Fighting Breast Cancer-Your Secret Weapon” now I’m playing in a whole new keyword search sandbox. Moreover, so many companies fail to think about keywords for search when writing text.
Compare these two examples and you’ll understand what I mean:
A.) Not Keyword Search Friendly at All:
“What you consume makes a significant impact on your quality of life. Making the investment to learn how to live a sustainable lifestyle can dramatically improve consistent health issues.”
B.) Same Basic Message-VERY Keyword Search Friendly:
“Nutrients, natural foods and common toxins consumed while fighting breast cancer have a significant impact on a woman’s health, lifestyle and overall quality of life. Making the investment in your health to learn how nutrition, vitamins/supplementation and exercise can extend a healthy, sustainable lifestyle dramatically and consistently improve long-term health and wellness issues of many breast cancer patients.”
Simply start by defining your “who” “what” “where “when” “ how” and “whys” etc. when publishing online because those non-definitive words otherwise offer no SEO lift (“she” “it” “there”). Use relevant adverbs and adjectives to optimize your post content and title as well (without going overboard). For example: “women’s” health, “natural” foods, “wellness” issues, “naturally,” “organically.”
So in summary, if you must start a consulting blog now, I hope this advice will help steer you away from some very common, initial pitfalls. There is so much more we will be discussing in upcoming articles relative to maximizing your business blogging effort, so please stay tuned!