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  • Warren: Blogging and Social Media definitely go hand in hand. Having a successful social presence can do a lot for a...
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    One of the elements that you will need to consider as part of the process of planning your Business Blog is to decide what you want to call it. You may have chosen a name for it earlier on, indeed in many cases this has been the first thing that people have decided about when they first thought about setting up a Business Blog!

    It is important, however, and so certainly worth spending the time to look at the elements which might influence your decision. It’s important because this is what people will remember first and foremost, this is what they will use to recommend your blog and this is what the blog search engines will use to refer to your Blog at every turn.

    The name of your Blog is likely to be mainly a personal decision you may want to choose a name which reflects its contents, which incorporates the name of your business or which you simply liked and just wanted to use. A couple of words of warning on this:

    • you need to choose something that you will feel comfortable promoting. So be aware that a name that you think is funny or clever now, needs to still be clever or funny in 12 months time;

    • you may want to have the same domain name as the name of your blog, so it might be advisable to check on the availability of the domain name as well;

    • in most blog software, the name of the blog is automatically included in the Title tag which is important in Search Engine Optimisation, so you may like to consider using one of your keywords in the Blog’s name.

    The decision on the domain name that you use for your Blog is important as well, as I touched upon above – there is a fuller look at this area in the article Choosing a Domain Name for your Business Blog which covers the areas that you need to consider during the process.

    An additional point, some blogs give you the opportunity to have a tagline as well which is also used in the Title tag on the first page of your blog. Since you are given the opportunity, then select something which is catchy and works for you or add a short description about what the blog is aiming to do.

    It’s a competitive world on the internet, so do make use of any opportunity to publicise the contents of your blog and this is a useful one – if you want to see how many people forget about this, then just type “just another wordpress weblog” (including the inverted commas) into Google. There are so many blogs using WordPress which have left this default setting which then gets picked up by Google – each of these could be improving their ability to be found simply with this small change.

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    Seminar FAQsBusiness Blogging Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

    Q: Where should I host my blog? Is a hosted service better or should I host it myself?

    A: When it comes to a Business Blog, we would always recommend that you host it yourself for the simple reason that it gives you most control over it and allows you to make any changes that you may require.

    Hosted systems such as Blogger are great for personal blogs because they are free and because there is very little for you to do except start to write. They do come with a risk though, as there may come a time when you want to do more with your blog than can be done with a hosted system of this type, at which point it is very difficult to move all of your content across to your new blog. Even making permanent (301) redirects so that people can still find all of your content that has been indexed is not possible on some of these blog systems, which will make for a lot of frustration.

    There have even been cases reported where proper Business blogs have been mistaken for spam blogs (splogs) and had their content deleted. Not a good situation! As we point out in the Business Blogging email course, making the right choice in terms of your blogging platform is a key early decision.

    If you do decide to host it yourself, you have a second decision to make whether to select a new domain name and run your blog there or whether you should incorporate the blog into your current website. Both options have merit. If it deals with issues which are distinct from those that you talk about on your main website then it may be sensible to select a relevant domain name and separate the two. However, by incorporating the Business Blog alongside your other content (and integrating it graphically into the look and feel of the site) then you can use it as a complementary means of engaging with prospects and customers, and so enhance the positioning of your business through it.

    Both of these hosted options are valid but overall, primarily for reasons of control and security, we would recommend that you steer away from hosted services for your blog when it is going to be such an integral part of your business.

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    There are lots of different opinions and descriptions of what a blog is, so it would seem sensible to start with a brief overview.

    The name comes from a contraction of web log and it started life as a personal online publishing system. The blog would be a place on the internet where the author (normally an individual) could publish their thoughts and opinions on whatever subject they liked. These would then appear in chronological order.

    Start Point

    A good place to start for some background on blogs is Wikipedia. They describe a blog as:

    “The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”.

    These are all true and yet only provide half the story. A blog is effectively a special type of website which has allowed people who previously had no real access to publishing on the web to write and express their own opinions. There are also now very important marketing tools for businesses (see below).

    Special Characteristics

    So what are the special characteristics that blogs have which make them so great both for personal use and for business use. Well, the main ones are:

    • No technical knowledge required: you dont need technical expertise to write a blog. You add pages or articles through a “Windows” type of interface so there is no need to rely on a web designer to update it for you.

    • Readers can leave comments: your readers can respond to your posts so that you can start see whos interested in the same areas as you or as a business open a conversation with potential clients, suppliers or partners. The perfect opener to developing a relationship and a network!

    • Automatically organised: ‘categories’ and ‘archives’ are integral parts of a blog and each post will automatically be placed correctly according to the selection you make. This gives great organisation and structure to a blog which is perfect for visitors and Search Engines alike and allow you to concentrate on the content

    • Search Engine magnets: with regular posts, categorised content and search engine friendly links and addresses, business blogs become ideal places for Search Engines to find the type of content they love and you can rank very highly!

    • Multiple Authors: not only can one person add content but you can allow access to any number of people so that you have several authors contributing to a topic or a series of topics. It also opens up the possibilities for blogs as tools ideally suited to internal communications within a company.
    • Internal and External Links: blogs thrive by links and referring to other articles so that conversations and ideas can be taken up and developed. At its best, this allows a viral effect in terms of promotion and helps develop both relationships and networks.

    • Permalinks: every post and every category has its own individual address, forever! This means that you can refer to them in articles, emails, newsletters etc safe in the knowledge that they will always be found. Another great feature for the Search Engines.

    Business Blogs

    However, over the past 12 – 18 months, this technology has been adopted to a much larger extent by businesses as a new and very powerful marketing tool which has allowed them to communicate with their customers, enter into dialogue with them and helped to create relationships and networks online. As a result, many companies has successfully used them to help to dominate their niche and market themselves more effectively to customers and prospects alike.

    To learn more about Business Blogs and how to use them, you may find our own Business Blogging email course to be useful. It’s free but very good! :)

    Personal Blogs

    A personal blog is generally set up to allow the author to discuss their views on anything and everything, so the topics change with each post according to mood or inclination. This is where blogs started and it is essentially a personal diary or scrapbook, which can be great fun to both read and write.

    There are now tools which are freely available to allow anyone to set up a personal blog quickly and simply – while these are not advised for a Business Blog simply because they offer less control over a tool which will become key to your business. The most well know is Blogger, owner by Google, though there are others which are as good if not as well known.

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