Everything you need to set-up, develop & promote a successful Business Blog

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    A to Z of Business BloggingThis a series of posts entitled the A to Z of Business Blogging which take a look at the some of the elements and benefits of company blogs or corporate blogs.

    A is for Archives

    A blog’s archives are effectively anywhere that posts are stored once they disappear from the blog’s front page. The two main areas which I consider as archive areas are the “Archives” themselves where the posts can be found according to the date they were published and “Categories” where the posts are kept according to the subject matter that they deal with. Both of these are organised so that they are easy to use for your readers and help posts to be easily indexed by the Search Engines – for both these reasons, they are very important.

    The archives in a blog, whatever their format, are also particularly helpful to the author because they are self-organising – this allows us to focus on the posts and the message that we want to communicate rather than worry about the structuring of the blog. The Archives are usually organised by month (though some systems do so weekly) while we have control over the naming of the Categories. This of course allows us to include the main keywords that we wish to focus on as well as making them descriptive.

    But don’t just leave it to the automatic archives to promote the posts that have disappeared from the front page – make sure that you promote your own posts from within your blog as well as encouraging other blogs to link to them as well. To help this:

    • Highlight your most popular posts: make sure that the best or most popular posts you have written are not lost in your archives, so highlight them by linking from a separate page or from your sidebar. A “Top 10 of your Best Posts” is always going to get good results and encourage additional readers;

    • Link to related posts: at the end of a post, link to other posts on your blog which cover similar topics which might interest them. You can do this automatically within WordPress or manually with a little effort – but it’s well worthwhile;

    • Write a Series: By writing a series of posts on a topic, you will have the opportunity to interlink all of the posts and so encourage your readers to make sure that they read all the posts in the series;

    • Link from within posts: you should reference and link to your own posts as well as posts on other blogs or websites when you want to add weight to what you are writing about.

    Whichever way you decide to go about it, use the blog’s archives to your own advantage for both readers and Search Engines alike. However, at the same time, make sure that you don’t leave your posts to simply disappear into your archives – work with your archives and keep the posts they contain as accessible and active as possible.

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    Business Blog Design Series[This is part of a series following on from a post called “Business Blog Design“]

    Making it easy for readers to get around your blog is essential – it’s also very sensible. You put a lot of time and effort into writing your posts, so you want to make sure that they can be found easily and any associated information also highlighted to your blog readers.

    As I mentioned in the original article, if you have special elements – these could be promotions, services, products, giveaways etc. – that you are looking to highlight, then these should be positioned accordingly at the top of your blog, above the fold. This will make these elements easy to locate and additional variations to the blog, as they will no doubt vary over time as your business priorities change.

    However, the rest of your content also needs to be shown off to best effect! The main methods will be via the individual categories and the archives and, from personal experience, the categories which will be most frequently used, so make sure that they are prominently positioned.

    There are some other ways and means that you can include to help encourage people to explore your blog further and therefore allow you to gain maximum benefit from the time that you invested in your posts. Some that you might like to consider are:

    Related posts
    Link to other posts on your blog which contain information related to the post that they are currently reading they are clearly interested in the topic, so help them find more details about it. In WordPress, you can do this with a plug-in called Related Posts.

    Links in your posts
    Within your posts, reference other posts on your blog so that you make it easy for people to find them. Just as you should reference other people’s blogs in your posts as sources of additional information, theres no harm in referencing your own as well.

    Key posts
    You probably have set of key posts (which I call Foundation posts) and which contain information that is key to your services and your business in general – so highlight them, perhaps by creating a list under the heading of “Key information”. If you can’t specifically identify ones, then check your stats package for the posts that attract the most hits or appear most prominently in the Search Engines and then highlight them.

    Most Popular posts
    Check which posts attract most comments or which have the most visitors (again a plug-in can help WordPress users here) and make sure that they are highlighted so that more people can read and share them. The sidebar is a good place to create this list although you could alternatively make a special page.

    Recent Posts
    List your last 5 posts in the sidebar thus encouraging people to read your most recent (and possibly most relevant) offerings. You might avoid these on the main blog homepage as they will be visible but is great for individual post pages – a quick modification to your template will allow you to achieve this.

    Recent Comments
    With blogs being all about communication, show the last few comments in your sidebar so that people can read not only your initial posts but also the comments that your readers have taken the time to leave.

    Show Categories in the Post headers
    Include the names of the categories that the post appears in alongside the title or at the bottom of the post. It will help people to find other posts which are related and that you have categorised in the same way.

    By using these methods, you are giving additional value to your readers by helping them find further information that is relevant to them – at the same time, you are of course promoting more of your own content and so helping the marketing of your blog. As an added bonus, you are also extending the internal linking within your blog which the Search Engines will be pleased to use and give you an extra “plus point” for.

    You spend a lot of time creating good content on your blog so make sure that your Blog Design helps and encourages your readers to find it!

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

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