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    Business Blog Post TitlesAs you sit down to pen your next post, you’ll probably already have a clear idea of what you want to communicate and how you want to go about getting that message across. Nevertheless, unless you can entice people to read what you’ve written, then all of your hard work will have been in vain. So take care with the title you use for the post as it plays a key role in that process.

    Why are Post Titles important?

    Well, they’re important in the same way that a newspaper headline is – they attract our attention, offer an insight or a “teaser” as to what the post contains and hopefully encourage us to read the full article. We have a huge amount of information presented to us every day, and so it’s really important to grab peoples attention in the short space of time that we have before they move on to something else. It the case of our blogs, we generally only have the post title at our disposal to achieve this.

    However, there is an added complication. We need to remember that we are in fact trying to attract the attention of two groups: readers (or should I clarify by saying human readers) and Search Engines.

    If they both reacted in the same way to words then things would be easy, if a little boring. However, they dont and nor are they attracted by the same things. While human readers are attracted by humour, nuance, plays on words as well as information, Search Engines are attracted purely by the words which we provide. Ideally, we need to find a way to cater for both.

    Where do we see the titles?

    However, we also have to bear in mind what people actually see in different situations and places – bear with me here, its important! The first obvious place is on your blog itself – at the top of your post is the title which will hopefully inspire you to read the post below it. Nevertheless, you are already on the blog, so in some ways the battle is already half won!

    The title of your post also appears in the main Blog Search Engines such as Technorati or Google Blog Search and in the RSS Feeds that people receive in their readers. As people browse here, then the title is critical in attracting their attention as they skim through the articles on offer. The more information that we all try to process in as short a space of time as possible then the less time we’ll have to attract attention and the more critical it will become.

    Post Titles and Title Tags

    However, when it come to the main Search Engines, things are slightly different. What appears on the results pages of Search Engines such as Google and Yahoo is not actually the title of your post but the Title Tag. This is distinct from your post title and something which you can control separately. The Title Tag is doubly important because it is an important element that the main Search Engines look at when ranking pages – they do take note of the title of your post, but they take much more interest in the Title Tag.

    So which way to go? My own preference is to keep the title interesting without making it too cryptic, and I always try to include the main keyword for the article. In addition, I make sure that, where necessary, I modify the Title Tag to ensure that that is keyword rich. (More details in my SEO series and a great WordPress plug-in from Stephen Spencer to help you).

    In other words, I try to appeal to both audiences. You are best placed to know what will appeal to your readers and you can guess that, for Search Engines, the principal keyword phrases for the post are going to be key. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to combine both as well as you can.

    This you have to read

    So where to find more information about titles, headlines and how to write them? Well, if you only go to one place, then head on over to Copyblogger’s posts on Magnetic Headlines. Highly recommended!

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    No, not being offensive – just taking a stroll back down memory lane to my days as a linguist and in particular my Latin classes.

    The word Amateur actually comes from the latin amatorem (nom. amator) meaning lover, from the verb amare meaning to love. And one of the key elements that you really need to have as a blogger is a love or a passion for the subject that you are writing about. If you dont have this, then it will certainly show through in your writing

    Passion can make a real difference to how you communicate your message. Next time you are discussing something with friends, take a moment to look around and youll quickly spot who is truly interested in the subject. Youll see it in their body language, in the way that they speak, the words they use and how they interact with others. At the end of the day, they stand out and thats what we want to do when we write a blog.

    Even in business blogging, particularly when it comes to niche business areas, we need to communicate both our knowledge and our passion for what we are writing about – both will be factors which influence and attract our readers. As a blogger, if you are not passionate about your subject, then you cant realistically expect your readers to be. However, if you can get across your enthusiasm, then that can really be infectious.

    Of course, when we communicate in writing, and particularly online, we have to rely mainly on the words and language that we use. That doesnt necessarily mean that we have to spend more time poring over every comma and full stop, though. Very often something written spontaneously conveys our enthusiasm and the message we want to get across so much better.

    So to really get your message across when you blog, communicate with passion even if it does make you an amateur!

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    Everyone loves a story. Stories are part and parcel of our history and have their roots in the “oral tradition” which spans all cultures, when news and tales alike were passed down by word of mouth, and storytellers were as important to the fabric of society as any of the professions that we know today.

    Even now, in a world where there is a multitude of different media to choose from, we still love to read or listen to a good story. We are brought up on them and we remember them. With stories, we identify much more easily with what we are being told and get involved more than we would with a simple stream of information. In turn, this allows us to remember it much more easily as well.

    So what’s your point, Mark?

    Well, blogging is just another of those media, albeit a relatively new one. The keys to its success are content and the way that we present it … and our goal is that people should remember what we say and pass it on to others. So give them a helping hand, and communicate your message with a story. Even at its simplest level, you can frame a story with a context and personality or at least set the scene, so that our imagination can take over.

    In any case, we even have huge advantages over our story-telling predecessors because:

    • when we post to our blog, people can go back to it time and time again because our story and its message is always available;
    • it can be easily distributed and won’t suffer from “Chinese Whispers” because people can refer directly to our original version;
    • we don’t need to gather an audience around us in order to tell our story, there is always one accessible online.

    Now if I’d been ultra clever, I would have presented this post as a story … weaving my web and luring you in to make my point, rather than stating it as plainly as I have done. Ah well, such is life – next time perhaps! However, open your minds to a great post, or indeed two posts, from The CopyBlogger who demonstrates this far more eloquently than I could, so, if you haven’t already had the pleasure, drop by The most powerful blogging technique there is and then read the follow up post.

    Then come back and tell me I’m wrong if you like. Bet you won’t! Do come back, though, for the next gripping instalment …! ;)

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    Better Business Blogging - Quick Bloggers Guide

    As you start to post you want to set out your stall early on, both for yourself and also for your readers. You can do this by giving a clear indication of what subject areas you are going to be covering, how often you are going to be posting and what your approach is going to be.

    Getting the first posts in place is always a telling time and you will probably spend longer on these than on any of the others. Dont worry though, the more you write, the easier it will become, and you will find that you soon settle into a rhythm and develop your own approach to the Blog.

    Some elements that you should remember and which will help you in this are:

    a) Plan out your first posts
    As you start, map out what you want to cover during the first few days and weeks, and note down the topics that you feel comfortable with. This will provide you with a framework to work with and will allow you to concentrate on your writing.

    b) Decide how often you want to / can post
    There is no set timescale as to how often you should post though, in general, the more frequently you can post the better. The one caveat is that you need to maintain the quality of your posts, because this is what you will be primarily judged on. You may find this post on How often should I blog? useful.

    c) Try to define your style
    One of the reasons that blogs work so well is the personal style you add to it which differentiates them from the sanitised marketing speak of some corporate websites. While you can develop your own style and tone as you go along, try to settle on one you are comfortable with early on.

    d) Write some “Foundation” Posts
    In the first month, try to write and include 3-4 key “Foundation” articles, ones that sum up some of the areas and concepts that you will be focusing on in your blog as a whole. These could be simply instructive in nature or could contain a number of different key concepts that you will expand on in later posts over time.

    e) Plan a Series
    Writing a series of posts on a subject which is important to your overall subject area is a good method of getting you going and establishing a relevant area of focus in your Business blog. It will allow you to write on a topic you are particularly comfortable with which will help give you some momentum and, as they will be themed around a single topic, they will also be nicely attractive to Search Engines.

    f) Keep abreast of what is happening in your chosen area
    If you are going to be a primary source of information for your readers in your industry or niche then you will need to keep up to date with developments in it and be prepared to give your opinion on them. In any case, this will not only help you to add relevant content to your site but will also add value to your readers and build their trust and confidence in you and what you have to say.

    g) Avoid trying to directly sell or directly market
    As a word of warning, avoid the temptation to use your Blog to sell directly. A blog is not a tool for direct selling or direct advertising and trying to use it as such is likely to be counter productive. Your readers will come to your Blog because they are interested in what you are writing about and want to find out more about the subject this will allow you start to engage with them.

    h) Make sure you have key elements in place
    There are some key structural elements in your blog that you want to make sure you have such as a profile to help your readers easily identify whose blog they are reading and a way to contact you, and a prominent positioning of your RSS feed to allow them to subscribe. (Check out some mistakes in blog design.)

    If you can concentrate on making sure that these elements are in place over the first few weeks of writing your blog, then you will have an excellent foundation on which to build.

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    Blog Consultant questions: Ask the Blog CoachBusiness Blogging Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    “How often should I blog?” is a question which always crops up in the first conversation I have with anyone about Business Blogging and one to which I know that they are desperate for a simple answer, whether it is “once an hour”, “once a day”, “once a week” or just “once”.

    However, as you might have already guessed, there are no hard and fast rules for this Jonathan Schwartz posts on his blog at Sun once a week more or less, whereas Darren Rowse at Problogger serves up several posts on a daily basis. Both are well read, well respected and successful.

    What has made each of them so successful is that they have focused in on what their readers want from their individual blogs and provided them with it. They are intrinsically very different but perfectly in tune with the reason why they are blogging, the audience they are writing for and what that readership expects.

    If I were to offer some guidelines, then these are the ones that I would pass on:

    • Post as often as you can without compromising the quality
      Quality beats quantity every time in my opinion. Quality will get you noticed and is more likely to encourage people to develop relationships with you. Granted, a single post in a month had better be really really good, but you get my drift.

    • Post when you have something relevant/interesting/significant to say
      There is a lot of information being pumped out onto the web and much of it fails to make any sort of impact or contribution. So, when you post something, do all you can to ensure that it is worth reading and won’t just be making up the numbers.

    • Post as regularly as you have told your readers you are going to
      If you have made a commitment to your readers then try to stick to it if you need to change it then inform them and then stick to your new commitment. Its all about communication.

    • Post as regularly as your subject area / topic requires
      There are some subject areas where a constant flow of information is highly valued; other topics require fewer posts and more in depth analysis. When you write on your specialist area, judge your own rhythm of posting accordingly.

    Remember that one of the main benefits of a blog is the interaction it allows you with your readers – so use it and talk to them! Actually ask for their opinion on how often you should post and be guided by them (within reason!). Let them know what you are going to be doing and, if that changes, communicate that as well. If you won’t be posting for a while (and we all need a break from time to time), then let your readers know rather than just leaving the last post hanging unceremoniously.

    And dont forget that writing does not have to mean publishing you can write and then edit your posts over a number of days before ultimately pressing the publish button. Give yourself the time to hone and refine certain posts if you feel so inclined; alternatively, if you are feeling particularly creative, write a number of posts at one sitting and then schedule them to be published in line with your normal rhythm.

    Does this lose a little bit of the spontaneity of blogging? Perhaps … but better that and keeping the quality of your content high than pumping out average posts for the sake of publishing daily.

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    It can sometimes be difficult to keep coming up with ideas for the next posts on your Blog we will always have moments when we struggle to know what we can post while still ensuring that we keep the quality and the focus.

    My main suggestion to help overcome this is simple: keep a notebook with you at all times. Why? So that you can note down ideas that come to you during the course of the day – and, believe me, they can come at the weirdest moments. They could be triggered by any event, something that you see or a comment that somebody makes to you. Note down the idea and any associated thoughts that come with it and then you can then dip into these ideas as and when you need to.

    Is that all I have to say on the subject? Well, no actually. There are a number of the other methods that Ive used which Id also like to pass on.

    • Write about current events
      Keep an eye on what is being written about your industry through various news media and ideally through the use of RSS feeds which gets you the news ultra quickly. Select an event or piece of information and give your comments on it and perhaps its implications, while referencing the article where appropriate.

    • Read other blogs
      Keep an eye on other blogs and what they are talking about you will probably find subjects that you wish to develop further, ones that you wish to comment on in your own blog (dont forget to use a trackback!) or ones that simply spark new ideas that you can write about. Other blogs are great sources of current thinking and new potential ideas.

    • Write a series
      Select a topic and write a set of posts around the theme you have selected. Try to plan the series out in advance (at least the titles) and then write them as you need them.

    • Revisit old posts you have written
      Check back over some of your old posts and see if there are ones that could be developed more fully. You may feel that there are now updates or new information that you would like to add to them, so do so in a new post which references back to the original one and develops the ideas further.

    • Answer Questions
      Use contacts from people who have asked for information or have asked questions which have developed on your original post and opened up in turn new areas or topics. Take these questions or the points that they raise and develop the answers into new posts.

    • Get a guest blogger in
      You do not need to write all of the posts yourself, many Business Blogs will in fact have two or even more people working on them. However, if you dont have people who post regularly, you can still have a guest blogger who might come in to post on a particular subject where they have a specialist knowledge.

    There is of course a final option – simply take a break from posting for a few days. There’s no issue with that – just let your readers know and they’ll be waiting for your return with bated breath.

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    Writing a series of posts on a topic which is important to your overall subject area is a great way to generate additional areas of interest in your Business Blog – it can also be an excellent way to get you started as you begin to post on your blog and are looking for ideas and themes.

    In fact, creating a series in your Blog can help in a number of different ways, such as:

    • it will help to develop a very definite area of focus within your Blog and create key topic areas which will support the overall primary theme of the blog;

    • it will give you a number of posts to write on a single topic which will help to get you started and gain some momentum in your writing;

    • it will encourage you not to make your blog posts too long because you will have to segment a topic into a number of shorter posts;

    • as people pick up on your blog, they will be able to trace back previous articles easily and then be more likely to revisit for updates;

    • you will be able to promote a series more easily than individual posts later on, hopefully when you have built up the number of visitors to your blog;

    • as they are likely to be themed within a topic, then they will also be nicely attractive to Search Engines (especially so as you will of course group them in a category) and will add additional internal links.

    Try to avoid making the series too long or too spread out, although you can of course come back to it and develop it further later on. Particularly, if your readers ask for additional information, then this gives you the opportunity to develop the initial series further. It may even give you ideas on how to develop the series in other directions.

    However, try to plan out the series out in advance (at least the titles) and then write them as you need them. Alternatively, if this inspires you as a topic then write two or three posts at once and, using the edit time feature, set them to appear at intervals in the future.

    In my own case, I selected SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for Blogs as a subject. For me, it warranted a series because of the amount of information that the area contains and yet is perfectly suited to being divided into smaller self contained articles. If I am honest, there has been too much of a gap between posts within the series but I think its a worthwhile set its a series entitled SEO in Blogs if you want to have a look.

    Try it it really works.

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    It is always an exciting if slightly nerve racking time when you start to write your Business Blog but it is also very important because you will be laying down the ground rules for what your readers can expect from you in the future.

    To help get through this initial period, there are certain things that you can do which will make it easier to get the first posts in place from which you can then develop.

    Set yourself realistic goals for posting
    Make sure that you set some goals in terms of how often you are going to blog – make them realistic and then stick to them. You should decide during your planning phase how much time you want to dedicate to your Business Blog and then split that time between researching your posts and writing them.

    Plan ahead
    As you start, map out what you want to cover during the first few days and weeks, and note down the topics that you feel comfortable with. This will provide you with a framework to work with. You dont need to plan every post, in fact you shouldnt. If you are intending to create a blog which will get people coming back on a regular basis then you will also be commenting on breaking news or articles that are posted by others. However, setting out in your own mind a series of topics that you wish to cover will really help in your initial writing.

    Set out your stall at the start
    Within this first set of posts, try to include at least 2 3 key articles, ones that sum up a number of the areas and concepts that you are going to be focusing on in your blog as a whole. They might be simply instructive or could outline a number of different ideas and concepts that you will expand on in later posts over time. If you are unsure about the type of things to include, then you could do a lot worse than go back over some of the presentations that you have made to clients or partners. These are likely to include a lot of the ideas that you will now have the opportunity to expand on and develop over the course of writing your blog.

    Plan a short series of posts on a specific topic
    A series of posts on a subject which is important to your overall subject area is a good method of getting you going and establishing a relevant area of focus in your Business blog. A series can help in a number of different ways, but in particular will allow you to go into detail on a single topic you feel is particularly important and that you are comfortable writing about. This will help to get you started and gain some momentum in your writing.

    Comment on news in your industry
    If you are aiming to position yourself as a key source of information for your readers in your industry or niche then you will need to keep up to date with developments and be prepared to give your opinion on them. In any case, this is a great way of adding content to your site which also helps build the level of trust and confidence in you and your knowledge.

    Sitting there with a blank screen in front of you is always a difficult time so use some of these methods to get you started and you can certain that you’ll be up and running more quickly that you expected.

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