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Alex Cristache - Corporate Blogging Guide (eBook)

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A free ebook by Alex Cristache to guide you in your blogging adventures as a corporate/business blogger.

A free ebook by Alex Cristache to guide you in your blogging adventures as a corporate/business blogger.

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    Alex Cristache - Corporate Blogging Guide (eBook) Alex Cristache - Corporate Blogging Guide (eBook) Document Transcript

    • Alex CristacheBlogsessive.com (Blog)QBKL.net (Design Studio)CorporateBloggingGuide
    • About the authorThis is me I guess, Alex Cristache, a 29 year old fellow with more than 10 years of onlineexperience gathered working for top Romanian web design, development and consultancycompanies or as a freelancer, currently being the Managing Partner of the QBKL Mediadesign studio.Looking back into my past, I’ve started as a junior web designer and worked my way up inranks through senior web, print & logo designer, occasional copywriter, web & SEOconsultant and project manager. While my main job was focused on design, I couldnt stayaway from web development, and so, I’ve started working with PHP & MySQL.When WordPress was first released, I’ve instantly connected with this application, amazedwith what can be accomplished by using it, how customizable it can get and the ease of use.So, here I am, a few years later, sharing my thoughts, experience and findings with you,friends and readers of my blog: Blogsessive.com.Special thanks...Go to Alina Popescu for her invaluable help with the translation and editing of this eBook.You can follow her PR blog over at http://WordsofaBrokenMirror.com or check out thewebsite of her PR & Marketing agency: Mirror Communications.I would also like to thank Blogsessive’s readers who by supporting me in my bloggingadventure made the publishing of this eBook possible.Last but not least, I thank you - the one who reads this guide - for your interest in learning,evolving and thus making the blogosphere a much more interesting place for all of us. Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 1 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • Contents1. Introduction to Blogging 4-5 1.1. Blog, Blogging, Blogosphere 1.2. Corporate Blogging2. Critical Questions Before Launching a Corporate Blog 7-9 2.1. Is the blog a necessity or just a whim? 2.2. Do you have the needed resources to launch and maintain a blog? 2.3 How does the online audience feel about your company? 2.3.1. Reactions in the blogosphere: Technorati 2.3.2. Reactions in the blogosphere: Google Blog Search 2.3.3. Reactions in the online press from your field 2.3.4. Quantifying the risk factor 2.4. Interpreting the answers3. Setting up Goals and Blog Positioning 114. Types of Corporate Blogs 13 - 14 4.1. CEO blog 4.2. Entrepreneur blog 4.3. Multi-author company blog 4.4. Department blog 4.5. Employee’s blog 4.6. Product/Service blog 4.7. Human Resources blogs5. Blog Editors & Editorial Policy 16 - 17 5.1. Criteria to help build the editorial team 5.2. PR department involvement 5.3. The blog’s tone 5.4. Content generation6. Blogging Tips to Get You Started 19 - 207. Blog Performance Tracking Tools 22 - 238. Technical Aspects and Words of Advice 25 - 27 8.1. Choosing the blogging platform 8.2. Words of Advice Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 2 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • “With the abundance of informationhitting our brains each minute, wehave to filter everything right from thefirst contact. The first impression isvital. Take your time to rethink andpossibly rewrite your headlines,maybe even reconsider your blog’sdesign & structure, the placement ofdifferent sections that could generatefurther traffic and more reading time.”Excerpt from “How to Improve Your Readers’ Perception” Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 3 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 1. Introduction to BloggingWhen starting out, new bloggers often do one of these two major mistakes: they eitherconsider blogging too easy and mostly an automated process, or think of it as a burden thatmost times doesn’t pay off. Well, my dear friends, blogging is neither too hard, nor too easy.Blogging is an exercise of your skills and talents, a process of constant learning andimprovement. It may seem a tough process at first, but with dedicated attention it willbecome easier with each post you publish and promote.That being said, I offer you this guide to help you start your new blogging adventure with anace in your sleeve. Let’s take it back to the basics!1.1 Blog, Blogging, BlogosphereThe term blog, contracted form of weblog, defines a certain type of website where texts,photos, audio or video content are published in chronological order, much like an onlinediary.The first blogs date back to 1993 when the term was first introduced, but they only startedto be used more frequently in 1998 when the first blog community, Open Diary, appeared.The true hit of the online mainstream happened around 2002-2003, when the first blogreactions regarding the Iraq war were published and when Google acquired the Blogger.complatform, which allows any person with Internet access to create and maintain their ownblog.The Blogosphere comprises all public blogs and is defined as a community based on thetheory that all existing blogs are somehow interconnected, often through blogrolls or linksinserted in their content.A blogroll is a list of links, commonly displayed in a blog’s sidebar. The links usually pointto blogs the author deems relevant to the content of their own blog or simply wants torecommend to their readers. Therefore, through blogrolls, it is believed that any two blogscan be connected through one or more intermediary links.Blogs allow publishing content in a wide range of types and formats, and these types ofcontent lead to a first classification of blogs: a. Classic blog – text content b. Photoblog – publishes photo content c. Videoblog – publishes video content d. Audioblog (podcast) – publishes audio content Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 4 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • Microblogs and tumbleblogs, both defined as blogs with extremely short entries, are twoother blog formats gaining more and more popularity in the past few years.Regardless of information format, the online publishing of content through blog platforms iscalled blogging, and the author of a blog is called blogger.1.2 Corporate bloggingOnce they have hit the spotlights, the blogs’ potential to communicate effectively wasimmediately noticed by companies.Initially seen as a mere tool to promote products and services, blogs gradually became partof a company’s brand. Aside from placing a name and a logo on them, blogs grantedcompanies a persona they could be associated with. In short, they made them human. Thecorporate blog managed to break the barrier between the “inaccessible company” and itscustomers.The true value of a company is undoubtedly fueled by its employees’ individual values. Buthow exactly can these values be expressed? How can they be best presented to the world?Blogs allow companies to position their employees as industry leaders through the opinionsthey publish, through the breakthroughs shared on the blog, all in a human, personal formthat eases communication with customers.A few companies that have successfully adopted the concept of blogs are:Adobe – http://blogs.adobe.com/Microsoft – http://www.microsoft.com/communities/blogs/ and http://blogs.msdn.com/Google – http://googleblog.blogspot.com/The benefits of a well crafted and maintained blog are plenty, but is it the right tool forcompanies? Find out in the next chapters. Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 5 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • “Many bloggers fail when it comes tobuilding a better blog. Making yourblog stand out of the crowd requires astrategy, just like a business. Even ifyou’re not part of an affiliate programof selling your own products throughyour blog, think of it this way: You’reselling yourself, your knowledge, yourwritings.”Excerpt from “My blog, my business” Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 6 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 2. Critical Questions BeforeLaunching a Corporate BlogNot all promoting and marketing techniques yield results in any given situation and likewiseblogs aren’t always the best solution. In certain cases, a blog can become a uselessinvestment, or worse, a way to boost the already negative view the audience has on acompany. Before launching a blog, each company needs to ask the following questions:2.1. Is the blog a necessity or just a whim?A company’s decision to launch a blog may be based on obvious advantages generated bythe freedom of communication and by its being given a human touch. Considering theseadvantages or failing to do so, we still run into situations where a company chooses tolaunch a blog because of reasons such as: a. Our competitor X has launched a blog; b. It’s trendy, any teen has one. Why can’t we have one? c. We want to look high-tech / tech savvy.In theory, none of the reasons above is a real obstacle, given it’s associated with andsupported by other factors such as having the necessary resources to create and maintain ablog or a positive or neutral image in the market.2.2 Do you have the needed resources to launch and maintain a blog?Unlike classic company websites, blogs keep consuming resources.Blogs imply costs. Be it the technical side – design, development, hosting, be it hiring anexperienced blogger to maintain it and publish fresh content, a blog needs financialresources.Blogs take time. It takes time to create and publish content; it takes time to research, writeposts, update them and maintain the blog. And for any company with a sense of business,time always means money.Blogs need dedicated personnel. While there are quite a few tools to render contentpublishing automatic, the best results in corporate blogging are harvested by thosepublishing customized content, created by their own people. Are there people in your teamwho can maintain the blog? If not, do you have enough resources to bring in someone new?Blogs require information. And information is either created or needs to be searched for,analyzed and filtered. These steps also take time and need to be carried out by people whoneed to be effective and thorough in research, data filtering and content creation. Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 7 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 2.3 How does the online audience feel about your company?We are talking about the online world, where the fastest and most relevant reactions arebeing published. How do we track them?2.3.1 Reactions in the blogosphere: TechnoratiTechnorati.com is at the same time a blog search engine and a blog content aggregationservice. According to the latest data, Technorati indexes and analyzes the activity of about110 million blogs from around the world.Through a system reviewing both post tags and inter-blog links, Technorati returns relevantsearch result in a reverse-chronological order, the most recent ones being displayed first.2.3.2 Reactions in the blogosphere: Google Blog SearchThe world famous Google has a search engine entirely dedicated to blogs. Using thetraditional search algorithms it’s already known for, Google Blog Search allows you to filterresults based on multiple search parameters as well as on the date when the blog articlesand reactions have been published.Running a search for your company’s name will most likely return relevant results whichare usually very personal, as they are reactions from within the blogosphere. If your brandmainly targets domestic customers, the wisest choice is to use the local version of the blogsearch engine.And of course, running the search directly on the main Google search engine can returnsimilarly relevant results.2.3.3 Reactions in the online press from your fieldAlthough it is not always the most relevant source, as it is often affiliated to certain tradegroups or biased by advertising constraints, the online press covering your field can be aneffective indicator for your company’s image by taking into account what their experts andanalysts have to say about you.2.3.4. Quantifying the risk factorBased on the results obtained after analyzing all these online reactions, one can quiteaccurately quantify the risk factor their company is exposed to by publishing a blog,especially if it is a blog that allows comments to be posted.A negative online image can lead to a virtually unlimited series of negative comments whichrarely have to do with the actual content published on the blog. Visitors would have thusfound a way to express all their frustration caused by real or imaginary flaws they see in thecompany’s products and services. Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 8 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 2.4 Interpreting the answersIt hardly takes a genius to determine if the blog is just a whim with a short life span andinexistent success in communicating with customers.Also, it is obvious that without the necessary resources, a blog cannot be launched or it willbe launched while lacking any real possibility of it being maintained in the future.And who would ever want to help spread an already bad image through exposing themselvesto ever present negative comments, especially in their own “online home”? Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 9 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • “Spend some time learning moreabout your audience. Read thecomments, visit their blogs, and askquestions. By getting to know yourreaders, you will find it easier to talkto them as they would expect you to.”Excerpt from “Effective Communication: Know Your Audience” Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 10 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 3. Setting up Goals and Blog PositioningSo, did you ask yourself if a blog is the right thing for your company? Is it a solution thatwill boost your business instead of being a resource consumer? If so, it’s time to find outwhat options are there in terms of positioning a corporate blog.Each company has its specific communication needs. Based on said needs and otherestablished targets, a newly launched company blog can help achieve specific goals, suchas: - Becoming an alternative, and dynamic method to publish content; - Positioning employees as thought leaders and experts in their respective fields; - Building a community around a company, product or service; - Boosting sales; - Encouraging customers to send their feedback; - Speeding up customer service; - Gaining you exposure through both new and traditional (print press, radio, TV) media; - Positioning you as a trendy company that keeps up with new technologies; - Becoming and effective channel for crisis communication; - Supporting your HR efforts by offering an “alternative” look at your team and thusattracting new job applications; - Helping your company rank higher for specific search phrases and attracting newbacklinks.It’s highly recommended to establish a set of complementary goals. If a company manages tofocus on and reach its main goals, the adjacent targets will also be achieved at the sametime.Here are a couple of examples of complementary goal sets: - Building a community + boosting sales + attracting feedback - Positioning yourself as a thought leader + building a community + gaining mediaexposure Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 11 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • “A king without a kingdom cannotexists, so take your time to build yourblog from the most basic item thatyou can work on to improve. Only byhaving a rock solid foundation youcan make a true king out of yourcontent, and YES, content is king!”Excerpt from “Is Content really the King?” Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 12 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 4. Types of Corporate BlogsSo, you think you are ready to launch a corporate blog for your company? Based onpreviously set goals for your blog and the available resources, the most common types ofcorporate blogs from which you can choose are:4.1. CEO blogThe CEO blog is the blog authored by someone from the company’s top management. Thegeneral trend for such blogs is to publish analyses of the main events in a certain filed,forecasts and statistics, this content pattern thus positioning the author as a thoughtleader. Often times this type of blog will be strongly related to the company brand, itsproducts and services.A few famous examples of CEO blogs: 1. Jonathan Schwartz (President & CEO, Sun Microsystems) 2. Craig Newmark (CEO, Craig’s List) 3. Jason Calacanis (CEO, Weblogs)4.2. Entrepreneur blogSimilar to the CEO blog in what the editorial style is concerned, the entrepreneur blog is setapart by a significantly larger volume of information relevant to the author’s field ofexpertise and by diary-type entries describing the ongoing projects the entrepreneur isfocusing on at the time.A couple of examples of entrepreneur blogs: 1. Guy Kawasaki 2. Jeff Pulver 3. Kevin Rose4.3. Multi-author company blogSeveral authors – company employees from different departments – publish content on thistype of blog, each of them writing articles that cover their area of expertise. Often timesthese types of blogs turn into blog communities aggregating content published by individual,single-author blogs.Example: Google Blog Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 13 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 4.4. Department blogThis type of blog is almost exclusively authored by leaders in certain company departmentand it is focused on the activity and expertise of said department.Example: Kevin Lynch – Chief Software Architect at Adobe Systems4.5. Employee’s blogThis is the semi-professional blog of one of the company’s employees and it will use thecompany’s brand and image to promote the author as a guru of his field. The content ofsuch a blog focuses almost entirely on job related topics.Example: Lori DeFurio – Adobe Systems4.6. Product/Service blogThis type of blog is dedicated to a certain product or service provided by a company, and it’smeant to help promote it, create a community around it and obtain feedback from thecustomers.Example: WordPress Blog – Automattic’s corporate blog dedicated entirely to the Wordpressblogging platform4.7. Human Resources blogsAlthough not a very common type in the corporate blogging world, the HR blog ischaracterized by its efforts to present a company’s team and the events they attend ascasually as possible, thus opening the company up to potential employees who might beattracted by what they are being offered and the light atmosphere in the office.Example: Astraware Team Blog Choose wisely and make sure that the blog type you choose matches your goals and the resources you have! Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 14 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • “Having a poor homepage structurecombined with the lack of relevantinformation or ways to find it willdefinitely push visitors away fromyour blog, while a clean, intuitivehomepage will most likely become adecisive factor when it comes toturning visitors into readers.”Excerpt from “Your Blog Homepage is a Conversion Tool. Use it!” Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 15 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 5. Blog Editors & Editorial PolicyDepending on the type of corporate blog you’re targeting, you can then put together aneditorial team. To make sure you correctly appoint those in charge of content generationand blog management, you need to consider the following criteria:5.1. Criteria to help build the editorial teamThe future bloggers needs to be/have: 1. Experts in the filed they are going to cover; 2. A good communicator, able to manage potential communication crises arising fromdialogues and feedback generated by the blog; 3. Concise, clear and explicit when they express themselves, as they will not target onlythose who are in their turn experts and are acquainted to the field’s jargon; 4. Believable and genuine in what the provided information is concerned; 5. A human touch and a pleasant manner of writing; 6. Ready to face a reduced level of privacy in their lives, at least in what the online world isconcerned.5.2. PR department involvementMost communications through the corporate blog usually abide by the general publicrelations policies within the company, thus it is strongly recommended that your blogger(s)work together with your PR department. Their collaboration helps: 1. abide by the general communication tone imposed by company standards; 2. prevent or, if needed, manage possible communication crises; 3. develop the bloggers’ communication skills and ability to generate valuable content.5.3. The blog’s toneDepending on the type of blog and target audience, the tone and style of the blogger mayvary. Usually, a relaxed, human voice and an openness to communicate and interact withall those providing feedback or reactions within the comments section or on other blogsguarantees your blog’s success.Staying clear from “corporate speeches”, what is communicated through the blog shouldhave an equivalent in day to day life, such as: 1. A relaxed conversation with one or more friends; Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 16 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 2. A conversation with in a larger group comprising both good friends and recentacquaintances; 3. A first meeting with one or more persons that you have never interacted with.To find the right tone or voice, the term “conversational” should always be your reference.Using words such as “I”, “you”, “us” adds more personality and openness and, thus beinghighly recommended.Further reading recommendation: Finding Your Reader-friendly Blogging Tone5.4. Content generationGenerating content for a blog is an activity that uses up a lot of resources, from time toinformation. The most common sources used to generate new debate topics in your articlesare: - your own area of expertise; - news and events related to your company; - the evolution of your products and services; - industry events; - industry press releases; - debating your own opinions with other industry representatives; - the analysis of industry statistics and forecasts; - analyzing pieces of news published by the media; - attending fairs; - guides to success – tips & tricks; - lists of preferences and recommendations, etc.Mashable.com has published a comprehensive article providing over 40 sources you canuse to generate content: http://mashable.com/2008/08/11/topics-for-corporate-bloggers/ Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 17 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • “Listening can create an emotionalbridge between you and youraudience. Showing interest in whatother people have to say qualifies youas a caring person, and for a bloggerthat wants to be helpful that is a bigplus.”Excerpt from “The Better Blogger, The Good Listener” Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 18 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 6. Blogging Tips to Get You StartedRegardless of the blog type you choose, be it personal or corporate, the following pieces ofadvice are meant to guide your steps in your future blogging activity. These are the mostimportant blog tips you’ll need to follow when starting a new blogging adventure!6.1. Look for ideas at any time and in any placeA conversation in the subway, a debate or piece of news heard on the car radio, anythingcan turn into a new topic for your blog. Keep your mind open and tune your hearing,combine them with good analysis skills and you will have some killer weapons in yourarsenal.6.2. Raise and maintain interestAn attractive first paragraph is not enough to maintain the reader’s interest throughoutyour blog post. “Start big, finish bigger”. Provide new hooks in small doses to keep yourreaders interest throughout the article.6.3. Generate the conversation and take part in itOften times, bloggers are compared to journalists, and their blogs to newspapers (usuallytabloids, not broadsheets). Yet blogs and online newspapers differ exactly where they arealso alike – the comments section. Newspapers use the comments section to allow users toexpress their frustrations and almost never moderate them. The classic journalistic stylerarely requires an answer or any feedback, usually being limited to presenting the facts orexpressing an opinion.The main ace bloggers play is their power to start conversations and to keep them going bybeing part of them.6.4. Make sure you provide quality informationIf your new blog post is based on personal opinions, make sure they have the requiredfeatures to become points of reference. If you’ve used other sources for it, make sure youcheck their credibility and quality first.6.5. Never promise more than you can giveFailing to deliver everything you have promised will lead to a significant decrease in a blog’scredibility and popularity. Teasers do work, but only if what you were teasing readers withbecomes reality. Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 19 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 6.6. Offer helpNothing pleases blog followers more than getting help from a field expert. Whenever youhave a spare moment, help those in need of your professional help. Make sure to reply theircomments and their emails.6.7. Links are sacredAre you quoting a source? Then link to it! Are you publishing survey results or statistics?Link to those who have created them. Are you expressing your opinion regarding somethingthat has been published on another blog or online outlet? Link to the initial article. Why? 1. Because it helps prove the quality of the provided information and places them in abroader context; 2. Because it is a nice way to thank those who have inspired you to find a new topic foryour blog.If you have already discussed a certain topic in previous posts, link to them at the end ofthe current article. This helps those interested in the topic to get more details on it.Additionally, a solid inbound and outbound linking policy will help your blog rank better insearch engines.6.8. Never, ever...Do any of the following: 1. Attack someone else’s stand on an issue if you are not 100% sure of your own. Makesure to provide arguments to sustain it; 2. Publish someone else’s content without having their permission to do so. 3. Start open conflicts with your blog commentators. Keep your cool! 4. Allow the needs vs. solutions balance incline towards the former in your posts. Providemore solutions than debates over what’s needed. 5. Shy away from commenting on similar or competing blogs. As long as you don’t do it toshamelessly plug your blog or attach the author, your contributions will be valued and willdirect more readers towards your own posts. 6. Take all blogging advice as laws. They are only pieces of advice. Experiment with themand see which work better in your case. 7. Fill your blog up with plugins, widgets and other useless elements. We are ultimatelytalking about a corporate blog. You really do not want to compete in MTV’s “Pimp my blog”competition! 8. Postpone for too long your blogging platform and plugins update. Don’t be the first todo it either, to make sure bugs are found and solved, but don’t be the last one either!6.9. And the most important piece of advice…... I’m ever going to give you is to never be afraid of EXPERIMENTING. Experiment withdifferent tones, new post types, new topic approaches. Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 20 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • “Leaving a comment is not a thing youshould do to get or expect somethingin return. Still, constantly postinginteresting comments will help buildup your reputation with certaincommunities in your niche.Reputation generates interest.”Excerpt from “How to Make Your Comments Stand Out” Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 21 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 7. Blog Performance Tracking ToolsA blog’s success is measured through both its number of active readers or of RSSsubscribers and its performance in traffic: number of page views, of unique visitors,popularity, page rank and many others.There are a few methods to obtain the needed statistics to track and measure suchindicators.7.1. Access and traffic statisticsGoogle, the most powerful and popular search engine in the world, provides bloggers withtraffic statistics though its free Google Analytics service.By choosing a free Google Analytics account, you can view stats regarding your blog’s pageviews, number of unique or returning visitors, keywords used to reach your blog, the mostvisited pages you have posted, geographical tracking of your visitors and much more.Google Analytics is currently considered to be a very accurate and relevant tool. Otherservices you might consider are StatCounter or Woopra with its live tracking and analyticsfeatures.7.2. Indexing statisticsThe number of pages indexed by a search engine and their position in search tops reflect theindexing rank of a site.Do you want to find what your indexing results are for two of the most important searchengines are? Google and Yahoo offer you two critical tools for any website administrator: 1. Google Webmaster Tools (XML Sitemaps) 2. Yahoo! Site ExplorerYou can check the number pages from your website indexed by Google by typing thefollowing in the search box: site:www.domainname.comYou can also check the number of outside links your website’s pages receive by typing thefollowing: link:www.domainname.com Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 22 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 7.3. Popularity statisticsTraffic, accessibility, search engine exposure levels as well as content relevancy and itsfocus on certain niches all contribute to your blog’s popularity.The popularity is statistically tracked by a range of online services, of which the mostrelevant are: 1. Alexa 2. Compete 3. Quantcast 4. Technorati (Blog dedicated service)7.4. Statistics’ relevanceA thorough analysis of your blog’s stats will help you identify its strong spots and the type ofcontent best suited for its audience. It will also help you determine its weak spots or toimprove your content and focus more on covering certain areas of interest. Make sure you never forget that blogs are maintained through relevant, interesting and fresh content, not statistics! Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 23 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • “There’s no golden rule about theperfect blog post length. It’s all aboutyour topic(s) and the best way topresent your information withoutcluttering the content or filling it withunnecessary stuff.”Excerpt from “Deciding Between Short and Long Blog Posts” Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 24 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 8. Technical AspectsA blog’s maintenance is not limited to creating and publishing new content. The blog’ssuccess is also powered by technical factors, such as the chosen blogging platform, searchengine optimization or how one interprets traffic and popularity statistics. The top bloggers,also called A-list bloggers, have learned to tackle these technical aspects, even if theyinitially were not experts in this area.Here are a few details that will help you launch and maintain a successful blog and that willalso help you better communicate with the agency of freelancer in charge of creating anddeveloping your company’s blog.8.1. What to consider when choosing a blog platformWhen choosing a blog platform, you need to consider a series of aspects, each of equalimportance. The main factors that need to be analyzed are: a. The skills & expertise of the agency or freelancer that will be handling the project; b. The possibility of running the blogging platform on your own domain and server. Amajor flaw a business would make is to opt for free hosting and have a web address thatwould look like: http://company-name.blogspot.com; c. The blog appearance customizing options; d. The support provided by platform developers; e. Ease of content updates; f. The users’ community built around the platform. The bigger it is, the easier it willbe for you to get help and support from community members; g. Application costs, from buying the license to customization fees and what youspend on hosting.Right now, the strongest and most popular blogging platforms are: a. WordPress – http://WordPress.org b. MovableType – http://MovableType.org and http://MovableType.com c. Expression Engine – http://ExpressionEngine.com8.1.1. The “Versus” factorThere are similarities and differences between these three platforms which can turn any ofthem into your tool of choice. Both WordPress and ExpressionEngine are developed usingPHP, a fairly common language among web developers. It will obviously make it a lot easierfor you to find a developer for your company’s blog. Movable Type uses a PHP and Perl mix,which makes it a bit more restrictive. Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 25 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • WordPress was designed as a personal blogging platform that is why each installationcorresponds to a single blog. Later on, the WordPress MU version was crated for thosewanting to deploy a blogging network, all managed “under the same roof”. The version namecomes from WordPress MultiUser. The MU version is free of charge. At the same time,Movable Type offers the multi-blog/multi-user option in their base install pack.ExpressionEngine also provides similar options through and add-on that costs $199.95.While installing and setting up Movable Type and ExpressionEngine takes quite a lot oftime, WordPress is famous for its “5 minute installation”. The truth is that in the case ofan expert that has all the needed tools, it can take less than 2 minutes.Additionally, WordPress is extremely popular compared to its two competitors, itscommunity being much larger, more active and willing to help. Therefore, whenever afeature is included in the base kits of Movable Type or EpxressionEngine and does not existin the WordPress kit, the community immediately develops it to compensate.In what customizing is concerned, WordPress is again the best. The wide range of freethemes and add-ons can help you customize your blog to match anything you haveimagined. Additionally, you will easily find freelancers or agencies that specialize incustomizing WordPress.In terms of price, WordPress and Movable Type are free to download, install and use,even if it is for commercial purposes. ExpressionEngine also offers a free version, but a lot ofthe basic functionalities are restricted. A license to fit the needs of a real company blog costs$249.95, plus an additional yearly fee of $39.95 for platform updates.Based on the above comparison, it’s quite easy for me to draw a conclusion...And the winner is... WordPressIt might be a subjective conclusion, but the high maintenance costs and the scarcecommunity took ExpressionEngine out of the race.Although it makes it easy to create multi-user blogs, the restriction imposed by theprogramming language as well as the lack of a community to constantly deliver newresources disqualify MovableType, making WordPress the winner of the competition.Along with the classic support option of contacting the development team, WordPressprovides users with and excellent guide/glossary at http://codex.wordpress.org. If theinformation provided here is not enough, the community is always willing to help and youcan find them at http://wordpress.org/support.And if that is not enough, running a simple Google search will return a virtually unlimitedlist of websites and blogs that publish WordPress dedicated articles, thus adding valuableand varied resources and information to existing ones. One of those blogs is my own:Blogsessive.com Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 26 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • 8.2. Words of AdviceIf you’re looking to start a corporate blog, consider investing in a custom designedtheme. You’re brand has to be reflected in the visuals of your blog too. Using a free templatewill always have a negative impact on your image and the way people perceive it. My designstudio would be glad to help you out!Limit the number of plugins and widgets you use to those that add the most important orneeded functions to your blog. Using a large number of plugins increases the risk ofincompatibility, not to mention the fact that most developers only test their plugins on thebasic installation of the blogging platform, as an extensive test including many other pluginswould be a really painful task.Keep the navigation element visually separated. Usually, it’s recommended to use a topnavigation menu for page navigation, while using the sidebar to display categories, recentposts, popular posts, polls, and so on.Keep your sidebar clean and accessible. Do not fill it with tons of widgets that in the endmight only help 1% or 2% of your readers. Consider adding widgets to the sidebar only ifthey are relevant to the majority of your users and readers. Don’t forget to visit for more blogging tips to help you in your blogging adventures! Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 27 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media
    • “If you can make readers discuss yourcontent, your blog will grow simply byword-of-mouth and so will yourauthority. Learning to create notsimply posts, but ideas anddiscussions will help you to develop athriving community. Discussion is thefoundation of any great society, somake sure your content gets peopletalking!”Excerpt from “Three Formulas for Sparking Conversation” Blogsessive.com’s Corporate Blogging Guide (by Alex Cristache) 28 Blogsessive.com - QBKL Media