The Right Way to
So you’re thinking of starting a business blog? Excellent.
I know from experience that customers increasingly want businesses to
show them what they do, how they think, and who they are. Blogs are a
great way of doing that.
Getting started with a blog can be as easy as the click of a button what
with the existence of a stack of free blog-hosting services out there. But by
taking a few minutes to read this E-book you will know how to give
yourself the best platform to build your success on.
I know you’re busy so my aim is to get you quickly up to speed with the
essentials. You can find out plenty more about business blogging by doing
a bit of research. But this E-book will tell you some of the practical things
you need to know to get started.
If you have any questions, or want to know more about how a business
blog can help your company communicate more effectively, don’t hesitate
to get in touch.
Very best wishes,
Jon Buscall, PhD
Tel: +00 46 - (0) 758 68 79
The Right Domain Name
Before you do anything, purchase a domain name that will suit your
If your company already has a website consider not just setting your blog
up in a subdirectory: e.g. www.yourdomain.com/blog/
Instead, purchase a domain name that reflects what your business does.
For example, if you’re a canine behaviorist you could select something
along the lines of www.dog-training-tips-com to complement your
established website at www.yourdomain.com. Or if you’re, say, an
psychoeducational assessor who helps kids go
with something like www.help4students.org.
If you’re a freelancer, it might be better to just A good domain
use your own name if people already know name is an
that. important part of
No matter what, make sure you host your blog design
on a server rather than using a free service
(such as Blogger.com). This means you retain
control of your site and build the value of the
domain, rather than helping someone else
You can buy your domain at GoDaddy or 000domains
For hosting I recommend MediaTemple and Enginehosting
The Right Blog Software
It’s free and very easy to use.
More significantly, there is a wealth of
plugins and information to help your site
perform well in Google’s search results.
You want your blog to do well in Google
because it will be one of the main ways
new customers will find your website.
The other great thing about WordPress is that it lets you concentrate on
ideas and expressing yourself instead of worrying about the tools of
running a blog.
Believe me, use WordPress.
For the very best in WordPress tips check out Lorelle on WordPress.
The Right Blog Theme
Even if you can afford the
skills of a designer, I would
personally recommend you
use Chris Person’s Thesis
Theme as a framework (no
affiliate link, just a
Thesis is easy to tweak for
Search Engine Optimisation
and there’s excellent support
and resources available from the Thesis community.
It’s not free but the minimal cost will benefit your business blog no end.
Tip: Bookmark Matt Files 100 Resources for Thesis. You’ll find a lot of
these links useful.
The Right Permalink Structure
Google likes friendly urls (web addresses).
Out of the box, WordPress creates rather strange looking urls.
To overcome this you should change your permalink settings in
WordPress so each post you write creates its own friendly url: E.g.
To do this simply go to:
Select Settings > Permalinks (once you’ve logged into WordPress).
Paste /%postname%/ into the Custom Structure field and hit save.
The Right Blog Plugins
Although WordPress is geared for excellent Search Engine Optimisation
out of the box and easy to use, I have found that the following Plugins are
indispensable in improving SEO and building a successful weblog:
This redirects commenters who just made their first comment to a page of
your choice. On Jon Buscall.com it directs first time commenters to my
Thanks for commenting page. It’s a great way of building a connection
Dagon Design Sitemap Generator
This generates a fully customizable sitemap. Google likes this – a lot.
Google XML Sitemaps
Excellent – because it generates a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of
your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN
Search and YAHOO. All you need to know is that this will benefit your
This plug-in creates a PrintFriendly.com button which will help people
easily print your site. Don’t forget, people still like to print out material to
read on the train home or sharae with colleagues.
This plugin allows you to add all the appropriate robots meta tags to your
pages and feeds, disable unused archives and nofollow unnecessary links.
Important for SEO; in other words how Google ranks you!
Let your visitors share a post/page with others. Supports e-mail and
posting to social bookmarking sites. You want people to be able to easily
share your content with others.
Subscribe To Comments
Allows readers to receive notifications of new comments that are posted
to an entry. A conversation shouldn’t just end with one comment.
Readers like to know what other people are saying.
WP Greet Box
Show a different message to your visitor depending on which site they are
coming from. It’s a great way of encouraging people to subscribe to your
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
This plugin returns a list of related entries that can tempt your reader to
browse through more of your site. It’s a great way of encouraging visitors
to your site to explore more of your work.
There are plenty of other plugins available, but these are the ones I
The Right Blog Content
Having sorted the technical stuff, it’s time to set down and do some
serious writing as you generate your site’s content. This requires
planning, time and commitment.
Fill your blog with meaningful content about your subject. A good rule of
thumb is to try to think of what people might look for in Google within
your field. E.g. How to stop my dog barking (if you’re a canine
behaviourist), How to write formal emails (if you’re a communications
strategist), Tree Pruning Tips (if you’re a gardener), Getting AD/HD
Diagnosed (if you work with psychoeducational assessment), etc.
You might also include product information,
tips, guides, special offers and basically
anything that you might think could be of
interest to potential customers. “Great content is
the key to a great
You don’t have to update your blog everyday blog”
but you should do so fairly regularly. Three - Darren Rowse, Problogger
times a week is a good amount to start off
with as you build content and hopefully a
regular group of followers.
How to write effective, trust-building copy
If you’re wondering how you can get a blog to work for you, here are four
tips to write effective, trust-building copy that will help you get readers
sticking around and generate customer loyalty.
1. Write Conversationally
The best blogs on the Net speak directly to their audience. They don’t drone on in
corporate claptrap. Instead, they strike up a conversational tone that addresses the
Write your blog with your target audience in mind. Don’t fall into the trap of filling
your copy with a sea of jargon. And certainly don’t try and impress people with your
vocabulary. The emphasis is on writing in a friendly, accessible way so people stick
around and listen.
I find it’s always a good idea to read a blog post aloud before I hit publish. That way
you ensure there’s personality in what you’re writing.
2. Share Stories
Readers want to know who you are and what you’re doing. In the the last couple of
years the Net has become incredibly social. That’s partly why Twitter has become so
popular. It gives followers an insight into people’s lives.
As a business blogger, if you give your reader insights into the work you do, you
have the chance to show the human side of our business. One of the hardest things
to get across in brochures and advertising copy is the personality of a business and
the people that run it. Blogging can help you overcome that.
By sharing the challenges, innovations, problems and services you deal with,
readers will get to know you better. This can be an important step in making them
feel like they can approach you.
3. Update Frequently
There’s nothing worse than coming across a corporate business blog that has lain
idle for a month. Even worse if it’s six months.
It’s essential to regularly update your blog, and keep readers coming back for more.
If you don’t have a minimum posting schedule, you should to ensure you don’t fall
If left to dwindle –even if you’re super busy with projects– a blog can work against
your business as it may give the impression that you start things and leave them
half-finished. Or that you never follow through. This is not something you want
customers to associate with your company.
4. Don’t Avoid Difficult Issues
Silence is not an excuse. Not these days when consumers are adept at blogging,
tweeting and stumbling their thoughts about a company.
With a blog you can always put your side of the story. And sometimes you will have
to when individuals or groups work against you. A good example of this is the way
that Basset Hound breeders in the UK didn’t respond sufficiently to the accusations
raised by a BBC documentary earlier this year – Pedigree Dogs Exposed.
A blog doesn’t just generate traffic to your website or promote your skills and
services. It can also tell your side of the story in times of crisis. Because Google
tends to rank blogs that are updated regularly fairly highly, you can almost always
guarantee that your position will be heard.
A company blog is, thus, an excellent tool for promotion, communication, and
There is, of course, much more to business blogging. Here are a few more
things you might like to think about:
• Is Blogging Dead?
• Business Blog Planning
• Your Business Needs a Blog Policy
• Corporate Blogs – Failing with copy
• Crisis Management – Why you need a blog