The Five Pillars of Business Blogging Success


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Are you looking for practical tips for blogging success? Are you wondering what to avoid? While my position is generally that there are no “rules” in blogging, there are best practices that will help your business blog succeed. There are a lot of obvious elements you need to include to make a blog reader-friendly: quality, compelling content, good navigation, a contact page, an about page,
focus and clarity about the subject of the blog… and there’s a lot of not-so-obvious or overlooked things that can really help make a blog stand out if they’re implemented. More tips:

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The Five Pillars of Business Blogging Success

  1. 1. qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwer The 5 Pillars oftyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas Business Blogging Successdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx Denise Wakeman, The Blog Squadcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmrtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiop
  2. 2. The 5 Pillars of Business Blogging SuccessAre you looking for practical tips for blogging success? Are you wondering what to avoid?While my position is generally that there are no “rules” in blogging, there are best practices thatwill help your business blog succeed.There are a lot of obvious elements you need to include to make a blog reader-friendly:quality, compelling content, good navigation, a contact page, an about page, focus and clarityabout the subject of the blog… and there’s a lot of not-so-obvious or overlooked things that canreally help make a blog stand out if they’re implemented.While I do have my own list of do’s and don’ts included, I decided to get input from other smart,savvy bloggers. I posted a request on LinkedIn Answers and received many great do’s anddon’ts. I’ve grouped the tips into five categories: Planning, Content, Design, Marketing andEngagement.#1: Planning Your Business BlogDo: Know your “Big Why” – Why are you in business? What is your purpose and ultimate goalfor serving others? Clarity about your purpose, your goals, your ideal client and how youtransform people’s lives will help guide all the content on your business blog.Do: Know what you mean when you say successful. Are you trying to get more sales?Develop relationships? Inform current customers? Having a specific goal for your blog willshape the rest of your strategy. From Cordelia BlakeDo: Keyword research before starting a blog. First, compile a list of keywords (and, moreimportantly, keyword phrases) you think your business should rank for. Then, go to GoogleKeyword tool and type in those phrases to find out how many actual searches are done permonth. You would be surprised how different Google’s list may turn out from your own. Use thelist Google suggests as your starting point. From Boris Mahovac2 © Copyright 2010. Denise Wakeman, The Blog Squad, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
  3. 3. The 5 Pillars of Business Blogging Success Use the Google Keyword Tool to find keywords that have a large number of searches.Do: Define your target audience and develop a content strategy that they will find interesting,entertaining or informative. Don’t focus too closely on product. As a Twitter friend once said,“If you make dog food, don’t talk about dog food, talk about dogs.” From Heidi CoolDo: Give it time. It takes a while to build real relationships. From Christopher GronlundDon’t: Hide the author of the blog. Make sure you have a real-live person behind the blog.Add his or her photo, name and role in the company. It’s OK to outsource to get help, but for themost authentic connection, have a real employee available to guide, answer questions andprovide a true look inside the organization. Even if you only have a few people in your company,this is vitally important. From Phil Gerbyshak#2: Your Blog ContentDo: Be real.Don’t: Be stuffy, dull and pompous or use bizspeak jargon. A blog isn’t a lecture hall or abillboard (i.e., one-way or solely self-promotional communication), but is ideally a place forpeople who are hungry for good information to find you and start to see you as a reliable andtrustworthy resource. From Caitlin KellyDo: Find an optimal posting schedule that works for you. The more you post on your blog,the more traffic you’ll attract. But more than frequency, focus on posting quality contentconsistently and constantly.Do: Establish an editorial calendar that helps you plan for future articles and topics. Setreasonable deadlines. If you know you can’t publish daily, don’t establish that as your goal.Don’t: Publish junk just to keep up with your calendar. It’s better to miss a post than to postgibberish. (Heidi Cool)Do: Keep the Four E’s in mind when writing your blog posts: Educate, Entertain, Engage andEnrich. Mix it up to ensure your message is delivered in the way that your ideal reader wants toconsume it.Do: Create Scannable Content. People have different reading patterns on the web than they doon the printed page. They tend to scan down web pages rather than read every word. So givethem what they want! Break up your content with shorter paragraphs, headings and bullets. Addimages. Incorporate video. From Chris CreeDo: Create compelling, keyword-rich titles that address your audience’s needs. From RichBrooks3 © Copyright 2010. Denise Wakeman, The Blog Squad, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
  4. 4. The 5 Pillars of Business Blogging SuccessDo: Use a variety of post types. Some posts can be a quick paragraph, while others are a deepdive into an important issue. Posts can be based around a video, or based around text content. Ifyou mix things up you’ll keep the blog interesting, expand your list of post ideas and fight thetendency for blogger burnout. From Kyle DemingDon’t: Get too self-promotional. At least 80% of your content should focus on helping youraudience. (Rich Brooks)#3: Blog DesignDo: Blog on your own domain, period. It should also be under “”subdirectory rather than “”. This lends some of the search engine goodwillearned by your blog to your root domain. From Scott Allen. (Just about everyone made thisrecommendation.)Do: Customize your templates and menus to make it easy for readers to explore page articles.Make good use of categories and tags. (Heidi Cool)Do: Give your blog readers the tools to amplify your message to their own communities.Have retweet/tweet buttons, Facebook Like button, Digg, StumbleUpon and other relevant socialsharing buttons on your blog posts. This falls under marketing and engagement as well. Whendesigning your blog, make sure you include plugins and widgets that can support spreading yourcontent far and wide.Don’t: Hide author, contact, and subscription information. Make sure you have pages thatare easy to find in the navigation so your reader can find out more about you and your companyand can contact you with questions and feedback. Make it easy for your audience to connect with you.Do build an opt-in mailing list and autoresponder. Don’t rely solely on an RSS feed for yourreaders to get your blog updates. Most people don’t know what an RSS feed is; they do knowhow to opt in to get email. I see this mistake on 90% of the blogs I review. Check out Feedblitz,Feedburner and AWeber for email delivery of your blog content.#4: Marketing Your Blog4 © Copyright 2010. Denise Wakeman, The Blog Squad, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
  5. 5. The 5 Pillars of Business Blogging SuccessDo: Build time into your schedule to market your blog. You’ve got to put some effort intosteering people to your blog posts so that they actually find the great content you’re creating.(Chris Cree)Do: Automate syndication of your blog posts to your social profiles. Make sure your posts areshowing up on your Facebook page, Twitter stream and LinkedIn profile, at minimum.Do: Find the right balance of keywords. Keywords are important for improving the ranking ofyour blog in search engines and for increasing visibility and readership. However, more is notalways better. You want your blog post to read like a conversation you’re having with a personface to face. From Emily MadsenDo: Repurpose your blog content in multiple formats and syndicate it on other content-sharing sites. Recreate your content in audio and video formats in order to leverage your timeand extend your reach on the web.#5: Engaging Your AudienceDo: Make time to respond to all of the comments you receive. A primary purpose for businessblogging is to build a strong relationship with your audience. When you reply to their comments,your readers will appreciate your personal interest and this will build credibility and trust in yourexpertise. From Sydni Craig-HartDo: Spend as much time engaging as you do creating content. Some of that can be on yourown blog replying to comments, but a substantial portion of it MUST be on other blogs in yourindustry. Competitors are a touchy situation—you really have to take it on a case-by-case basis.But for vendors, clients, industry associations, industry thought leaders/authors/speakers, youshould definitely identify all of them and be engaging on a regular basis. (Scott Allen)Don’t: Disable or heavily censor blog comments. Commenting is one of the best ways toengage and you may get called out if you filter out all negative comments. Use negativecomments as an opportunity to respond graciously. (Kyle Deming)Do: Have a clear plan in place for handling criticism and negative comments. Take the highroad and respond to these comments carefully and politely. (Heidi Cool)Don’t: Take for granted you know what your audience needs. Survey and ask them whatthree things they struggle with in their business. This one exercise could have you supplied withrelevant blog posts for weeks. But also, you’ll be providing great information to your readers tokeep them coming back for more. From Terri Brooks5 © Copyright 2010. Denise Wakeman, The Blog Squad, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
  6. 6. The 5 Pillars of Business Blogging Success Create simple surveys with Be as authentic as you possibly can. People know when they’re being fed a party line orpropaganda. We know when we’re being marketed at or PRed at. Be as real as the circumstancesallow. From Erica FriedmanWhat would you add? Do you have some business blogging do’s and don’ts that are notcovered here? Please join the discussion by commenting on the Wall at[NOTE: You can listen to the audio version of this article on Build a Better Blog.] Denise Wakeman is an online marketing advisor and founder of The Blog Squad. With nearly two decades of business and online marketing experience, she helps authors, speakers, service professionals, and small business owners optimize and leverage great business blogs as well as strategically use social media tools to gain visibility, build credibility and make more money selling their books, products and services. You can learn more about Denise at now I would like to invite you to claim your free instant access to a 5-part video courseon how to get the best out of your blog. Visit to claim itnow. Blog on!6 © Copyright 2010. Denise Wakeman, The Blog Squad, LLC. All Rights Reserved.