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“HOW DO PEOPLE FIND MY BLOG?” AND OTHER BLOGGING QUESTIONS

At a presentation the other day I asked how many of the hospitality-related businesses had a blog, were on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

I was surprised, and a little bit disappointed, to find out that blogging trailed the pack. Maybe it’s because blogging seems like more of a commitment, or because people are unsure about the benefits of blogging.

Wonder no more, because here I am to answer the questions I get most often on the most effective marketing most small businesses and non-profits will even engage in: the blog.

What is a blog?

A blog is a Web site on steroids; you get all the benefits of a Web site–such as a presence on the Web and search engine visibility–but you also get two additional distribution channels through RSS and email.

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication. Your blog automatically creates a document that can be subscribed to through a newsreader. In this way, you can subscribe to dozens or hundreds of blogs and have them all pulled into one page so you can check them over a cup of coffee each morning. People can add your blog’s RSS feed to their newsreader. Check out this video called How to Subscribe to an RSS Feed for more info.

How do people find my blog?

The same way they find your Web site: through search engines. All of your blog posts become web pages, and if your post answers a question someone poses at Google, it could be served up as a top result.

They might also find it through a social media link; one of their friends may link to it on Facebook or Twitter.

Why is blogging so important to SEO (search engine optimization)?

Think of it this way: every blog post is a web page, and every web page is an opportunity to be found for a specific search. That means if you post twice a week for a year, you’ve got over a hundred opportunities to rank for different, appropriate searches your audience is performing at Google, Bing or Yahoo.

How do I make my blog more SEO-friendly?

Start with a powerful, keyword-rich title. Half the battle is coming up with a compelling title that includes your targeted keywords in the first three to four words. I often then add a colon and reword the title for maximum results. For example, “Chopstick Instructions: How to Use Chopsticks.

How often should I blog?

The standard answer is “as often as you want people to think about you.” If you’re just getting started, or recommitting to your blog, I recommend 2 – 3 posts per week for a minimum of six months. Blog success doesn’t happen overnight; it’s an investment in the future of your business.

How long should my blog posts be?

They don’t need to be long; people like short-form content. If you see an appropriate article in Newsweek or a local paper you can copy and paste a paragraph or two, link to the article online, and add your own .02. Hit publish and you’re done for the day.

However, feel free to mix it up. I’ve had posts as long as several printed pages and as short as a haiku, and the haiku seemed to get more response.

Is it OK to outsource your blogging?

It’s always fantastic when a company can blog for itself. However, if you’re already using a copywriter you like for your Web site and other marketing material, you may want to ask her about creating some content for your blog as well.

For example, we’re working with a hospital where we’re delivering one keyword-rich post a week based on an editorial calendar we developed. The hospital, for its part, will create posts when a doctor receives an award, or when additional flu vaccines are available, or to distribute health alerts to the community.

How else can I attract readers to my blog?

There are a number of activities that will drive more qualified readers to your blog; here are just a few:

  • Promote new posts on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
  • Submit new blog posts to sites like Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon.
  • Comment on related blogs.
  • Have new blog posts automatically appear as teasers on your Web site’s home page.

In Conclusion:

Blogs are the perfect connection between search engine optimization and social media, and an essential tool for any small business or non-profit’s marketing campaigns. By committing to a regular blogging schedule for a minimum of six months, and doing a few things right, you will increase your online visibility, generate more qualified leads and build your business.

If you have any questions on how to plan, setup or promote your blog, please contact flyte new media today.

–Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media

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