by John Eberhard

I’ve been designing and setting up blogs for quite a few clients lately, and thought I would list out the things you need to do to get the most benefit from blogging.

First of all the benefits of a blog are that because of the way search engines give greater weight or importance to blogs, it is relatively easy to drive traffic to a blog, and the blog overall and each blog post potentially counts as links back to your main web site.

Here’s what you need to do with the blog:

  1. Links back to your main site: Make sure when setting up the blog that it contains multiple links, in the sidebars, back to your main site. You can link to your home page, your services page, to pages offering things for sale, to pages offering free things. Also make sure to put your contact information prominently on the blog. See my blog http://www.realwebmarketingblog.com/ for examples of how to do this.
  1. Post to it regularly: Once set up, THE most important thing to do to get the most benefit from the blog is to post things to it regularly. When I say regularly, I mean minimally twice a month, more ideally once a week or even more frequently. Since we are trying to build traffic and build links, posting regularly does those things regularly and starts to really build. Plus you’ll get fans that will follow your posts regularly. But if you only post something every two months, you’re not going to build up very much of anything. And don’t forget, you can post anything on a blog from articles 700-1,500 words long, to shorter posts 100-150 words long. You can post something short, just commenting on something on another web site or blog. You can take a video on YouTube that relates to your business, take the embed code and put it up on your blog, so the video screen appears right in the blog.
  1. Ping every time you post: It is VITAL, every single time you post something to your blog, to send out a notification, called a “ping,” to all the blog search engines. I use a web site called www.pingomatic.com for this. You enter the name and URL of your blog and select the search engines you want to send it to. There’s a list of 25 or so. Then send the ping. It takes about a minute. Then once you come back to it, it will remember the name of your blog and address and search engines you chose, so it is even faster. This is the action that drives traffic to your blog so never omit this step. Some blogs allow you to set up things automatically so some of the blog search engines are pinged, but I believe Pingomatic’s list is more comprehensive.
  1. Link to your site inside your posts: In addition to linking to your main web site in the sidebars when you first set up your blog, you should also link to your site within each post. You should include keywords in your blog post that you’re trying to rank well for, and then link those words to various pages of your web site. Your blog interface, whether through Typepad or WordPress or some other, will give you the option to create a link from any words in your post. Having text link to your main site creates what is called “anchor text,” which is very valuable. You can use your blog interface to do this, or I create my blog posts in Dreamweaver, which makes it easy for me to format them, add links, photos, videos, etc., then I paste the HTML code in.
  1. Feedburner: I just started using a service called Feedburner, which allows you to put up a form on your blog in one of the sidebars, and then when people enter their email address there, it automatically sends them your full blog posts in an email. So whenever you post something, it is automatically sent out via email to everyone who signs up there. Sort of like an automatic newsletter.
  1. Track your stats: Your blog interface will allow you to see the number of visitors you are getting every day. Check this occasionally to get an idea of how many visitors you’re getting. You will see that certain posts really connected with the public and drove lots of visitors, which can give you an idea of which topics are popular.
  1. Pictures: I think it’s really important to put your picture up there (in a sidebar), as it allows readers to connect with you. I’ve read that it’s really important to put pictures in your blog posts too.

Blogs are a great way to build traffic and links to your web site. I think every business that has a web site should have one, and above tells how to get the most out of one.