By John Eberhard

I think everyone who is serious about website marketing, increasing search engine rankings and driving traffic to their web site today should put up a blog. But there is a bit to know about how to use a blog properly to do these things.

  1. Put up your blog on a separate URL from your main web site.
  1. Set up your blog with one or two sidebars, and include links there to your main site. You can link to things you are selling, such as books or other merchandise. Also include a phone number prominently on the blog so people can reach you easily.
  1. Include a photo of the person who will be writing all the articles. This personalizes it. Part of the character of blogs is that they are more of a personal communication than a regular web site, and they should develop a personality, the personality of the writer. (This isn’t to say that you can’t have a ghost writer for a blog).
  1. Post something to your blog once a week or more. Each post can be anywhere from 150 words to 1,000 words. See other blogs in your industry to see what types of things they write about. The writing may be hard at first for you, depending on whether you are an experienced writer or not, but it will get easier the more you do it.
  1. You need to have a good idea of what keywords to use in your blog. This is done by doing keyword research to find out how many people are searching for the keyword, and how much competition there is for that keyword. You should pick 10-20 keywords to emphasize in your blog posts, that have a decent amount of people searching for them, but not too much competition.
  1. Utilize 2-3 of your selected keywords in each post. Make them different every week – not the same ones week to week. Now make those keywords into links back to your main site. You can do this in your blog interface, or I do it in Dreamweaver, then paste it in. Doing it in Dreamweaver makes it easy to add pictures to the post too. Link to a page on your site that is appropriate to each keyword. Don’t always link to the home page.
  1. A common thing on blogs is commenting on other things that are written on other web sites or blogs. You can also add a video to your blog post, pulling in code from YouTube or Google Video, and the video will display on the blog. I think adding a video to the blog adds a lot of interest.
  1. Once you add a new post, send a notification (called a “ping”) to all the blog search engines. This gets the content of your post into the blog search engines and the regular search engines, and drives traffic to the blog.

If you do the above, each one of your blog posts will count as 2-3 links coming back to your main site. That increases search engine rankings. And each post should drive traffic to the blog and via the blog, to your main site. If you follow your blog and web site stats, you will see that certain posts really seem to connect with the public and that gives you an idea of what to write about in the future.