By John Eberhard

Blogging is something that you can do that doesn’t cost you anything, and it drives traffic. It can drive traffic to a standalone blog or a blog that is part of your main web site.

How does it drive traffic?

There is a network of blog search engines, and every time you post something on your blog, you have to notify these search engines and your new content will be included in those search engines. And people search and find your content and come to your blog.

WordPress blogs are set up by default to send a notification to all the blog search engines every time you post something new. For Typepad, Blogspot, Posterous or other blogs, you can send a notification (called a “ping”) to these search engines for free at www.pingomatic.com.

If you have a standalone blog, meaning one that is not part of your main site but is on a separate web address, then you have to put things in the sidebars that will get them to come back to your main web site. See one of my blogs to see how I do this:

Notice that I have ads in the sidebars promoting my book and a free eBook, as well as links to my other sites and my various services.

I track traffic to my main web site at www.realwebmarketing.net using Google Analytics, and my blogs are the biggest single traffic source to that web site over the last two years (even bigger than Google).

Setting Up a Blog

There are several ways to set up a blog:

  • WordPress: You can set up a hosting account and have WordPress installed on it. You can also set up a sub-folder under an existing web site and install WordPress in just that folder, so that the address of the blog would be www.yourmainwebsite.com/blog.
  • Typepad: You can set up an account with Typepad who will then host your blog, so you don’t need a separate hosting account. You can use a custom web address that you register.
  • Free Blogs: There are several free blogs, including WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Posterous.com, and Blog.com. Note that WordPress.com is a free blogging system and is different from having a hosting account and installing WordPress there. I know, it’s pretty confusing. We used to use LiveJournal.com but the site has been broken for some time, and we used to use Tumblr.com, but they got all high and mighty on us and closed down our accounts because we (gasp!) wrote blog posts with links to other sites. Recently WordPress.com has also started closing down accounts if you write blog posts with links in them to other web sites.

Linking in Your Blog Posts

One of the advantages of blogging is that you can put links inside your blog posts, to pages on your main site. And getting lots of links coming back to your main site helps its search engine rankings.

Putting links into your blog posts is very smart to do and over time will add a fair number of new links to your site. I would put a max of 3 links into each blog post.

As mentioned some of the free blogs are objecting to links from your blog to commercial web sites, which I think is idiotic and symptomatic of the general “anti marketing” bias within the IT community. So my advice is not to use WordPress.com or Tumblr.com any more.

What to Write About

The next question is what to write about and how often. You should write something new and post it to your blog at least once a month, or more ideally, once a week.

You can write an article for your blog of anywhere between 300 and 1500 words. I’ve heard people say that you should not write anything over 700 words for a blog post but I can’t see any reason for that. Pick some topic related to your industry that has helpful information in it, i.e. it is not just a pitch for people to buy something.

In addition to writing an article, you can also write a short comment about some other content on the web, with a link to that content. You can also post a video from YouTube so that it displays right in the blog. So you can see that you do not have to write a full blown article to be able to post something.

It’s a good idea to include some high traffic keywords in your blog posts, because once that post gets included in the blog search engines, more people will find it due to searching for those keywords.

Good luck with blogging.