Dos and Don’ts of Blogging
by Starr Hall, American Express Open Forum, April 2010
For those of you who thought an RSS feed was something to eat, you are not alone. With millions of blogs on the World Wide Web, there is still a misconception as to what they are used for and why. With only a fraction of blogs actually monetizing or reaching large markets, this can leave a diligent business owner questioning just how effective blogs really are and whether the time investment needed to build a blog is really worth it.
I personally don’t think that, as a blogger, your goal should be set on reach as much as it should be focused on engaging. If your blog is well-executed and you avoid some common mistakes and pitfalls, you can not only reach new markets but engage and keep your current customers connected. This, in turn, can change customers into long-term loyal fans.
Spunky blogger Scott Stratten of Un-Marketing.com has close to 50,000 followers for his blog. He suggests that you not only write with emotion but that you mention other blogs in your posts. “Another key blogging tip is to allow multiple ways for followers and readers to subscribe,” says Stratten. “Too many blogs only allow people to subscribe to future posts through an RSS feed. The majority of people online still haven’t adopted them. To remedy this, allow a spot for e-mail sign-ups, as well, or use FeedBurner, which will handle both at once.”
Monica Ricci, a blogger for catalystorganizing.com, suggests that you submit your blog to various blog directories; Bloggeries, Blogapedia, Technorati and Blog Search Engine are just a few of the hundreds out there. With more than 1,440 blog subscribers through FeedBurner, and an average of 350 daily visitors, her blog is already ranked #5 in Kindle sales for business blogs. It’s obvious that you don’t need large numbers to have a successful blog.
A few dos and don’ts on blogging:
- DO make sure that your blog is pleasing to look at. Have a good balance of copy and graphics or videos on your blog. DO write with personality. Authenticity is key.
- DO host your blog on your own personal URL. For example, when hosting on a blog platform, it would be http://www.wordpress.com/blog/yournamehere. You can have a more powerful blog presence and more branding power when using a personalized URL such as http://www.yournamehere.com.
- DON’T be controversial to try and get attention; only stand up for and post back if it is something that you strongly believe in.
- DON’T take unwanted comments or posts personal. Focus on what you have to offer as a blogger and not what people think about or comment on in a negative way.
- DON’T continually post back and forth in regard to a negative post or complaint. This can push your blog higher in search engine rankings, but the complaint or negative post would take the stage.