Business blogging is coming into its own as a viable method for entrepreneurs and industry figures to cement their brand into the digital ether. In fact, it’s no surprise that the business world has largely migrated to the Internet; students can choose from any number of online MBA programs and entrepreneurs are launching more businesses online due to the increasing power and reach of the Internet. The importance of the Internet to business is growing more essential as quantum leaps in globalization and technology continue to broaden, expand and shape the business landscape. One vibrant corner of the industry is business blogging.
If you are a business blogger using WordPress to disseminate your message of prosperity, you may have learned that it’s a great platform for blogging, though it does have a learning curve. For example, you can’t use Google Analyitcs on a wordpress.com site (.org, is a different story and there are plug-ins to accommodate you). Here are a few tips for business bloggers getting started out on WordPress to help you cultivate your status as a need-to-read domain.
Success in business depends largely on your network, and the same is true of blogging. If you are publishing an opinion or perspective you believe is truly important, people will seize on it and in today’s atmosphere of sharing, broadcast it to their own audience. However, in order for people to find your blog, they have to know about it. Find bloggers within your field, and network with them. Establish and cultivate a relationship as an effort to help build your audience.
Use Full Screen
The full-screen writing client in WordPress allows you to turn everything off on your screen and just focus on writing. It’s a very clean layout that has facilitated many, many of my posts that would have been otherwise derailed by a Tweetdeck notification or an open tab that turned into a whole other task.
Another important part of networking is seeing what’s out there and understanding what people are already saying. You don’t want to repeat information readers can get elsewhere. If a large event takes place, something relevant to everyone in your field, you’re going to want to take an angle on the subject that hasn’t been taken elsewhere in your blog network.
Make Use of Widgets
It’s harder to write code into your site layout with WordPress (unless you are a CSS wizard) and so they’ve made it a bit easier with widgets. Depending on your theme, WordPress offers widgets for all the major sites: Flickr, Goodreads, Gravatar, box.net, Twitter, etc. can be added to your site to enhance functionality and user experience.
Covering a wide range of relevant topics is a sure way to attract a diverse following to your blog, and serializing blog posts is a great way to incentivize more repeat visitors to the blog. This trick is well known to suspense authors like R.L. Stine; how do you make sure people read the next chapter instead of set the book down and forget about it. Hit ‘em with a cliffhanger! In the past, I’ve covered huge topics like Chinese real estate – a topic that would be incomplete in just one post, no matter what way you slice it – and caught readers with a hook at the end of each article. Usually it’s a question (what’s next for the world’s fastest growing housing economy?) that I promise to answer in the next post, but this only works if the post has been gripping up to the end. If you can’t write something like this, find someone who can!
The biggest pitfall many blog owners have is getting too lax in their posting habits. First it’s just one day, then one week, and before you know it you haven’t posted in a year. This has happened to me, and over time, I lost my entire audience. By the time I decided to get serious about posting again, I had no blog subscribers and I had to rebuild an audience up from scratch. Sure, I had a template, but it was associated with a defunct blog. Google had dropped my rankings off the map since it looked like my blog was dead.
Wordpress has an excellent software built in that keeps track of all your posting metrics (how many posts you’ve made, how long they are, how popular they are), and it challenges you to meet arbitrary goals each time you get a post up. For context, I just passed 65 posts on my blog and now the service is challenging me to hit seventy before the end of the month. It’s a small thing, but highly motivational if you give yourself over to it. If you do, you’ll see your blog grow.
These are the tactics that have helped me most in my WordPress blogging career, and if you stick with them, you can create a really intuitive blog that will appeal to readers and help you get your name out into the most important sphere: the blogosphere!