Blogs (short for Web logs) have come a long way since their inception. And while it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact date they originated (some peg it as early as 1993, though the term “blog” was coined in 1999), the proliferation of blogging is astounding. More appropriately, the level to which they’ve surged in popularity can be best described as an outright explosion: 112 million tracked blogs by late 2007.
What is it that is so captivating about blogging? What are the rules to good blogging? And how exactly can you become an active participant in the growing trend of self-expression and virtual celebrity while capturing real results for your business? Check out the short list of important rules to blogging effectively to give you a jump start.
1. Always provide fresh, valuable content.
Pretty much anyone who can type can put a blog online. 112 million of you have “actively” done that already – so what is the reason I or, for that matter, any Web crawler, should care about your particular blog?
If you have good, fresh, content that is well-written and not just cobbled together, you will be able to bring more relevancy to the Internet. And, in case you haven’t guessed yet, your blog will be more interesting to read.
One of the best ways to increase your foothold in search is to generate fresh, relevant content. Blogs are the perfect forum for that. Some of the most popular blogs are added to every day, often several times a day.
2. Generate compelling copy for your titles.
There are two reasons to create a readable, compelling title for your blog. First, people will know what you are writing about and therefore actually read it. Remember, the goal is to develop loyalty with your reader, not just dump a bunch of hacked info so that you have some basic form of content.
Second, it will help your page rank and improve your position with search. By providing new titles that apply to your content and website, you’ll be able to inch up the listings and be found more easily by Internet users.
3. Link well.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that linking to other sites alone will give you what you are looking for. There are services that provide “portals” for linking. Web crawlers look at this as cheating and, while it may or may not work, the downside is that your site can be banned if search engines think you are simply linking to generate relevancy. Make sure your blog hotlinks are for real reasons.
That said, the more you link, the more you will seem more popular. Likewise, having reciprocal links helps as well.
4. Make sure you have a purpose. Understand it – and then be able to write about it or contract someone else to do it for you.
There are several ways to generate good content. Some ways include public domain books, articles and pamphlets which contain great information – all you’d have to do is update it for your purposes (Note: You always want to adhere to copyright laws whenever you use other people’s content).
You can also acquire a hired hand that has some experience in whatever field your business is in. Or contract a freelance web writer. Mostly, make sure the person has experience writing for the web since traditional conventions don’t always apply.
Finally, make sure the writing has a purpose and can be digested easily. Don’t be too obscure or self-indulgent. Yes, another reminder that you want to write for the reader…not yourself.
5. Don’t start what you can’t finish.
If you enter into the blog world, make sure you have a plan to maintain it. Nothing will frustrate you more than beginning the writing, then petering out over a few weeks. You’ll feel as though you’ve wasted your time – and, frankly, you’d be right.
An effective blog takes good content, fresh additions, good linking and great headlines. If you can give your time to generate those key points then a blog could work towards getting you noticed online.