(Guest Post) Why should you write a blog? There are many reasons, but most blog writers do it partly for fun and partly to expand their online persona. A blog gives you the opportunity to share your viewpoint on the world and let people know who you are. If you are an expert on a certain topic, a well-written blog will highlight this and help build your networks. You will attract attention, and if you learn how to market your blog, there is earning potential as well. Many bloggers use their page to sell a service or a product, and popular blogs can benefit from ad revenue. If you are thinking of taking up blogging, here are a few helpful tips:
1. Stick with what you know. It’s fun to push the envelope and try to write about all kinds of stuff, but for a quality blog that keeps people coming back – you need to be an authority on your topic and establish credibility. If you really have an urge to write about something you know nothing about, say, dentistry in the middle ages – you can always invite a guest blogger. You can also look for opportunities to write a guest post elsewhere. It’s fun and it helps raise your profile.
2. Link your blog to all your social networks. This helps increase attention and expands your ability to build a comprehensive online persona. Social media marketing of your blog is easy: a Twitter feed can be sent to your Facebook page and LinkedIn profile, directing your target audience to your blog post.
3. Be consistent and regular. No, that’s not referring to the need to eat your Wheaties daily. Popular blogs are maintained with regular postings, and frequent posts will increase your chances of being noticed by search engines. If you are going to be away, let your readers know. When a blog hasn’t been updated since 1996, it doesn’t matter how interesting the content – readers won’t bother coming back.
4. Be original and do not plagiarize. That one is so important, it bears repeating: Be original and do not plagiarize. Keyword-obsessed content mills are everywhere, and users are getting tired of searching for information only to see the identical article with identical information everywhere they go. A good blog needs to be original and fresh. You may want to periodically review your own work to make sure you are not inadvertently duplicating content, and if you do want to use someone else’s work, make sure you get permission. Plagiarism, of course, is theft. It’s illegal, and it has destroyed many a writing career. On that topic…
5. Watch for unethical, lazy bloggers who are stealing your blog copy. Do a periodic content search and compare. There are a number of helpful (and free!) copy check tools out there, but often a simple Google search will expose the culprit. A direct request to the website owner may get your content removed, but take legal steps if you need to. It’s yours: protect it.
6. Enable comments and links. The very best blogs invite dialogue from readers. When readers comment on your blog, they are going to come back to see if their words had any impact. Respond to comments to let readers know their opinion is valued and you will soon build reader loyalty.
There are many other helpful things a beginner needs to know when starting a blog. One of the most important is preparation. Do some research and learn about the technical aspects: things like hosting, keyword research, tagging, and copywriting. Learn how to network and link, and decide which blog vehicle will work best. Then pick your first topic and start blogging.
Deb Johnson is a writer with over 30 years experience, who also works a day job as a counselor. She cooks, plays violin, and travels to Europe often. She loves sharing her passions on several sites including Degree Jungle a resource for college students.