Blog » A Complete Guide to Starting a Blog in 2012
This is a guest post written by Lace Llanora from The Wholesale Forums, the UK’s leading B2B networking community & advice forum for wholesalers, distributors, importers, dropshippers and retailers. You can follow them on Twitter and on Facebook.
Blogging can spark a minefield of opportunities for your business and you don’t need to blow up your advertising budget to mark your presence in the blogosphere. They’re also a fantastic way to promote your SaleHoo Store and help it get higher search engine placement. Let’s dive in straight on how to setup a blog for your business!
Start free with Wordpress and Blogger
The best known free blog hosting services are Wordpress and Blogger, did we mention it’s free? It’s a good place to start without the need to pay for a domain or hosting provider so you can focus on the more important stuff – content.
Choosing your Blog Domain Name Once you sign up, you’ll be given the chance to register your blog address which will be domain.wordpress.com or domain.blogspot.com. You’ll need to choose a unique and relevant blog address in the same way you chose a domain for your website if you have one. More often than not, it’s a battle between having a keyword-based (i.e. ukwholesaleblog), or a brandable blog name (i.e. Boing Boing).
In the future you may want to tightly connect your blog with your existing website and that’s not a problem with Wordpress. You’ll find it easy to export your content and install a Wordpress platform on your self-hosted domain. If you’re using Blogger, this is one of their weaknesses and many choose to simply export their content and transfer them to a Wordpress platform or activate a URL redirect. This does not discount the fact that free blog hosting services are the best place to start for dipping your toes in the blogosphere.
The Overwhelming Task of Choosing a Theme - Need not be overwhelming! Themes are your blog’s design and framework, for starters – the simpler your theme, the better. Imagine if you opted for a magazine style theme at the onset but only have two or three existing blog posts, the thought of empty widgets and content boxes are haunting! Take our unsolicited advice and start with a simple hierarchy of posts like most bloggers do. This style will allow your content to shine and present your freshest hot-off the-press posts first, followed by your previous work. Simples!
Here’s a short video from Wordpress on how to change your blog’s theme
You may want to have a simple banner designed for you to upload on your blog, perhaps your online store’s banner or a nice photo of your products which you’ll be blogging about. For now, you don’t really need to pay for a graphic designer if you have time on your hands.
Writing your first posts You’re finally ready to publish your very own content, it’s a good time to remember that content doesn’t always have to be words written in virtual ink but other forms of media such as photos and videos. Some say multimedia content reaps highly engaged users so make sure to try and use them effectively.
Not all blogs are created equal with quality being the differential. Quality posts take time and research – whether you’re developing product reviews, industry insights, news, or tutorials. Think about your favourite blog and the reasons why you closely follow their posts. For instance, Social Media Examiner is an excellent blog because of their generous tutorials. Perhaps you follow a blog because of their honest to goodness product reviews. Try to embed these elements into your own blog and writing, it’s not impossible you’ll have your own set of raving blog readers very soon! Always give your blog the best you’ve got, love your readers and they’ll love you back. Remember, you never know what you’ll find in a blog reader – they could be your future customers, partners, and even the press you’ve been dying to contact.
Promoting your Blog
Think of the blogosphere as the super cool college party you’ve been invited in. As a new blogger, you can’t expect to become an instant crowd favourite but you can’t achieve anything by being a wallflower either. So bookmark influential blogs in your field, get involved by sharing your thoughts, ask questions and hang around. Be generous when it comes to sharing your experience and knowledge, this is the ultimate way to become an authority and gain invaluable credibility.
Yes there’s some work involved in making your blog popular but know that your search rankings will be naturally influenced by these activities.
Some more pointers in becoming a super blogger:
Now you and your business are ready to conquer the web!
How do you envision your company blog and how do you think it will help grow your business? Share your thoughts below!