Critical Blog Tips

As you're setting up your blog, here are some critical tips to keep in mind for its success.

Date Based
Your blog should be date based. Yes, you should absolutely have other evergreen content on your site, to complement the blog's offerings. But a blog shines in being timely. Your readers come to expect that this is like a conversation. They know what you're doing and thinking. It's personal. It's something they can relate to. It's something they're interested in, and that they want to talk about.

Allow Comments
A key aspect of blogs is that they draw the user in to interact with you. Where standard evergreen content is generally passive, where the user reads about "how to make hummingbird nectar" and is satisfied, blogs strive to be interactive. In a blog you are talking about why YOU love hummingbirds more than grackles, and invite your readers in to offer their point of view. It is the more human / empathetic side of the web.

Moderate the Comments
Any system that allows a user to post content on your site is an invitation to spammers to destroy your website. If you allow porn posters to fill your site with porn links, Google can easily respond by removing all links to you. And your hosting company could shut you down. Absolutely make sure you keep an eye on comments and moderate them if necessary. All blog software that I know of allows you to do that.

Update Regularly
In our modern world people are checking the web hourly from their smart phones. They are constantly hooked in. They expect to see updates. If the last time you posted on your site was a month ago, they consider that ancient history. There are thousands of other competitors out there posting daily, and that is where they are going to go and build a relationship. So do your best to post frequently. Daily is a good aim.

Be Personal
You don't have to reveal all your dark secrets, but you want to relate to people as a human being. That is a key aspect of blogs, that there is a human, at a point of time, sharing their thoughts.

Build your Own URL Traffic
Never blog on a generic site. To do so is investing all your own hard work and effort into someone else's traffic growth. Decide what URL you want to represent this project you are working on, and ensure all your content of all kinds resides there. Any marketing efforts you do such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterset, and so on should all drive back to this one URL. It is critical that you have a focal point for Google to recognize as a "center for information about xxxx". Remember, your competitors all have that center, and their traffic is undoubtedly in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. You need that coherent large number of pageviews in order to build your own ranking against that.

You'll note I'm not mentioning software. It's fine to use WordPress, UBB Forums, or any other system that allows:
1) Dated entries
2) User accounts for commenters
3) Moderation of those users

There are thousands of options out there now for providing those features. What is key is that the software resides on YOUR server, that it is tightly integrated with your static pages, and that you find it easy to use.

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