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Tips for Blog Publishing Success

EnhanceMyMarketing.com's blog publishing success tips for starting personal or business blog. Learn basic tips for planning, starting, promoting, and maintaining your blog.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Founder of the EmpoweringSites.com Network

Many blogs are created, but far fewer are maintained regularly -- and even far fewer have strong and passionate followers.

It's important to get that information out upfront to showcase that while it's fairly easy to conceptualize and start a blog, it's takes much more effort and discipline to not only maintain it, but to develop an audience (a following) as well.

If you go into the creation of a blog knowing some of the realities, it will help both with the planning and development of it. Of course, people blog for all sorts of reasons, but the focus of this article is on those who want to blog to help build their personal or company brand.

Ready to get started joining the millions of others who blog? Follow these tips for planning, starting, promoting, and maintaining your blog.

1. Decide on a topic, point of view, and voice. The most essential element of your blog is content -- and what you should strive for is original content, written in a style and with a point of view that makes the blog unique (even when there are hundreds of other blogs with the same or similar topic). The publishing of high-quality, interesting, and on-target blog entries (called postings) is the most important aspect of any successful blog.

2. Decide on the proper publishing platform. You have two choices really. You can either use blogging software (such as WordPress) you install on your server or you can create an account on a blogging Website (such a Blogger.com). There are many pros and cons to not only each method, but the particular platform you choose. It's best to take your time, conduct thorough research, and choose wisely.

3. Have a business plan, but don't expect to make lots of money -- at least not initially. The vast majority of blogs make little or no money, but if you develop a unique blog that attracts attention and readership, you may end up with opportunities that never would have existed without the blog. Just remember you'll have to be patient. Typical ways to earn revenue include text advertising (such as Google AdSense), banner advertising, and affiliate programs (such as Amazon or Commission Junction). You can, of course, also use your blog to drive traffic to your Website.

4. Keep it simple. Decide how frequently you'll be posting to your blog. It's best to start small when starting your blog. You can always increase the frequency, broaden the scope, or add more bells and whistles once you have the blog up and running smoothly. Choose a name and theme and style -- and focus on writing on-target blog posts about your chosen topic. Keep blog entries concise and short -- at least at first -- in the 200-400 word range. (Here's an expert tip: create an "about this blog" page that describes the focus and viewpoint of your blog -- and perhaps a tad bit about you and why you created it.)

5. Learn some basic technical knowledge. While most blogging software is extremely easy to use and manipulate -- allowing you to focus more on content and less on design -- it's still helpful to learn some basic HTML commends and have a working understanding of things like JavaScript. Once you have your blog up and running smoothly, you may want to add some bells and whistles (such as video, audio, badges, and widgets) -- and having some technical knowledge will help for troubleshooting when the inevitable snag occurs.

6. Stockpile blog entries. A number of bloggers don't necessarily write every day -- even when their blog posts daily entries. Instead, these writers find it easier to compose several blog entries in one sitting. Once written, each blog entry can be placed into a queue -- ready to be published at a push of a button. It's also a good idea to stockpile a few extra blog entries for times when unexpected events limit the time you have for blogging.

7. Connect with other bloggers by blogging about their content. The blogosphere, like the Web, is totally interconnected. One of the best ways of getting other bloggers to notice you is by reading their blogs and writing a blog entry that comments on something they have posted on their blog (with a link to the original post). Of course, you can also invite other bloggers to write a guest blog for your blog, as well as ask for a link from their blog to yours -- perhaps including you in their blogroll.

8. Use your social network to drive traffic to your blog. Are you using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any of the dozens of other social networking sites? Post the URL to your blog on your profile and invite your friends to read your blog. Use the status updates of these sites to link to a specific blog post. Remember to also include your blog's Web address in your emails and all other electronic communications.

9. Submit your blog to Web and blog directories and search engines. Most bloggers go well beyond their circle of friends to encourage readership of their blogs. The way to accomplish this task is by submitting your blog to as many of the key search engines and directories as possible -- including both search engines such as Google and Bing as well as blog directories such as BlogCatalog and Technorati. For more information, see my SEO Primer for Website Success.

10. Encourage your readers to interact with the blog. Some experts say the key to a successful blog is engaging your readers -- and encouraging them to share their stories and reactions to your blogs by allowing them to post freely to your blog. You may be amazed at some of the comments -- good and bad -- but developing a dialogue and community is what blogging is about.

11. Keep blogging. Especially as you are first starting out, it may be very discouraging to put your heart and soul into well-crafted blog posts and get no response and little readership -- the black hole of blogging. But if you have a voice that needs to be heard, keep at it, and with enough hard work, promotion, networking, and patience, you will slowly build a loyal readership -- and more.

Final Thoughts on Blogging Success

A blog can be many things to different people, but mostly a blog is simply the current method for regular people to share information, news, ideas, and stories.

Blogging can be very hard work -- and time consuming -- but also rewarding. The best bloggers are deliberate in brainstorming new material, conducting thorough research, and writing stimulating content. Done well -- and promoted heavily -- your blog can slowly become an important source of information and opinion about your subject area. Writing your blog can lead to many other opportunities, from becoming an expert sought out by other media outlets to receiving queries from book publishers seeking new authors with fresh angles... and even to exciting new job and career prospects.

If your goal is to build your personal brand to advance your career or business, the harder you work at it -- and the more professional you can be -- the stronger your brand will become with time, helping strengthen your reputation -- or the reputation of your company.

Finally, once you are ready to get started with your blog and are searching for ideas for writing blog posts, read Ideas for Developing Fresh Content for Your Blog: 10 Blog Posts Tips When You're at a Loss About What to Write About.

Some Useful Blogging Links

Finally, review terms used in this article in the EnhanceMyMarketing.com: Website Marketing and SEO Glossary.

EmpoweringSites.com CEO Dr. Randall Hansen Web Marketing Guru Dr. Randall S. Hansen, CEO of EmpoweringSites.com -- a growing network of highly ranked educational and inspirational Websites -- has been empowering people his entire adult life. He is also founder and publisher of EmpoweringRetreat.com, MyCollegeSuccessStory.com, and EnhanceMyVocabulary.com. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He's often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. He holds a doctorate in marketing and has been involved in marketing his entire life. Learn more at his personal Website, RandallSHansen.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.

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