How to start blogging on the right foot
So, you know you should have a blog but you don't quite know how to set it up or how to make it an effective communication and SEO tool. Here are some great ideas to get you started:
1. Choose your Categories as Logical Tags
If you use a blogging software such as Blogware, your categories are your tags. What is a tag? It's a logical name for a category, post, or picture. Think of it as a filing system. It's the way you tell yourself and others what you are talking about.
You can add tags to any post or category and your post will then come up in Technorati for that subject. For example, if your category is "Sunset photos" and somebody searches Technorati for "sunset photos," they will find you. Your categories should be logical and should flow from what you know about how people find you when searching.
2. Subscribe to & read other Blogs
Use an aggregator such as Bloglines or NewsGator to subscribe to other blogs and news sites that have RSS feeds - make sure to organize and prioritize your content into folders or hierarchies. Choose sites that have content relevant to your business or interests. You should also subscribe to the RSS feeds of key words or phrases such as your company name, your name, tags, or industry key words. You can do this using PubSub and Technorati.
Knowing your news is the first step to having an opinion on it, writing about it, and using it to make your business decisions.
3. Create your Blogroll
It may seem like a simple thing, but telling someone you like their blog is as easy as adding them to your blogroll. If they do what I've suggested in point 2 above, they will know you've done this. So, they see you like their blog. They check you out. Maybe they like what you have to say. You both comment on each others' blogs. They add you to their blogroll. And there you have a relationship. A blogroll is your way to connect with the "important" people in your industry - but it's also a great way to share Google juice between friends. Remember, inbound links count in SEO strategies.
4. Plan your Content Choices
Who are you writing for? What can you talk about that offers useful insight? What do you have an opinion on?
Play to your strengths here. If you are interested in what you're writing, it will show. You will have done point 2 and know what there is that is hot in your industry. Comment on it. Be argumentative if you wish. Opinion is good. Don't forget what your blog is about - your categories should connect with what you talk about. If you write something and don't know where to put it, it's likely not the right blog for that post.
But set some limits. Remember, what you say will be read by many, including your customers, your investors, and your competition. So set some boundaries. Know what is proprietary and what is not. What is insight and what is heated opinion. Especially when it comes to your competitors - know how far you want to take this talk - some of your opinion here, especially negative comments, can be considered flaming.
One other little tidbit is to decide on your angle. Will you be the person who writes about all the new stuff happening in your industry? Or will you be the person who chooses carefully what to write, forms an opinion, and offers out a well thought blog post? You must choose what mix of breadth and depth suits you best.