Essential Ingredients of a Profitable Business Blog
Ever baked a cake and left out the eggs…… or the sugar? If you omit any essential ingredients, the cake you take out of the oven’s likely to be a bit of a disappointment. If you’re lucky it might still be just about edible but – worst case scenario – it could end up in the trash can – or maybe the dog (in which case at least you’ll make someone happy!)
The same principle applies to a business blog – there are certain key ingredients you just can’t afford to miss out – unless you want to risk compromising your blog’s success and potential profitability. There are tons of blogs online, but many of them never make the grade and end up being abandoned by their disillusioned owners.
That’s because it’s very easy to set up a blog – but it’s also very easy to make a mess of it if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve never done any cooking, you’re unlikely to bake a great cake unless you follow a recipe. In the same way, if you’re new to business blogging, you’d be wise to follow a tried and trusted recipe recommended by someone who knows what works.
In the video below Jeff Bullas, an experienced and successful blogger, gives you his list of essential ingredients (to which I’ve added one of my own, as you’ll see at the bottom of this post):
11 Key Components for Business Blogging Success
- YOUR OWN DOMAIN NAME: It’s well worth going to the trouble and expense of having a self-hosted blog with your own domain name. Because this means you have your own piece of online real-estate – the domain is yours, no-one can take it away from you. Sonia Simone of Copyblogger has done a great article about the dangers of relying on free options such as Facebook pages – she calls this ‘Digital Sharecropping’ - because it’s like being a tenant rather than owning your own farm. The advantages of being an owner-occupier by having your own domain name will more than compensate you for the small amount of expense involved.
- ADD SUBSCRIPTION BUTTONS: Make sure you add a subscription button so that people can subscribe to your blog, either via email or RSS feed. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication - it’s very easy to set up and enables people to set up a subscription so they automatically receive notifications when your blog is updated. If you have a WordPress blog there are lots of free plugins to help you do this.
- A ‘SEARCH’ BOX: Make it easy for people to search you blog for information by including a ‘search’ function.
- SOCIAL ‘SHARING’ BUTTONS: Be sure to include buttons to enable people to ‘like’, ‘share’ or ‘pin’ your content on social media sites such as Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. This is a great way to increase your visibility and get your content out to a wider audience.
- A RE-TWEET BUTTON: If your visitors read something on your site that really interests them, they might want to share it with their Twitter followers. So make it easy for them by including a ‘re-tweet’ button – then all they’ve got to do is ‘click’!
- ‘CONNECT WITH US’: If you’ve got a Facebook page or other social media sites linked to your blog, you need to encourage your visitors to follow you on these. Having ‘Connect with us’ buttons on your blog makes it quick and easy for people to connect with you on your social media sites. This will help to promote your brand and distribute your content more widely.
- ‘POPULAR POSTS’: It’s a good idea to let people know what other visitors have been reading on your site by setting up a ‘popular posts’ section in your sidebar.
- CREDIBILITY: Make sure you have some information about yourself on your blog, to give it credibility. Jeff’s suggestions in the video presuppose that you already have an established reputation in your field – in which case it should be a simple matter to talk about your achievements. But we all have to start somewhere – and if you’re just starting out, be honest about this. Tell your visitors something about who you are, what your mission is and what kind of service you’re aiming to provide.
- A FREE GIVEAWAY: It’s a good idea to have some kind of freebie to give away to visitors – but they don’t get it for nothing! The point of this is to capture their email address so they can be added to your email marketing list. Building this list is the key to making a substantial amount of money from your blog. It might seem crazy to give something away for nothing, but there’s method in that madness. Many experienced and successful internet marketers will tell you that ‘the money is in the list’!
- SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION: Ensure your blog is optimized for the search engines to maximize its chance of being found by people searching the web. It’s worth investing in a good theme, as Jeff Bullas suggests. You’ll also need to learn about SEO content writing to make sure that any content you add to your posts and pages is optimized to rank well in the search engines. There’s tons of information about this online, but one of the best places to find out about it is Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
- HIGH QUALITY ORIGINAL CONTENT: Far be it from me to criticise Jeff Bullas – and I’m sure this is an unintentional oversight on his part – but I think this is a major omission from his list of essential ingredients. If you want your blog to succeed, if you want people to read and share your content and sign up to your list, you’ve got to give them something of value. And that means GREAT CONTENT!! The most successful blogs are packed full of high quality, original content – and with the recent changes to Google’s algorithms, this will also help to improve your search engine rankings.
I hope that’s given you some food for thought. If you have any views of your own – particularly if you think there are other ‘essential ingredients’ that should be added to this list, please let me know by leaving a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please ‘like’ it and share it with your friends!
I wish you every success with your business blog.
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Filed under: How to Make Money Blogging
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