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Five Tips For Creating a Business Blog

Posted on May 8th, 2009
Written by Lee Odden
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    Business' BloggingStarting a business blog is no easy task. There are lots of things to think about and lots of things to consider. Sometimes companies think to big to fast, which could be setting the blog up for failure before it even launches.

    The key thing to remember when creating a new business blog is to start simple and then expand. Going from 0-60 in two seconds sounds like fun, but there are a lot of risks involved. It’s better to ease into it by focusing on creating good content, measuring growth, and learning how users interact with the blog.

    Here are five things to think about when before creating your business blog.

    Time Crunch:
    Launching a blog takes time. There has to be hosting, software installed, a design created, a template created from the design, testing, content creation and approval from management. This is not a process that can be done in a week or two. Rushing it only leads to mistakes and stress.

    The best thing to do is create a plan and make sure to give enough time to each step of the process.

    The same is true for ongoing blog post creation. One post a day may sound good, but that could translate to two or three hours a day. If you don’t have the staff to support that, realize that before setting the posting goals and find something more achievable. Maybe that’s two posts a week. Or maybe the goal is still one post a day, but from five different people. This spreads out the work.

    Design Distraction:
    Now I do think that a good design is important, but if the goal is to launch the blog in four weeks, we can’t spend three weeks continuously tweaking and changing the design. This leaves little time to actually building and implementing the design. There is also the content creation and testing to think about.

    Instead, break the design into wants and needs. Does it need to have two sidebars? Or will one work for the initial launch? Do we need that advertising spot, or should we wait and see how the blog performs before integrating advertising?

    The most important thing is to ensure that all the needs are in and the design works on all browsers. The accents and wants can be integrated as the blog grows.

    Feature Compulsion:
    It’s easy to look at well-established blogs and get lots of ideas. Podcasts, video, audio, post ratings, Facebook integration, profiles, and the list goes on and on. Trying to integrate every possible feature before launch isn’t the best use of time.

    It goes back to our wants and needs. Do we need this feature? Or can we roll it out next month? Sometimes, rolling out features every few weeks will make the blog more exciting as there is always something new when the user returns.

    Category Overload:
    I’ve seen some get carried away when thinking about organizing a blog. It’s sometimes so detailed and complex that people don’t realize what they are creating; they’re just adding more and more.

    I’ve seen blogs end up with over 30 categories at launch and they are integrated prominently into the blog interface. Now 30 categories is a lot. Heck 10 is even a lot for a blog launch.

    If a blog were to go live with 10 categories, then there needs to be at least one post in each category. If the same post is in a few different categories, then the value of those categories will be diminished. There’s nothing worse than clicking around on different links only to get the exact same information.

    So by having 10 prominent categories at blog launch, the site will need 20-30 posts to give a good mix of content for each category.

    It’s better to build up categories as the blog grows. You can plan for 20, but realize that it may take a few months to get there. Start with one or two and add categories as posts get created. However, don’t try to assign 5 categories to one post thinking it’ll make the process go faster, it’ll only make the blog less appealing.

    Death by Comparison:
    “If TechCrunch can do it, why can’t we?” “ProBlogger gets lots of comments and so will our blog.” “This site says they make $2k on advertising with Google Adsense, lets add that.”

    These are examples of comparing one blog to another that is completely out of its league. It’s not bad to have high goals, but sometimes they are unrealistic.

    Traffic, comments, leads, and other KPIs come over time. It takes a lot of work to bring a blog up to a level like TechCrunch or ProBlogger. If one expects a blog to be the hottest thing on the net in a week or two, chances are they will be very disappointed.

    So what should we do?
    kiss - Keep It Simple StupidThe biggest thing to remember is K.I.S.S; keep it simple stupid.

    Don’t set the blog up for failure before it launches. Start with a few categories, focus on good content creation, and skip non-essential features. As the blog grows think about adding new features, tweaking the design and incorporating items that will be of benefit to users.

    Launching a business blog can be fun and challenging at the same time.  By keeping it simple, focusing on needs, and creating good content, you will help ensure the success of the blog.