It’s easy to set a blog up on the fly and hope that something will happen once you start to write posts. This approach, more often than not, is a great way to waste time.
There are several key elements that you will want to incorporate on your blog that are effective for most small businesses and startup entrepreneurs.
Build Your Email List of Friendly Subscribers
Have you ever been to a networking event where you’ve come home with a stack of cards, with hardly any of them being relevant to your business? The beauty of the Internet and of blogging is that you will attract those who are interested in what you have to say based on the keywords you use in your posts.
Make sure to have an email opt in form on the top right of your blog. (above the fold and on every page) You may also choose to use your home page as a landing page as opposed to a blog page. This may include a video or audio so that your prospects will be able to get to know who you are and what you are about quickly.
OK, so you have your opt in form. Then what? This is how many business owners drop the ball. When someone opts into your list, you need to have a thank you page set up on your blog. This is better than the generic thank you email that is generated by your email marketing company. You will also need a welcome email (or follow up) that is hosted on your email marketing site. That is the bare minimum. Often, it is recommended to have a series of auto responder messages that will be broadcast every couple of days or once a week.
A convenient way to get around writing a separate newsletter or sending out announcements regularly is to create a blog broadcast. This means each time you write a post (which will bring your traffic) your post feed (RSS) will be sent to your email service and either an excerpt or the full content of the post will be sent to your subscribers. You can also send announcements or a newsletter if you wish when you have important news to report or are launching a new product or program. Doing a blog broadcast kills two birds with one stone. (sorry birdies) You are creating new content for your blog that will bring you new traffic, and you are staying in touch regularly with those who were previously attracted to your site.
Your email messages give you the opportunity to personally introduce your products and services without being pushy. Think of your email list as a slow drip coffee pot for monetizing your blog. You don’t want to bombard your readers with an endless sales pitch, however, every once in a while, you may recommend something you feel would be valuable for them to check out that is either a product of yours or something you are affiliated with.
Be the Hub for Your Social Media Sites
You may be twittering and pinning but ultimately, you want your fans to come to your house to play. Make sure your blog has share buttons that will be used by your audience. Don’t have so many buttons that people get confused on what to press to share what they enjoy.
Most people are on Facebook, so that is a given. You want a Facebook Like or Share button. It’s also good to have Twitter as that is an excellent way to find people you may not necessarily know. If your site is visual and hosts interesting images, videos, recipes, products, add a Pin It button installed for Pinterest. According to some sources, Pinterest is driving more traffic to some websites than Facebook. Other buttons will depend on your particular audience. If none of your readers know what a Digg button is, chances are it will never be used and will take up valuable space in your content area.
Although many people put all their social icons on the sidebar of their blogs as well as their Facebook page, etc., it’s a good idea to focus on your main call to action which is most likely your email list.
Keep your sidebar as clean and simple as possible. Install your email opt-in form, a link to your most interesting program, (not all of them) most popular blog posts (people like popular), and that’s about it.
Other system integrations may include shopping carts and digital or media courses you may be selling. Setting up a sales system is all about creating a strong relationship with your prospects.
Do you have a question on how to set up your blog site systems? Please leave a comment.