The more observant of you may have noticed that Slurpy are not the most consistent or regular of bloggers. It tends to be something which takes a back seat behind trying to earn a living and occasionally sleeping. However, it is a subject about which we know an awful lot (whether we manage to put it in to practise or not is a different matter). For this reason we wrote a little manual a while ago for a client who wanted to learn more about the subject, and we thought we’d share it with you now.
“A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world.
Your blog is whatever you want it to be. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, and there are no real rules.
In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what’s new. Then they comment on it or link to it or email you. Or not.”
So why write a blog?
First and foremost, blogs are incredibly “search engine friendly.” That means that search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, reward good (ie relevant) blogs by putting them high in their results. This is because:
- blogs are frequently updated, resulting in a more up-to-date and appropriate match to the search query.
- the are relevant to the search query, because they are predominently text based.
- blogs typically contain many ingoing and outgoing links, which widens the amount of information that the search engine has about the site.
- people can comment on other people’s blogs, making them interactive and more impartial.
Infact, Google (the most popular search engine) owns Blogger (the most popular blogging site) so it’s no wonder that they rate their results highly!
Blogs are fast to write, easy to use, and completely free. They attract over 50 million regular viewers in the US alone, and those visitors tend to be young, of above average income, have high speed connections and be considerably more likely to shop online. Customers can find businesses via their blogs, and start a relationship through the informal and interactive medium that gives a human face to a company that may be on the other side of the globe.
A regularly updated blog makes you site considerably “stickier” – meaning that it sticks people to it for longer periods of time, and gives them a reason to return. Wherever you are, whatever you do, you have knowledge and insights that are fascinating to a group of other people, and a blog is one of the best ways of finding these people and making them return to your site again and again. It is an opportunity to show off your expertise, and to prove, rather than tell, your potential customers how good you are at what you do.
Social networking relies on the fact that buzz creates more buzz. If you can attract a small but regular amount of traffic to your site, those people will soon link to your blog on their own, helping other people to find you and then promote you themselves. Why spend time and money on expensive promotional campaigns when writing a few interesting paragraphs about your business a week online will soon get people clambering over one another to promote you. Good word of mouth over the internet, once established, can continue expenentially with minimum effort.
Setting up a blog:
There are many blogging facilities online, including Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, Word Press, Blog-City, Xanga, and MSN spaces. All of these have their unique advantages and disadvantages, but for this tutorial, we’re going to deal with Blogger.com, because they are owned by Google and are therefore most likely to be rewarded with good search results.
- Go to Blogger.com
- Click “Create your blog now”
- First you will need an account with Google. If you don’t already have one, then fill in the form as requested.
- Signing up will take you to your “dashboard,” the hub of your blogging world, and you can now create a blog by clicking on the button.
- Enter your chosen Blog name, and Blog URL (this is the place on the web that the blog will be located)
- Choose a template. If none match your brand identity, you can always ask Slurpy to design one for you.
- Start Blogging!
It really is that simple, from now on all you have to do each time you want to write a new blog entry is return to www.blogger.com, and click “New post.” You can add photos and videos, change fonts, add signatures, anhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifd a whole host of other things to make your blog one that people want to return to again and again!
It is worthwhile playing around with the settings in your blog, to customize it to your preferences and make sure that it is as optimized as possible for search engines to find. Click on the “settings” tab at the top of the page, and go through the different options, making sure that they are set to allow everyone to view (if that is what you want of course) and that you use all description and keyword opportunities.
Re-visit in a couple of days for part 2 of our Guide to Blogging.