As I’ve written here previously , blogging can be one of the most effective marketing tools at your disposal today. For those of you just starting out, here are a few words of wisdom gleaned from my two years of blogging consistently about my photography business.
1. Stay on message. This is no different from politics. Stay on message and continue to stay on message. Any first-time visitor should know in the first 10 seconds of viewing your blog (no matter what landing page they’ve found) exactly what you’re about.
2. Show your personal side. Blogs are meant to be personal. So be personable! Share as much as you are comfortable with about your life and who you are. Let both your personality and your passion for your subject shine through.
3. Respond to comments. Always respond to comments made on your blog. This is the best way to keep people coming back. Understand that you’re always in a two-way conversation with past, current, and prospective clients.
4. Use multimedia. This is a great platform for trying out and using multimedia. It may be Flash slideshows, video, sound or all of the above. People really dig multimedia — and pretty soon, they’ll expect it.
5. Track your visitors. Use Google Analytics or some other program to track your visitors. Find out how they were referred to your Web site and whether your traffic is increasing or decreasing. This is a great way to evaluate the effectiveness of your blog and to determine what content is popular and what isn’t.
6. Advertise your blog offline. Find ways to advertise your blog outside the Web. Offline marketing continues to be the best way to drive traffic to your blog, Web site or both. The Internet is a great place to find answers, but not the place where most customers start their search.
7. Keep it simple. Pay attention to your design. Keep it clean and simple. Also, develop a style book and make sure to stick to it. If that’s two photographs (one vertical and one horizontal) with a copy block wrapping around the images, then stick to that form. Consistency is comforting to regular visitors.
8. Niche it. Keep your blog about one thing as much as possible. Two things are OK. But three things? Not so much. The more you niche your blog, the better. And if you have other content not related to your subject, start another blog!
9. Update, update, update. Make sure to create good content and consistently update your blog. Regular updates keep readers coming back. Like any marketing campaign, consistency over time is key.
10. Keywords bring traffic. Build into your copy keywords that reflect your blog’s niche and its content. That way, you’ll place higher in Google searches when people are looking for that content. Don’t burden your blog by overusing keywords — that’s not enjoyable for anyone. But do make sure to strategically place these words throughout your blog.
11. Don’t forget to tag. Tagging is way of attaching descriptive labels to your blog content so it can be more easily found by search engines. Be sure to tag all your posts by subject.
12. Explore syndication. RSS is a simple way to syndicate your blog’s content across the Web. Make sure you learn what it is, how it works — and whether or not you should enable it.
13. Pay attention to what’s above the fold. I don’t blog on the weekends, for instance. So I make sure that Friday’s post is on message and strong enough to leave as the first post “above the fold” of the blog for a couple of days.
14. Learn how to write. If you’re blogging, you’re in the communication business. Work on delivering content that is fluent, efficient and enjoyable to read.
[tags]blogging, photography business[/tags]