If I decide to start blogging to help market myself online, what should I write about?

The actual content is the heart of the blog. If you don’t have something interesting to share with readers, your blog will fall flat. Be on the lookout for interesting material that will educate and enlighten readers about your products or services. Keep a file folder with magazine articles or flyers that would make interesting blog subjects. Keep a log of good websites you can link to from your blog. Once you start looking for good material, you’ll notice it in more and more places. Try to mention your location conversationally in each blog, for example, “Here in Harrisonburg, business people often prefer to meet downtown for coffee or lunch.”   Try to use key words that describe your business or service, but don’t overdo it. And use an eye-catching graphic to set off your beautifully-written article. A good picture is worth a thousand words, and grabs the readers’ attention before they read a single word.



How can I make sure the content of my blog enhances the mission and public image of my company?

Carefully selected content and skillful writing are the best tools to create blog articles that are good for business. Don’t rush and post an article that’s sloppy or inaccurate. Whenever possible, name sources for material or statistics you use in your blog so readers know you’re giving them legitimate information. If a JMU professor wrote it, say the author’s name and the date it was written. Check with your supervisor or company owner to find out if your organization follows specific guidelines for public relations material. Then work within those guidelines for all of your articles. It’s always a good idea to ask at least one or more coworkers to read over your article before you post it.



I’m not all that tech-savvy. Is it hard to post blogs?

Posting a blog is similar to sending an email. It should only take you a couple of minutes after you become familiar with the software. If you’ve hired a professional set up your blog, make sure the deal includes a training session on the software. Ask lots of questions and try doing it yourself while your trainer is present. And ask if it will cost extra if you call the blog developer later on if you get stuck on something.  My company, Estland Design, offers clients a couple of free help calls as part of the deal.


If I decide to blog, do I have to respond to replies or comments?

Blogging FAQ: If I decide to blog, do I have to respond to replies or comments?

Several of my Harrisonburg clients use a blog as a news feature only. By that I mean that they only post their blog articles and remove the option for comments from readers. But if you want to receive comments, the comments won’t be posted without your approval. Each reply can be routed to your email, and you may choose to accept or decline to post it on your site. Consider the types of replies you might expect for your type of business. Some happy customers might send you glowing testimonials. Comments on blogs do not improve or diminish your website’s results with search engines, so you can choose whatever suits you best.


How much time do I need to maintain my blog?

Blogging FAQ: How much time do I need to maintain my blog?

A successful blog needs regular updating—at least once per month. When you’re first starting out, allow about two hours to gather your thoughts, select your resources and write your first blog. I’ll be discussing tips for the actual writing process in a later blog post. But I can tell you now that if you don’t like to write, or aren’t good at it, consider hiring a professional writer. You want it to be interesting, and to provide good material for the search engines to find. Plan to block out some time once a month to prepare your blog, or you can work ahead and write two or more at a time. Get away from the office so you won’t be interrupted. Take a trip to a coffee shop in downtown Harrisonburg and bring your laptop!

To blog or not to blog…

Thanks for checking out my new blog site!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be answering seven common FAQs about blogging. These are questions I’ve heard many business owners ask when they’re thinking about starting a blog, and I hope you’ll find my answers helpful.

Blogging FAQ #1—What exactly IS a blog?

The word “blog” is a combination of the words “web log.” A regularly-maintained blog will help your website stay up-to-date and interesting to visitors. A blog post can be written, such as a commentary or a description of an upcoming or past event, or it can include graphics or videos. Posts are arranged by date, with the most recent post appearing at the top. Good bloggers aim for short, interesting content that holds the reader’s interest.

Blogging FAQ #2—Does my company need a blog?

A blog can do two important things for your business. First, a good blog helps position you as an expert in your field by providing a venue where you can offer your expertise to potential and existing customers. You can use a blog on your website to share helpful tips and facts about your product, service or industry.

Second, a well-written blog is likely to help your website get higher rankings from search engines like Google or Yahoo. High rankings are the best way to get people to visit your website. So the ultimate goal is to make it easy for potential customers to find your site by having it appear high on the list of search engine results. I’ll give you some tips about what to include in your blog in a later FAQ.

Stay tuned for more FAQs about blogging coming soon.