Business Bloggers Manual by Arsenio San Agustin - HTML preview

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Introduction

Gone are the days when simply having a website of your company was enough to make your presence registered in the World Wide Web. The new mantra for online presence is: “If you’ve got a business, you better have a blog.”

Your business needs a blog. Not because it’s ‘the thing’ to do but because not having a blog is bad business. You’re ignoring a very lucrative avenue of income and failing to realize the benefits that you can reap through a simple, inexpensive blog.

By having a blog for your business, you humanize your company. Your customers and target audience relate to you better. It has the potential to form loyalty among your customers and readers. By marketing your blog through social media and other means, you’ll be reaching a market that you might not have by traditional means of marketing. Online marketing is also cheaper and a lot more targeted.

Keep in mind that a business blog should be about your business. The key is to not make it promotional. Readers are turned off by a blog that just keeps pushing its products and services at its readers. A blog that attracts and retains readers is educational, personal, informative and fun.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

Setting Up A Blog

For a business blog, there’s no excuse for using a free service like Blogger or WordPress. At around $10 per month, it is an easy investment to make in your business and if you link your blog to your business website as a sub domain, you won’t even have to pay for hosting as sub domains are free in hosting packages.

Setting up a blog is easy. Whether you’re buying a new domain and hosting or using a sub domain, all you have to do is look for the proper option in your control panel of your website’s account and follow the instructions received in the email from the hosting service.

If you’re buying a new domain and hosting it, it is advisable to use separate services for both. For buying a domain, GoDaddy (www.godaddy.com) is very popular but its hosting services have not garnered popular reviews.

There are numerous hosting services to choose from. No matter which one you choose, make sure you research them thoroughly and take user reviews into account. A good place to research hosting companies is Web Hosting Geeks (www.webhostinggeeks.com).

Buying a domain is a once a year cost while hosting is charged per month.

Cost Of Running A Blog

A blog is an investment in your business that can increase your income. This investment requires a lot more than just money. The monetary cost of a blog isn’t the only cost involved – though that can become substantive if you let it.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

Time

Blogs don’t make, maintain and sustain themselves. You have to put a lot of thought into them. Work out the details and figure out a way to make it one of your top priorities in order for it to flourish. All of this takes time. On an average or until you have figured out a content and marketing plan (to be discussed later) for your blog, you’re looking at spending at least 2 hours daily on it.

Energy

Devoting time to a blog requires energy. After a long day at work, you may not have the energy to write a blog post. For your blog to succeed, having the energy to meet the demands of maintaining a blog is essential. Reprioritize your schedule to include blogging in it or come up with other options so that the growth of your blog does not suffer.

Passion

Nothing in business succeeds without passion. A business blog is no different. Unless you don’t have the passion do what it takes to make your blog succeed, it won’t. Passion for blogging is abundant in the beginning. It’s a new venture; you’re excited and can’t wait to get started. After a few weeks, you start to lose momentum. You can’t come up with fresh ideas for blog posts, the traffic doesn’t increase like you wanted it to and there are barely any comments.

Every blogger goes through it after the initial euphoria of doing something new has faded. This is the time when only passion for your work – and in this case, your blog, carries you through.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

If you’re not passionate about the blog or don’t believe in what it can do for your business, you’re not going to move past this stage.

Money

The monetary cost of a blog can vary. It usually costs a few hundred dollars per year. If your blog receives high traffic or if your blog’s needs are more than the average business blog then the cost may raise up to a couple hundred dollar per month.

Your blog will cost more if you decide to hire a web designer and get your website designed. But this cost will be a onetime expense.

Once your blog picks up, all costs will be covered as it begins to contribute towards your income.

Emotions

The emotional cost of a blog is perhaps the highest of them all. Getting attached to our blog is natural. Every triumph of the blog feels like a personal victory. Every mean and thoughtless comment thrusts a dagger in the heart. Dismal traffic figures have the power to depress us and a handful of glowing comments land us on the moon.

Forming an emotional attachment to your blog is natural. You invest time, energy, money and passion, none of which comes easy. A blog also instills a sense of responsibility – not only to yourself, but also to your readers. That is the reason so many bloggers stress over running out of ideas. Their biggest fear becomes not being able to post as high quality posts as they’re publishing now.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

Suffice it to say that a blog can take its author sky high or bury them underground with its low. Unfortunately, the highs of blogging have a shorter life span than its lows.

The Benefits Of Having A Business Blog

Marketing & PR

Blogging about your business is a powerful marketing and PR tool. If done right, your blog with gradually gather loyal readers who subscribe to it via RSS and email updates. Every time a post is published, traffic will spike, people will read the posts, be influenced by it and leave comments.

A blog is a great medium through which excellent public relations can be formed. If your business ever faces a problem, you’ll be able to present your side of the story.

Establish Expertise

Every business is different and every business owner is an expert in his own way. As you blog about your business, you’ll be carving a niche for yourself as an expert in your field. Whatever your business is about, you’ll become the authority to go to for people are trying to succeed in areas that are you’re flourishing in.

They key is to never shy from competition. Help as many people as you can – even if they’re your direct competitors. The more approachable and helpful you are through your blog, the more people will trust you.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

Direct Communication

Blogging lets you directly communicate with your targeted audience.

Whether it’s talking about a particular aspect of your business and what you learned from it to posting about a social cause you feel strongly about. Blogging about it will communicate your thoughts directly to your readers.

Direct communication with your target market has to be two way. If you’re communicating with them your thoughts and ideas, invite them to communicate theirs.

They can do that through comments, email, your blog’s contact page or any of your social network profiles.

Control Of Information

Sharing information is paramount in blogging. If you don’t get personal on a blog, it won’t resonate with people. As stated in the

“Business Blogging Secrets: How to Avoid Killing Your Blog with These Common Mistakes”, not letting your readers get to know the real you is a mistake. So is getting too personal on a blog. Find a balance between the two.

You can also control information you share when launching a new product or service. Build anticipation by releasing information in stages. However, this will only work if your readers trust you to not fool them by just promoting your next product.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

Choose what you’re promoting wisely. If your readers like what you promoted, the next time you do it, they’ll be more open to it. Don’t do it too often though! And don’t always promote your own products.

Promote other products you believe in as well.

When you promote other products, people will reciprocate and promote your own product when it launches. Cross promotion between blogs of any niche is common and considered done in good faith.

Collaboration

Blogging puts you in the unique position of becoming friendly with other businesses and bloggers. Online collaboration on a new product or service is an excellent way to target new audiences and gain more loyal readers.

By launching a product/service in collaboration with another blogger or business, you’re pulling in the customers of two businesses rather than just your own. Sales will increase and so will your income.

If the partnership with the other blogger works out great, you’ll also be gaining a glowing testimonial.

Collaboration doesn’t necessarily have to be about products and services. You can collaborate on hosting competitions and give aways etc by combining both your resources.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

Credibility

All of the above quietly establishes your credibility. People realize that there’s no flake in you, your blog or your business. They also realize that you know what you’re talking about. You become trusted and your readers become loyal. Not to mention, other people in the industry also recognize you.

The ‘Real’ Work Involved in Blogging

The benefits of blogging for business are all great and do wonders for increasing your income but it’s no child’s play. There is tons of work involved in business blogging that leads to those benefits.

Content

A blog isn’t a blog without content. Regularly published and updated content at that. If you’re blogging yourself, after a few weeks or months, you’ll feel drained and out of things to blog about. It happens to everyone and this most certainly does not mean that you’re a failure at blogging.

Before that happens, chalk out a plan to avoid it.

Frequency Of Posts

In the beginning you’d be blogging every day- sometimes even more than that. Gradually, your enthusiasm will level out and you’ll find yourself unable to keep up with the frequency you started out with.

To avoid that, decide of the number of posts you’d do in a week.

Remember, infrequency is not an option.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

If you have employees or business partners, you can pitch the idea to them and co-blog so that the burden of blogging frequently is shared.

This way you will also be able to brainstorm ideas for posts. Decide on the number of posts per week for each and also the days.

If you’re blogging alone, you could either choose to blog every weekday, twice a week, every alternate day or even just once a week.

Decide what would be most convenient for you and then stick to it. If you feel that your head is drowning in ideas to blog, then write those posts up and schedule them.

Types of Posts

Sometimes, doing different types of blog posts can also help break the monotony. Here’s a list of types of posts you can publish on your blog.

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List posts

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Link posts

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Hot topic post

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Q&A post

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Solve a problem

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Debate an issue

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Interviews

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Reviews

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Advice

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Tips

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

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How-to posts etc

Blogging Yourself

The most common ways to write content for a blog is by writing it yourself. You use your own ideas, your own voice and people respond to that.

Your name is associated with the blog and you’re known as the sole authority of it.

Ongoing Contributors

Another way to produce content is to have regular contributors for your blog. They can be either paid or voluntary. With regular contributors, you don’t have to worry about your blog being published infrequently. Set up a schedule for each contributor to follow. This lessens the work and creative load of maintaining a blog.

PLR

PLR (private label rights) content is a great way to keep your blog from taking over your life. You can purchase PLR content to use as blog posts for a lot less than you could hire a ghostwriter and it saves you a ton of time.

The thing with PLR is that other people have the same content to use that you do. Therefore, it’s imperative that you edit the PLR so that it fits your needs, your perspectives, your reader, etc. You must make it your own. Do not, I repeat do NOT post PLR as is if you want to make the most of it.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

You can find PLR in the form of articles, reports, blog posts, and more on almost any topic you can think of. That being said, it’s not recommended that you use only PLR on your blog.

Guest Posts

Another popular way of having fresh content on your blog is by having guest posts. You invite other bloggers to write posts on your blog. This works two ways. Not only do you have fresh content for your blog, the guest blogger has the chance to showcase his knowledge and expertise on another blog, thereby increasing his credibility and increasing readers for his own blog.

Ghost Writers/Bloggers

Another option is to hire ghost bloggers who will write posts for you for a fee and you will publish them under your name.

Ghost blogging is the perfect solution to your content woes if you want to maintain the blog under your name and do not want to hire writers or regular contributors.

You can either leave the topic of the blog post on the ghost writer or ask them to submit their post ideas to you before writing them. You can also dictate the topics you want covered in your blog and can assign articles to them yourself.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

Marketing

Once your blog is set up and publishing, you’ll need to start establishing your blog’s presence on the web. Just because you have a blog doesn’t mean people will visit. How will they know?

This is where marketing your blog comes in. It doesn’t have to involve spending money – not if you don’t want to.

Commenting

The most common form of marketing your blog is through commenting on other blogs. Commenting lets other bloggers know about your presence. Leaving a comment on a blog is an invitation to come check out yours.

A few things to take note of when leaving comments:

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Always leave thoughtful and insightful comments that add to the discussion or post. Don’t ever leave a comment that just says

‘Great post!’ or a similar variation.

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Use the comment as a medium to pitch yourself by leaving a relevant. Convince people to click on your link by showing your understanding of the topic being discussed in the blog post.

Bloggers appreciate commenters - especially ones that leave good comments.

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Never promote yourself in your comments on other blogs.

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Never bad mouth anyone or anything and always mind your manners. If you’re disagreeing, do so respectfully and as non-confrontationally as possible.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

Social Media

Social media is another great way to promote your blog and let your presence known. Depending on whether you want to brand your name or your business, make social media profiles on various websites accordingly and use them extensively before promoting your blog on them.

A few social media services to sign up for are:

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Twitter (www.twitter.com)

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Facebook (www.facebook.com)

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Digg (www.digg.com)

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Delicious (www.delicious.com)

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Stumble Upon (www.stumbleupon.com)

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Linked In (www.linkedin.com)

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Technorati (www.technorati.com)

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FriendFeed (www.friendfeed.com)

These websites are a great way to network and spread the word about your business blog. The more you interact with people on these sites, the more beneficial it will be for your business.

Advertising

There are numerous ways to advertise your blog on the internet. From renting ad space on other blogs, to advertising through Google’s Adwords, advertising on the internet is a whole new avenue.

Ad Space On Other Blogs

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

Most blogs host a few sponsor ads on their blogs. They can be placed on the sidebars, header, blog post footer etc. The prices for these vary depending on the size of these ads. Typically, a 125 x 125 ad would cost around $20. It could cost more on a high traffic website or less on a relatively low traffic one.

Adwords

Google came out with its own advertising option. To advertise through Adwords, you have to buy an ad based on their rates which will then be shown on the Google search engine when people search for related things.

For e.g., if you have a skin care business and you place an ad through Adwords, every time (depending on how much you’ve paid for the ad) someone searches for ‘skin care’ or other related searches, your ad will be displayed.

Text Links

In some cases, text links have proven to be more effective than ads. A text link is exactly that. It is a word or phrase of text linking to your product, website or blog. In most cases, text links are also cheaper than ads.

Text link ads are usually placed in the side bar of a blog. It is important to note that text link ads were black listed by Google and blog running text link ads were penalized by being stripped of their Google page rank.

While most bloggers removed the ads in order to gain back their page rank, many decided to not do so as page rank to them was not as important.

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

If you’re thinking of using this option to earn money from your blog, research this option thoroughly before putting them up and decide what is more important to your blog in the long run.

Paid Reviews

Paying someone for reviewing your business, blog or product is also a marketing practice. If you’re paying someone to do a review of your blog, the reviewer will evaluate your content and all aspects of your blog’s web design.

If a business is being reviewed, it is important to make sure that those reviews cover the positive as well as the negative. No one trusts a glowing review. Many bloggers offer the services of doing paid reviews and pride themselves in being objective in their reviews.

By getting a review done by a respected blogger, you get a stamp of approval from the blogger’s readers as well as your own. Make sure you choose a blogger who is known for doing honest and unbiased reviews.

Give-Away(s)

Hosting give away on your blog is a great way to build interest in your blog and product. Giving away a product gives you a reason to list its benefits and how it will make your reader’s lives easy and solve their

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

problems. It is also great advertising. Word of a giveaway being hosted on a blog spreads fast and a people participate even if they’ve never read your blog before.

Giveaways are social media friendly and word of them spreads fast. As long as the giveaway is something that people want, it will be a success and your blog will see a spike in traffic and over all interest in your business will grow as well.

Competitions

Competitions are a great way to popularize your blog. They encourage interaction, help spread word and the promise of a prize entices people to come again and again. You can either keep a prize as one of your own products or service or give away gift vouchers or even books.

Increasing page views is also possible through competition. Simply ask questions about things on your blog that people have to search for to answer. This is a great way to encourage people to read through your blog and become aware of your business in the process.

Mailing list

A lot of blogs have mailing lists. These are different from email updates of your blog. The author/owner of the blog interacts directly with those readers that subscribe to the mailing list. You can use the

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Business Blogger’s Manual: How To Increase Your Business Income With A Blog

mailing list to tell your readers news or information about your product before you put it up on your blog.

A mailing list is like a marketing list. If you visit a lot of blogs, you’ll come across some who will have a window pop up asking you to sign up for the website’s newsletter. To entice people to sign up, most bloggers offer a few freebies that are available for free after signing up.

It is a good tactic to build up your mailing list and can be used to further publicize your business through the freebies offered.

Getting Traffic

Traffic only comes by marketing your blog. If you don’t market your blog, the only traffic you’ll get is through search engines. While search engine traffic is important, it isn’t solely responsible for a blog’s success. In addition to all the marketing tactics stated above, you can also do the f

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