How to Set Up a Successful Business Blog

Your online business may be the best thing you’ve ever conceived, but the hard truth is that you’re one of the thousands offering the same product or service.

How do you stand out? How do you get your voice across? What should you use to spread your brand’s message?

There are several known approaches to delivering great content with twice as many tools to help you achieve this. One of these is setting up and launching a successful business blog.

The Purpose of a Business Blog

A business blog differs from your typical personal weblog in that it serves as your brand’s marketing voice. It is the megaphone that delivers your message to thousands of people, all from public announcements to useful and insightful content.

Whether you sell shoes online or are a CEO of an industrial firm, a blog is a must-have if you want to set yourself apart. There is so much that you can do with a blog that, with the right content strategy, your business can convert interested readers into actual paying customers. And with plenty of tools at your disposal, setting up a successful business blog can be done.

5-Step Plan to Setting Up a Business Blog

Launching a business blog is a commitment to establishing and growing your business’s content marketing strategy. Here are 5 steps to setting up a successful business blog:

1. A content marketing plan – these are the blog’s goals, objectives, content coverage, and editorial guidelines and expectations. This plan defines the focus and niche of your business blog while enumerating the different types of content it can cover: long-form articles, short engagement posts, videos, infographics, etc.

writing on couch

Photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kharlamovaa/

2. An editorial team – who will take care of the creation, production, and distribution of content? Do you have a marketing team in place who knows the ins and outs of your business? If you plan on hiring other people to take care of your blog, make sure that these people know your business well enough to be able to talk about it with other people. Define their roles and the expectations of each.

3. Content management system – this is your blog’s platform wherein all the content to be published is located and managed. There are self-hosted and hosted options available to use, depending on your needs and requirements. For self-hosted, WordPress is an example of a flexible CMS that works with small, medium, and enterprise-level blogs and websites. If you prefer a hosted blog, there is Squarespace, Tumblr, and LightCMS, all with varying monthly to yearly costs.

4. Technical support and design – your blog should integrate flawlessly with your current business website. While there are free options on the web, you will rely on a technical and design team to take care of the kinks in case something odd or critical happens in the long run. In short, hire web design professionals who have the knowledge and skills to take care of your business blog.

5. Content sharing – there should be a content sharing system in place that will allow you to spread each and every one of your posts to your intended audience. Sharing buttons are the typical way, and it works for almost every blogger wanting to share their content online. For more advance users, platforms like BuddyPress allow you to connect and share with hundreds of people, building and leveraging the power of online communities.

Each of these steps aim to cover each important aspect of setting up a successful blog for your business. Keep in mind that at the core of the project is the marketing message and the reputation you want to establish, cultivate, and nurture through your blog.

Here are tips to ensure that your content is effective and worth sharing:

  • Write blog posts that are insightful, proofread, enticing, and most importantly useful to your audience.
  • Make sharing extremely easy to do.
  • A call to action should be in place, particularly at the end of each post.
  • Experiment with different types of content. Post a video, a poll, or an infographic to stir the reader’s attention.
  • Engage with your readers by reading and responding to authentic comments.

Bonus: WordPress Plug-ins for Businesses

Photo credits: wpmu.org

Photo credits: wpmu.org

As I mentioned earlier, WordPress is one of the most popular platforms for business blogs due to its flexibility and ease of use. Plug-ins are one of its best features as it extends WordPress to be able to accomplish certain tasks that an ordinary CMS couldn’t.

Here are plugins that work with business blogs:

  • Jetpack – a suite of tools and features that enhances WordPress, such as a ready-to-use contact form, site stats, Twitter widgets, and easy sharing buttons.
  • Akismet – spam comments suck. They’re everywhere and can interfere with your engagement activities. Akismet blocks out spam by separating the bogus comments from the authentic ones for each post.
  • Wptouch – with hundreds of readers consuming content via their mobile phones, it’s essential to make your blog mobile-friendly. Use this plugin to create a slick and readable mobile version of your website.
  • WP Super Cache – a plugin that cuts down page loading times and increases site performance, especially for image-heavy sites. It’s easy to set up and is ideal for sites on shared hosting.
  • DISQUS – a comment management system that is designed for optimum and positive social engagement while keeping the spammers at bay.

If you’re looking for more powerful plugins designed and coded for online business, I highly recommend WPMU DEV’s online business plugin gallery. It’s got everything you need to make your WordPress site even more powerful, with plugins made for different aspects of online business – affiliate management, social interaction, e-commerce, and even fundraising.

More than anything, your business blog is the voice that reflects your company’s ideals, opinions, and interests. It is the place where you and your audience can interact and share ideas, creating a strong community that believes in your brand and the value it stands for.