How to… blog (properly)

60% of global companies know they need one, but very few understand why. Read our basic guide to making weblogs work for you and get the upper hand.
With a good quality blog three things should happen. Readers return to your webspace because they can trust and rely on the information it provides, Google has to constantly revisit the site to categorise new content, and other sites start linking in, referring their audience to your writing.
In each instance your company’s position in the search engine results pages will increase, making sure more potential clients and customers can find your business online than ever before. On top of this ever increasing numbers of journalists are sourcing stories, quotes and statistics from reputable industry blogs, so the benefits should now be perfectly clear.
But maintaining a successful blog requires a lot of effort, and there are no easy options or quick fix solutions. That’s why the best advice we can offer is to employ seasoned experts. If you’re not quite ready to take the full plunge yet though here are some key pointers to ensure the time you initially commit is not for nought.
Choose your weapon wisely
The three most popular blog platforms are Blogger, Tumblr and WordPress. None are perfect. Blogger restricts individuality with its own branding, meanwhile Tumblr only offers very basic editing options. In contrast WordPress gets our vote, because while suffering from some bugs it has more bespoke and in depth features, which is why millions of professional websites are built based on the open source code.  On top of this always make sure you set up Google analytics to track your successes and failures on the blog site, and throughout the various social networks you use.

Preparation, preparation, preparation
Starting with the basics first realise content needs to go beyond your brand’s achievements. Next organise an editorial calendar so you can structure regular posts to develop a following. News, by nature, cannot be predicted so allow additional time to post ad hoc stories about current events too, but by signing up for relevant RSS feeds, newsletters, and forums keeping up to date is far easier.
Comment is free, and valuable
The Huffington Post didn’t become one of the most popular English-speaking news sites in the world because the writers were shy. A good blog should get people commenting, linking in, and reposting on social media. The best way to make this happen is to become a source of trusted information through factual news, but also include well-researched opinion pieces to make people sit up, and share.
Enrich your content
It seems like the most basic of points to make, but we’re still amazed by how many companies don’t harness all the functionality these modern times offer. Embed videos and stunning images, source audio streams, and network to open doors for notable guests from external brands to blog, securing priceless linking relationships. On top of this think engagement, so if someone comments respond accordingly.
All roads lead to your blog
Blogs showcase whole of market knowledge. They also create constantly updated webpages to improve search rankings. After getting up and running in an attempt to climb the results pages it goes without saying all this content needs to be integrated with your newsletter, embedded within your LinkedIn profile and email signature, and shared across all your social media profiles. Likewise the blog needs to let your readers do the same via subscriptions, RSS feeds, and sharing buttons.
If at first you don’t succeed…
…try and try again. Analyse click throughs from social media, and the visibility of your keywords in search results. Take this raw data and apply it within your blog. Everything from when you make regular, column style posts to your SEO tactics should be open for discussion. Furthermore experiment with image sizes, position on the page, fonts and layouts to create the most effective blog for your target readership, remembering never to get stuck in your old ways.