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September 27, 2007

Blogging 101: The Care and Keeping of Your Business Blog

So you’ve got your business blog up and running. Congratulations! But don’t think that your job is done yet. Starting a blog is kind of like keeping a pet. It’s fun and exciting and new at first, but there’s a lot of maintenance that goes into it, and if you don’t take care of it, you’re going to have one heck of a mess on your hands.

Blogs are a major benefit to your business, there’s not doubt about it. But you’ve got to put quite a bit into it in order to really reap the rewards.

Protect your Blog from spam

Many people aware of the power behind blogs will attempt to find programs that allow them to auto post spam to your blog in the form of comments and unless you take the necessary steps may end up with the wrong kind of audience. Most blogs will allow you to require that people create an account on your blog first, which we strongly recommend.

Update frequently

You don’t have to update every day (though it would be nice if you could), but once a month, or even once every two weeks, is not going to cut it. If you let your blog go too long without a post, people will quit reading it. Not only will that hurt your blog, but it will also reflect negatively on your business. People may think that your company is going out of business, or simply old and tired because you don’t put the effort to continue something you started. Pick a schedule, be it daily or twice a week or whatever, and do your best to stick to it.

Don’t talk if there’s not something useful to say

The only thing worse than a blog that never updates, is a blog that updates with posts about nothing. The concept may have worked for “Seinfeld,” but it’s not a good philosophy for your business blog. Posts that don’t say anything are boring, and people aren’t going to read boring posts. Remember your target audience here. Keep a log of topics to write about that they would find interesting, and stay abreast of industry news.

Length isn’t important

No, a post that’s two sentences long is not the way to go, but neither do you have to write a novel of “War and Peace” proportions for every blog post. If you’ve just got a little company blurb that’s 150 words long, don’t worry about stretching it out. What you’re saying is far more important than how many words you use to say it. Interact!

If you’re lucky enough to have people actually responding to your blog posts, rejoice. Now you’ve got to talk back to them. If they ask a question, answer it. If they bring up a good point, mention it and give them your own feedback. If they have something negative to say, give them a polite, professional counterargument. It’s called “social media” for a reason. If you want to take it one step further (and you should), read some of your posters’ blogs and comment on those. You could end up making priceless business relationships.

Track the things that matter

So Google Analytics regularly tells you how many people are looking at your blog. Those metrics are easy to check, but are they really what you want to know? You may assume that the more readers you have, the more customers you’ll get, but that’s not necessarily the case. Don’t focus so much on the analytics numbers. Find out from your readers what works and what doesn’t, and fix your blog accordingly.

Don’t let your blog founder because you weren’t sure how to maintain it. Take care of your blog, and you’ll find that it will benefit your business for a long time to come.

Author:  President and founder of Xeal Inc., Tony D. Baker is Oklahoma’s leading Internet marketing expert with more than 10 years of Internet marketing experience. You can catch Tony on the Xeal Radio Show on Sunday nights on 1170 KFAQ Tulsa. Sign up for a free 25-point website evaluation and pick up crucial tips at Xeal’s free Thursday webinar at