Wow! It’s been more than two years since the SocialNicole blog was launched. It’s been an interesting couple of years as I have gotten my blogging feet wet. I am amazed and excited at how the blog has grown. Even more so, I have been fortunate to have some of the best people in the industry helping me along the way. So what are some tips and tricks I have learned on the bumpy road of starting a blog? 1. Select a blog platform that can grow with you. There are many free blog platforms out there. But not all blog platforms are created equally. Going for a free blog platform such as Blogger, WordPress.com or Tumblr comes with risks. On these platforms you are “stuck” with their templates with limited ability to edit. You are tied into their SEO specifications and your content and blog are not in your control. If the platform website goes down (CLICK HERE FOR AN EYE-OPENING ACCOUNT OF SUCH AN ORDEAL I WENT THROUGH) you are out of luck until they get it going again. And if the service goes away or a mistake is made and your content lost? Well, they pretty much “own” your content, so you’re up a creek without a paddle. My advice: Setup a WordPress.org blog on a private server. There are many options, and though you’ll have to pay for this, it will be worth it. At SocialNicole we run basic WordPress blogs for $200 per year. This means your blog sits on a dedicated server, our tech team is available to solve problems ASAP without waiting on the phone for hours, we have secure backups offsite that ensure your content is safe and we have installed top level safety and privacy measures to help protect your blog from being hacked. You can also move the WordPress blog as you own it. There are many options out there for setting up WordPress blogs on private servers. Check it out and please feel free to ask us questions. 2. Create an editorial calendar for your blog. Determining how large or small your efforts will be depends on what type of editorial calendar you will create. There is no one size fits all. At SocialNicole we customize editorial calendars to fit our clients’ needs. This calendar will be what keeps you on target and on track – so don’t delay. Check back later this month for a more in-depth blog on creating this type of calendar. 3. Create a social marketing plan to help get the word out about your blog. What does this mean? It means you consider what social channels you are actively using (including email) and assure that you’re providing quality interaction, building ongoing relationships and not just pushing your blog content. You want your networks to be receptive to your blog posts – so you have to spend time building them so when you share your blog post your audience is receptive to the posts and willing to share them. Some things to consider when creating this plan:
- Who is your audience (be specific here)
- Who are your “competitors” friendly or not so friendly. This includes others doing what you are doing, writing what you are writing about etc. Determine what they are doing and how are they doing it (what works, what doesn’t) and test different approaches with your own audience.
- What networks does your audience hang out in? Where do you want to hang out to meet them?
- Is your blog set up to be social? Do you have email list opt-in’s, social connect buttons, commenting forms, etc?
- How many times a day/week/month will you post on different networks, what will your content be?
- How will you measure your efforts?
4. Start considering SEO now. It’s better to do this earlier, rather than later. Use an SEO plug-in in such as Yoast SEO or Platinum SEO for your blog. Learn how to search for Keyword Phrases on Google Keyword Tool, and then learn how to incorporate these keywords into your website. 5. Consider hiring an editor. Seriously this is one tip that will make all the difference. Blogging is difficult. Writing, editing and posting can be daunting – let alone sharing and interacting with your followers. At SocialNicole we offer all the blog management you’d need. We can edit, publish, optimize and help share your blogs. The most successful clients have us doing most of the heavy lifting. They simply write their posts and allow us to work the magic. It really makes a difference. This is what helped SocialNicole evolve from a random post, when I can blog, to a regular blog with 3-5 updates per week. The editors on my team and blog managers are my saviors- and they can be yours too! 6. Consider building a community blog or pulling in guest posts. SocialNicole now has a team of bloggers. We occasionally have a guest post, but our main team consists of our social media mangers, editors and experts. We have also turned our NPtalk Twitter Chat website into a community blog. This blog features weekly posts from a variety of nonprofit professionals. All content is community-generated, well-read and supported. This type of effort requires you to be proactive. Hopefully these were some helpful tips to assist you in beginning your very own blogging journey! Take caution, though. This guide was not for the timid or those sitting on the sidelines debating whether or not they can commit. These are tips for people who want to blog serious and blog for business for other outcomes with faster results. SocialNicole has become a premier social media company with expert blog strategists, writers, editors and publishers. Our success has been in doing things right from start to finish. These are the things we do to be successful. Photo Credit