These days, it seems like you can find a blog about everything from basket weaving to beekeeping to bocce. If it exists, chances are there's a blog for it. But beyond sharing with the world about your favorite past-times or musing on last night's episode of "Revenge," blogging is an important tool small businesses can use to reach potential customers and keep them coming back, as well as generate a little income on the side.
As long as you do it right, of course.
We recently caught up with Gary Lawood founder of Lawmacs.com, a website and blog that offers advice to young and upcoming bloggers and website owners. Gary started his website in October 2003 as a young web designer and began blogging four years later as a hobby -- he enjoyed the voice his blog gave him and became even more excited about blogging when he realized he could make money from it.
How do you start a blog?
Starting a blog is simple, but maintaining it is where the struggle comes in. My advice on that is only start a blog if:
- You have an idea
- If you have a product or business
- You are an expert in an area and can offer advice or sell something
Selecting a blogging platform is a personal choice; the platform you choose should be able to do what you want it to do and you should feel comfortable using it. I chose Wordpress because I get what I want from it and it is very user-friendly and adaptable.
Choosing a domain name can be quite technical. It is advisable to choose one that is keyword rich. However, my opinion is to choose something catchy and simple that refers to your brand -- your name can even be your domain name.
How would you define a successful blog?
Many might disagree, but a successful blog has different criteria. Take, for example, if you start a blog and your aim is to get, say, 200 subscribers -- surely you would say that your blog is successful. However, I would believe that a successful blog is one that commands a lot of followers/subscribers and gives positive advice to many.
What are some best practices for designing a blog?
Keep it simple and very attractive. Design a good blogging platform that is easy to use and has a great navigational system.
What are your top design no-nos?
Too many images, overcrowded with ads, and too many scripts.
What are the best tools to use to create and promote a blog?
To me, the best tool to use to create a blog is Wordpress because of its popularity and the thousands of ads on it. Use social media as a medium for promotion
How can you drive traffic to your blog?
The best way to drive traffic to your blog is to write great content for your readers that is also search-engine friendly, build a network of supporters, and utilize the power of social media sites to promote your blog. And don't forget word of mouth.
How can you generate revenue from your blog?
There are many ways to generate revenue from your blog:
- Selling advertising space
- Building a list of subscribers
- Writing Reviews
- Selling in-post links
- Sponsored posts
- Developing your own product (most profitable of all)
When should start trying to generate revenue?
There is no set time to start generating revenue from your blog, but it is best to get your blog recognized first by building organic traffic and a list of followers before you start trying to make money.
What are some good habits of successful bloggers?
Good bloggers are dedicated, supportive, stay on the straight line and are very responsive to their readers.
What are some bad habits bloggers can get into?
Lying about earnings and selling products or services that they know has no value to potential customers
Any suggestions for great business blogs our readers can look at for inspiration?
Learn more from Gary on www.lawmacs.com and follow @lawmacs on Twitter.