Business Blogs Get More Traffic Than Regular Websites

You're probably already heard the message – multiple times, from many sources -  that your business needs a blog.  You may have even started one for your business.  If so, congrats!  You're taken a big step in marketing yourself BETTER and SMARTER online.  But if you haven't started a blog for your business, or you have any nagging doubts about whether your blog is doing your business any real, measurable good – then you'll need to read this recent survey by the folks at HubSpot

They looked at data from over 1,500 business websites – those that included blogs as part of their sites, and those that didn't – and the results of their inquiry clearly indicated that companies that blog get more traffic, have more indexed web pages, and have more inbound links than companies who don't blog.  

"The data was crystal clear: Companies that blog have far better marketing results. Specifically, the average company that blogs has:

  • 55% more visitors
  • 97% more inbound links
  • 434% more indexed pages"

Read the full text of the article, which includes graphs and more information on why you want more visitors, inbound links and indexed pages on your site, here

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Blog from Anywhere!

For those of you who may want to take your blogging adventures on the go, many of the big blogging tools have introduced snazzy applications for mobile devices. I've just published this post using Typepad's iPhone/iPod Touch application. Slick! And typing on a teeny keyboard certainly does discourage overly wordy posts.

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Why Writing Great Content is the Most Important Part of Blogging

I'm not just interested in blogging, but also the art of running a successful small business.  I've got a passion for learning about personal finance, specifically how our conversations about money affect how much we earn. 

I'm a big fan of both Barbara Stanny and Money magazine, and I can't remember which one of them led me to a great blog I've just started following:  Get Rich Slowly

The author, JD Roth, gives sensible, practical advice on personal finance, wealth-building and debt elimination.  He's a terrific example of how bloggers can build a big audience and a huge, loyal following by publishing great content. 

Today, for example, he published an interview with author Scott Burns, who wrote "Spend 'Til the End: A Revolutionary Guide to Raising Your Living Standard [Today and When Your Retire]".  Burns says:

The task of a personal finance writer is to write things in an
non-intimidating way so that you can reach the broadest number of
people without degrading your content. If you insist on dumbing down —
the usual route used to degrade the content — and, that doesn’t work.
What we need is to be as lucid as humanly possible, have some amount of
levity so that people won’t feel that they’re being punished, and get
people to say, “Oh, money! This is another tool for adaptation! This is
another way that I can improve my life. This is another way that I can
escape having a life that consists of a long series of unpleasant
surprises.”

Love that last line.  Roth publishes original, useful and timeless content, which is exactly what you should be striving for as a blogger.  He's also got a nice, clean, straightforward site design that's easy to navigate and isn't overwhelming.  Roth seems to know that publishing great content is the most important part of running a great blog.  Obviously he's doing a lot right here – he's recently  been named "Most Inspiring Money Blog" by Money magazine.  Congrats, JD – and please keep up the great work! 

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Finding Relevant Blogs

If you’re new to the blog world, you may be wondering how to find blogs in a particular niche.  You have the feeling, perhaps, that there are blogs written by "Return of the Jedi" fans, but you don’t know how to find them.  There’s a quick and easy answer – turns out, the web has plenty of maps of the blog world – they’re called “blog directories” or “blog indexes”, and they are great place to find relevant blogs in a particular niche or speciality.  Google Blog Search is one of my favorites (I do have a penchance for Google, like everyone else in the free world).  There are more blog indexes listed at the end of this article. 

One of my coaching clients, Lori Wostl, is part of an organization that hosts women’s-only art camps in Colorado.  Her target market is women in their 40’s and above who may (or may not) already be involved in creative endeavors. "How do I find the blogs these women are reading?"  she asked me.  This is the advice I gave her:

1.  Make a list of possible search terms (in quotes), making them as specific as possible.  If you want to find blogs on women’s art retreats, for instance, you might search for:

"women’s retreats"
"art retreats"
"women’s art retreats"
"art adventures"
"women’s art adventures"

2.  Take one of these search terms – "art retreats" – and put it into the search box of Google’s Blog Search service.  When I did that, here’s the list of results I got.  Usually the search results page is a mixed bag – some helpful links, some not helpful at all, but there’s usually something there worth a click or two.

3.  Pick a couple of these blogs (whatever looks interesting to you and doesn’t look like spam).  Investigate the blogs you find.  Do they look like they’re designed well?  Do you like what the writer has to say?  Are there indications that the author gets some traffic to the site?  If so, you may want to consider tracking this blog by adding them your feedreader or feed aggregator (click here for more information on feeds).   

4.  If you like the blog and find the content useful, check out what sites and blogs the author links to.  You may find useful leads there, as well.  Also, check out the people who are commenting on her site.  Are those blogs useful?

5.  Does this blogger have archives?  You may want to check out some past posts to see if there is relevant info in past writings.  Also, a rich archive directory may indicate that this blogger is well-established.  Also, does this person talk about topics or events you want to research further?  Keep some notes as you go along.

6.  Definitely consider commenting on the blogs you find, and start participating in the conversations within your niche.  It’s a great way to get involved in the blog world and make a connection with authors that you like and respect.  You’ll be amazed at the people with whom you can create online relationships!

In conducting this (very quick) search, I found three blogs that Lori and her partners could potentially track and participate in, including Quinn Creative, which is written by a woman who seems like a real "thinking artist".  She may have the type of readers with whom Lori will want to make connections, so this may blog may turn out to be a valuable find. 

Want to try your own search? Try these blog directories!

Google Blog Search
Technorati
IceRocket
Blogdigger

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What Do People Do with Blogs, Anyway?

The better question might be – what CAN’T people do with blogs? 

Anything you want to accomplish online can be achieved using a blog.  Want to share pictures of your kids with doting grandparents?  Want to market your business online – to millions of internet users? Want to go for a book deal?  You can do all of these things – with a blog.

Here are some great examples of the different ways people can use blogs to accomplish their dreams:

Steve Pavilina – This guy makes a living writing this enormously popular self-development blog.

Celebrant Kim Kirkley
– One of New York City’s most popular wedding officiants writes this
blog about creating beautiful, meaningful ceremonies. 

Dr. Jack Rogers – A minister and author writes frequent posts about upcoming events, book signings, and political news. 

Gastrokid – A "foodie" in the UK writes a fun blog about creating high-quality kid-friendly meals.

Writing Time
– Author and writing teacher Barbara Abercrombie uses this site to
teach, inform and entertain her students and community.  Also created
using Typepad.

New York Hack – Taxi driver Melissa Plaut started this blog in 2005 to write about her about her experiences as a NYC cabbie, and later snagged a book deal with Random House.

Get started today!  Take a look at my list of classes. 

 

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