Posted on November 26, 2006 by Roland
After weeks or months of preparation, you think you’re ready to launch your business blog. You’ve found the theme, you’ve assembled the blogging team, the software platform has been tested internally and everything looks good. But think twice before officially launching your blog. You might be surprised later. Before telling the world that there is a new blog in town, here are some essential rules to remember.
Aviva Directory is a paid general Web directory which has been launched in 2005 by Jeffrey Behrendt, in Ottawa, Canada — at least if I’ve found the correct information. It has recently published 21 Surefire Tips for a Successful Blog Launch. Some of the tips mentioned there are crucial while others can be forgotten, mainly because they’re not specifically intended for business blogs. Their first tip can be applied to all kinds of blogs, but it is particularly important for corporate blogs.
Connect with your readers through an about page and welcome message. One of the best ways to make a lasting impact is to connect on a personal level with your readers. That means letting them know who you are and what your background is.I totally agree with this one. And you should do it. It’s always frustrating to have to click on a dozen of links before finding who writes a blog — if you’re interested of course.
It’s interesting that Aviva Directory — which is not a blog — doesn’t show the same transparency that it claims is essential: try to find who’s behind the site and you’ll see what I mean. But let’s move to an even more important advice.
Don’t get seen naked: Never launch a blog with fewer than 5 posts. In the blogosphere you typically get just one shot at impressing a visitor or fellow blogger. Too many new bloggers throw up two posts and then start working on promotion. In the world of blogging, you are selling yourself and your writing. If you can’t give people a fully dressed picture of what your blog is all about and what type of writing will be on it, then why should they throw a link your way, or subscribe to your RSS feed?
In fact even large companies forget this. This is why I’m usually waiting more than a week before reviewing a corporate blog after its official birth. But many people are not as patient as I am, and will never return to your blog if there are no valid or interesting contents.
The next tips are related to your RSS feeds. But let’s look only at the first one.
Make sure a link to your RSS feed is available above the fold. Though they won’t help your AdSense revenues much, subscribers are the lifeblood of any successful blog. These devotees are often the ones providing you with regular comments, and are far more likely to be webmasters themselves (meaning more links). It should be obvious to anyone launching a blog, but it’s amazing how many new bloggers do not make a link to their RSS feed readily available.
I totally agree with the importance of showing to your readers how to subscribe to your RSS feed. However, these RSS feeds come in various flavors, and the blogging platforms are not all very friendly with you when you need to find a link to your RSS feed.
But I disagree with Aviva about AdSense: this might be somewhat important for a personal blog, but is irrelevant for a business blog. What is instead important is to subscribe to your RSS feed yourself to see how the outside world can see you your blog. Will you include your full posts on only some excerpts in your RSS feeds? I’ll revisit this subject in a full note one day.
Let’s skip the tips about “social bookmarking” or “getting networked” and move to the “link building” section. The article says you should “submit your blog to blog directories and to general web directories such as DMOZ and Aviva.” I don’t know about Aviva, but if it’s important to tell DMOZ or Yahoo! that you have a new blog, it’s like sending a message in a bottle: you’ll have to wait for months before these directories accept you. And if they don’t, they will not tell you.
There is one big tip missing from the Aviva list: be sure to ping all the major blogging directories — and the search engines — when you post a new note. This is usually easily done through options available in your blogging software.
These are some essential tips but you might have additional ones not mentioned here. Do you have some other tips for launching a blog? Please tell me about them.
Sources: Aviva Directory, Ottawa, October 23, 2006
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