10 tips for creating a successful business blog

10 tips for creating a successful business blog
Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation

Posted: Tue 24th Jul 2012

Blogging tips: William Frith Powell painting of Juliet with laptop

What's the key to a successful business blog? James Cole, founder of The Big Property List, has been blogging for three years and has been a large and loyal following. Here's how he started blogging and his ten tips for creating an engaging business blog that gets readers and attention.

A recent post on the Enterprise Nation forum asked for advice on which blogging platform to use and really sparked a bout of nostalgia for me this morning. Nearly three years ago I set up my online property business on a boot-strap budget, and looking back, the blog has been the core of the entire marketing strategy. Writing the business plan on a kitchen table in Brisbane, Australia, while travelling, how could I have known which marketing channel would really prove effective? I couldn't, so I made assumptions and forecasted growing sales - if only it was so easy in practice!  But once I started the business, I tried everything. And I measured it. From the start I wanted the business model to prove itself before I started pouring money into marketing, so I was keen to use ultra-low cost or free marketing strategies - which abound online - if you know where to go and what to do. Everyone assumes that online business is some kind of shortcut to business success, and while it does widen access to starting a business and can scale quicker, it still requires the same investment of time and expertise and experience as a bricks and mortar business. And it can still take a couple of years of small failures, frustration and determination as any other enterprise. I started blogging on the Blogger platform as it was free and easy to use. My first posts appealed directly to my (non-existent) audience with blogs like 'my new business coming soon!' - as if people had been waiting all their lives for this news. I logged in daily to view my stats and got excited when three or four people read my blog in a week. Nearly three years on and over 20,000 a month read our UK property blog. It's not Huffington post territory, but the statistics I swoon over now are the engagement indicators - four pages per visit, 90 per cent UK visitors, four minutes per visit, numerous tweets and comments.

10 tips for a successful blog

So what are my top tips to speed your own curve? 1. Start out with a WordPress blog - free and easy to set up, and progress as quickly as you can to a self-hosted blog. The former will help you get to grips with using this world class blogging and content management system (CMS) which can power your whole website. 2. Join the debate. Read more than you write - work out and map who the other bloggers/ influencers are in your market and what interests them and how they get traction with their readers. When you have something to add - write to them personally and give them something of value - an insight or information maybe. Build relationships. Comment constructively to other people's blogs, do not spam. 3. Be disciplined, create a publishing schedule commit time and do it regularly, and keep doing it. It takes time to get traction and momentum. 4. Make sure your blog looks good. This doesn't mean you have to pay for web design initially, but choose a suitable WordPress theme template that makes your writing look good. 5. Submit your blog's RSS feed to as many directories as you can - set aside a morning/evening for this. 6. Once you get some traction, trade on it. If you have some readers, offer other bloggers guest post opportunities and once you have something to say, look for guest posting opportunities on others' blogs. 7. Be topical. If you haven't got any primary research or insight, comment on what people are talking about today. What's going on in your market? How do other events effect your market - ie, the Olympics, or other events. 8. Use social media. Use Twitter and other social media platforms like Linkedin to build your own social profile, to find and interact with other people in your market, but decide on your main asset (ie, your blog) and use the other platforms to point to it.  Otherwise you may find yourself juggling too many balls and none will get the traction you need. 9. Join some forums and read what others are saying about blogging. But don't spend too much time on this and take what you read with a pinch of salt until you've tried it - the official support forums are a good place for technical advice. 10. Don't give up.

About the contributor

James Cole is an entrepreneur and a founding director of The Big Property List, an independent property portal and property advice website founded in 2009. The Big Property List Blog was named one of the UK's top influencers in UK property on Twitter by Property Week and the blog has been shortlisted in the Primelocation property blog awards and named a favourite property blog by Channel Four.

Need tech tips? Join in with #TechTuesday, sponsored by HP

HP logo

Every Tuesday on Twitter from 11am BST, we host a live tech support and discussion hour, using the hashtag #TechTuesday. Find out more about #TechTuesday and its sponsor HP.

Read more #TechTuesday posts on Enterprise Nation

Photo credit: Mike Licht

Enterprise Nation
Enterprise NationEnterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.