You launch a new small business blog, and then writer’s block kicks in. What to do? Here are some tips to help you with ideas for new posts to your blog. Your blog writing style does not have to be textbook perfect, so informal writing is suitable as long as you check grammar and spelling. It’s okay to entertain as you provide information, too. Visitors will not expect literary works suitable for a Nobel prize when you create blog posts, so relax.
Write short paragraphs and cover one aspect of what you present in each. Visitors want information quickly; so long paragraphs should be avoided. Short posts of 1-2 paragraphs are fine, too. Most website content is quickly scanned, so headlines and the first few words of each paragraph may be all that most visitors view before deciding to read details, or exit.
Include key words relative to your subject, and place some near the beginning of sentences for each paragraph, so your visitors get the general feel as they scan your post. Search engines will visit and index your blog content, too, so key words are important for attracting the search engine crawlers.
Google Alerts and blog labels are two techniques to help you generate new blog post ideas. Each will be presented in the report Blog Your Way to Fresh Content from my series of free PDF SEO Reports about do-it-yourself small business website promotion that I began to release during 2007. Some of my clients could not wait, so this article is a preview of how to use these two techniques to come up with post ideas for your blog:
1. Google Alerts is a free service that delivers links to content by email. Once set up, you automatically receive a collection of current news stories or related content by email with summaries and links to the information.
2. Your blog labels are the filing system for your blog that cross references your posts by subject category, so visitors may click a label and view all posts about that subject on one page. Use them to brainstorm ideas for posts.
Search for Google Alerts to find the main page, and then sign up for a Google account if you don’t have one. You don’t need an account to use alerts, but managing your choices is more convenient from one page, and creating, editing, or deleting alerts will be easier.
To begin you create individual alerts for search words or phrases relative to your business, and then your options are type and how often. Type means the source, and the selections are from news, the web, blogs, groups, and comprehensive (all). The how often is the frequency of emails you receive from Google and include once a day, as it happens, and once a week.
Once you create the alert, emails arrive automatically with lists of sources for content related to your selected subject, and a summary of each. Follow the links of interest, and perhaps you will decide to write about the same subject with a different slant. Never copy another author’s content verbatim or claim it as your original writing. That would be plagiarism. However, quoting other sources is acceptable, and snippets or excerpts are often all you need.
Write an introduction about the piece you will quote, and then give credit to the author including a hyperlink to the source. Next, make sure you are in HTML mode and begin the excerpt with blockquote and italics tags, insert their content using copy and paste, and finally add the closing blockquote and italics tags. View your help files if the [blockquote] or [i] and then [/blockquote] and [/i] are unfamiliar (Note: The [ and ] square brackets must be replaced with < and >, so don’t take my example literally). This formatting will indent their snippet in your post and display the text in italics to make everything stand out as content quoted from another source.
Finally, write a closing paragraph with your take or opinion on the subject matter, and you’re done. Again, your posts do not have to be lengthy, so the opening introduction and closing comments or opinion can each be one paragraph. Busy visitors are more likely to read your content and bookmark your site for return visits if your style is interesting and brief.
The labels you assign to your posts allow cross referencing of information, and they are another source for brainstorming new post ideas. After all, your labels provide a snapshot of the overall theme of your blog. A review of your list of labels may uncover subjects that are overdue for a new post while alerts make you aware of topical subjects. Reviewing the labels that define your blog allows you to enhance emphasis by writing about what your small business is really all about.
Bonus Tip: Visit technorati.com and near the upper right is a “tag cloud” which displays key words and phrases that represent what the majority of people worldwide have written recently. The most popular tags are displayed in very large text, with others decreasing in size based on total posts tagged with that word or phrase. If you find words that relate to your business, click the tag to see what others are writing, or just start your post and run with it.
Compare physical exercise to writing posts for your small business blog, and each requires discipline. Both are easy to avoid without feeling guilty, yet the benefits are certainly important to your health, personal and business. A large percentage near 25% of all new blogs go offline in less than 90 days. One reason is the lack of fresh content. Use these tips for keeping your posts short and to the point, utilize Google Alerts, and do a review of your blog labels to easily come up with new ideas for posting to your blog.