May 14, 2009

Ten Keys to Building a Regular Blog Readership


Hostway Team

If done right, a blog is the perfect place to learn interesting things in an entertaining way. Read on for 10 tips on writing a blog that people will want to read regularly.

1. Provide interesting content.

If you're writing a blog for customers, you're likely to share some of the same interests they have. Plan your blog around a topic that you know a lot about and that your customers would like to read about — ideally one that relates to your business.

2. Develop a voice.

The death knell of any blog is a sanitized, corporate tone. Write in your own voice, as if you're speaking directly to your readers. If you write as if you're having a conversation with them, they're likely to respond to you as a person and post comments.

3. Post regularly.

The best way to keep people coming back to your Web site is to offer them new content every time they return. Add a new post one to three times a week, and you'll develop a steady stream of traffic.

4. Interact with customers and respond to their questions and posts.

Remember that a blog is designed for your readers. They're visiting to read your thoughts and post theirs. This is your chance to directly interact with customers and find out what they think.

5. Don't censor your content.

Readers can tell if you're posting content that has gone through an approval process. It will come across as stripped down and insincere. Do not censor blog posts written by employees or yourself. Tell your stories in an honest way.

6. Mind your manners.

Although censorship can kill a blog, remember that other people can be affected by what you say. Write your blog as if you were having a face to face conversation with your readers. Remember to be fair in your criticisms and back up your opinion with facts. Also remember that not only your customers, but your suppliers and other business partners may be reading your blog as well.

7. Create a comment policy.

Consider how you will monitor comments from readers. Spam and obscene or mean-spirited comments can make their way onto your Web site if you decide not to implement a review process before allowing readers to post comments.

But don't delete a comment just because the reader disagrees with you. This could give your audience the impression that you're not genuine in your efforts to have a conversation with them. Use negative comments as a chance to clear up misconceptions and address concerns your customers may have in a positive way.

8. Recognize your top visitors.

Not everyone who visits your blog (even the regular visitors) will post a comment, but those who do so regularly make the experience more interesting for everyone. You can return the favor by promoting their sites and recommendations in your blog.

9. Offer RSS feeds.

With RSS feeds, you can send your content directly to readers as soon as it's posted. Your readers won't have to remember to check your Web site, and that could increase your readership.

10. Provide interesting links.

Finally, you can attract readers by offering them links to other Web sites they are likely to find interesting.

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