How To: Start Your Company’s Blog

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Edward Andrews Homes BlogWe’re always talking about how blogging is a crucial part of any company’s social media marketing strategy, but we’ve never really explained how your company can actually launch a self-hosted WordPress blog  and measure its effectiveness. Here are 12 quick steps to get you started:

  1. Name your blog. http://www.NameofCompanyBlog.com is a popular choice. Another option many companies choose is http://www.NameofCompanyNews.com. You can purchase your domain name from a domain reseller like http://www.GoDaddy.com, http://www.Register.com, or http://www.Domain.com.
  2. Determine hosting for your blog. Your blog can be hosted on the same server as your main website, but often you will need to explore other options. Some low-cost options include http://www.BlueHost.com and http://www.HostGator.com, but consider instead hosting your site at a premium hosting location. This will provide you with more control so that no known spammers are hosted with you. You will also be able to get a unique ISP address for your site.
  3. Choose a theme and categories. Many free or inexpensive templates and themes are available for blogs, or a web developer can create a custom theme for you.  A number of free themes can be found at WordPress.org.
  4. Determine keywords. What words will customers use to find you? Make sure you have a plan for using them in your blog. For example if you build energy efficient homes, you will want to include energy efficient homes in your list of keywords along with name of city real estate, estate sized lots in name of city, etc.
  5. Go to http://www.wordpress.org to download blogging software to your URL. You will want to research available themes and plug-ins and download those as well. Most people will need to hire a web developer to complete this step.
  6. Create an editorial calendar. Set a schedule for posting on your blog. You should set a goal of at least eight posts per month. Vary the days you post to keep the search engines guessing when your next post will be. However, Internet traffic is highest during the week, so focus on posting Monday through Friday when possible.
  7. Create a blog policy. It should address how comments will be moderated.
  8. Assemble your blogging team. This is not necessarily your marketing team. Which staff members love to write or shoot video? Include them! We work with a number of blogging teams that include members of the sales team, design center representatives and the president or CEO of the home building company.
  9. Launch your site. Change the A record or name servers in your DNS (domain name server) account to point to the new blog and make it live. It can take up to 24 hours to propagate through the Internet.
  10. Install Google Analytics. You can find a step-by-step guide for adding this tracking software to your blog at Google http://www.google.com/support/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66983.
  11. Promote your blog. Burn the RSS feed, connect the blog to Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites. Register the blog on blog catalogs such as Technorati, Blog Catalog, and Best of the Web.
  12. Measure results. Use Google Analytics to track key performance indicators such as number of visitors, time on site and top read content.

Of course, setting up a blog effectively can be hard work. If you’re company is looking to increase your social media presence and search engine optimization through a company blog, be sure to contact the Marketing RELEVANCE team.