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Business Blogging: Important First Steps to Consider

Category : blogging


thinkingface.jpgI’m knee deep in planning, brainstorming and implementing a company blog. To be honest, there is so much more to consider when launching a business blog compared to a personal blog. The Lonely Marketer is me – my thoughts and personality can come out any way I choose. With your company, you have a corporate reputation to uphold and you need to develop a personality that might not be your own.

Throughout the process, I’ll periodically update this blog with my experience building the company blog. Here are just a few aspects I found that need to be addressed right off the bat:

  • The Name: When you really get down to it, this is not such an easy task. You don’t want to back yourself into a corner by being too specific, but you certainly want the name to somehow indicate the site’s purpose. Do you want the site to be referred to as a blog? How about a social media room? The name really kicks off how the site will be branded. Choose wisely. (We’re still undecided)
  • The Purpose: What information will you be providing? How will it be presented? What resources will you need to present what you need to present?
  • The Personality: Will you have one moderator and multiple authors? Will all material come from one voice? Will you share opinions or just hand out facts? We’ve settled on one or two moderators and multiple authors from sales, engineering, marketing, and upper management.
  • Site Location: This is a touchy point for me these days. We had decided on www.oursite.com/blog because of all the additional benefits that come along with the incoming links helping our organic search rankings. That plan fell apart when we found our dedicated server, which is a Windows server, was not currently supporting mySQL and PHP. That really hurts our chances of using WordPress as our blogging platform. WordPress is also better suited for a Linux server. I looked into TypePad and MovableType, but wasn’t thrilled to have to settle with paying for a blogging platform with less features than the FREE WordPress. (problogger has a very in-depth post on choosing blogging platforms) So, we’re leaning towards a subdomain – www.blog.oursite.com – which will reside on a different server where installation and usability of WordPress will be a breeze. Yes, we lose the benefits the blog may have on organic search, but we decided we couldn’t lose focus on our main goals which are to connect, share valuable resources, and start community discussions with our target market. That can be done with a subdomain.

I’d like to get your thoughts on placing the blog in a subdomain. Am I shooting myself in the foot or is there a case to be made for sticking with WordPress and focusing on why we’re producing this blog?

Here are some additional resources I found that might help with this stage of building your business blog:

Updated Links:

I’d like to expand this list of blogs and posts that focus on the initial stages of building a business blog. If you have a good post or know of one, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list. I’m sure there are tons I’ve not seen yet!

Comments (15)

Oddly enough, we were having this very discussion here at my work. We’re probably going to end up with a subdomain, also. We looked into Community Server, but I just couldn’t stomach paying for blogging software when WordPress is free and does everything you need. For free.

Patrick- For your fist, non technical items, I worked backwards on these much like a business plan and writing the Exec Summary last. I put together a “Prime Blog Handbook” that outlined our blog mission statement, desired content, target audience, do’s and dont’s and so forth. We went away from the catchy or fun name and just went with Prime Blog to further brand. I’ve also used the handbook created to present blogging positives and differences to our staff (hopefully some of them are close to participating).

On the domain, I see it this way. If /blog is a no go then just consider what your top goals are. If it is to communicate and involve your client base then your subdomain option is fine.

Maybe someday you’ll explore a great CMS on a linux server like we offer and you won’t have that issue. ;)

BEST of luck!

[...] Several articles dealing with corporate blogging caught my eye today.  First of all, Patrick Schaber [The Lonely Marketer] talks about several things to consider when launching a corporate blog.  A lot of companies jump into blogging without enough planning in the initial stages.  By thinking about, and planning for, these aspects of your company's blog, you can avoid some of the issues other companies have run into.  Next, Lee Odden [Online Marketing Blog] talks about some of the issues his company ran into during the launch, progression, and maturation of their blog.  These two posts go hand-in-hand because they both bring up a lot of important, albeit often-forgotten, aspects of blogging.  And finally, Mark Collier [Marketing Profs] looks at what you can do if you've already launched a corporate blog… and it's not working out the way you'd have hoped it would.  So there you have it… planning, avoiding, and fixing… all in one. [...]

I’m becoming much more comfortable with the subdomain. We’re losing the SEO benefits, but everything else seems to be okay.

Great points! Thanks for stopping by and contributing. I like your idea about working backwards and putting together a handbook.

…hmmm….a handbook…I bet that would make for a popular download. Have you considered that?

shhhhhhhh ….. I have. I’m adding some pieces to it as I continue to acquire more knowledge from my experiences blogging (on a few blogs) and lately in launching a clients blog. I’ll keep you posted … and maybe tap you for contribution and feedback. One person does not have all the answers, especially me! But I better get crackin’ before someone beats me to it right?

Aaron – it would be a great idea and I think it would be very popular. It sounds like you have a great start with your experience. I’d be happy to contribute if you need any contributors. Otherwise, I’ll for sure add your work to my resource center when you have it done. Keep me posted!

This is a good article I understand the business people get lot of chance through the business brainstorming. To be honest, there is so much more to consider when launching a business blog compared to a personal blog.business brainstorming

[...] In the real estate industry, this is what passes for SEO. It’s a disaster. But it’s also an opportunity for someone to come along and raise the level of SEO and search marketing in this industry — with solid advice/consulting using best practices, an understanding of the value of trust, great content generation, quality link building, appropriate use of social media (such as blogs, video optimization, Flickr, etc.), local search … you know, all the stuff great search marketing is made of. [...]

Business Blogging: 5 Lessons Learned and Strategies Discovered…

In celebration of my 100th post on the Junta42, Content Marketing Revolution blog, I thought I’d review a few observations and strategies I’ve discovered relevant to blogging, and to delivering ongoing valuable business content to customers and prosp…

Thank you for this article. It outlines the main questions one should think of before starting a company’s blog.

Interesting article. We’re losing the SEO benefits, but everything else seems to be okay.

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Hi guys. Nice to see this conversation and hope you don’t mind if i butt in with my 3 cents worth.

I buy PPC ( Pay Per Click ) from Google for many clients, sometimes averaging up to 30,000 dollars per month.

I also contribute heavily to the natural search engine analysis for these same clients, because after all, who wants to continue to pay these outrageous amounts to Google/Yahoo/Msn, when in truth you should be as quickly as possible organizing an effective organic listing campaign.

So, with that background, do you know how many times the IT department has told me, sorry we can’t put wordpress on IIS because we :

Pick your excuse
1) don’t support php
2) don’t support mysql
3) don’t support external applications
4) have not yet vetted wordpress for bugs
5) have not yet done our analysis of wordpress
6) ( Add any excuse for inept IT that you want )

One can’t argue with IT, right? Wrong, go to your marketing department. You know, the one that is suppose to be instrumental in making sure that we all get paid.

Ask them if its worth losing pick your number ( 10,000 or 50,000 or 3 million ) in potential sales because IT won’t implement wordpress without putting it on a separate domain.

A sub-domain is a separate domain so far as Google and others are concerned. As has been generally accepted above, a subdomain does not directly pass on its ranking/credibility to the main domain.

Are those numbers mentioned above pie in the sky numbers?

For small retailers with 50-100 employees, the difference between a solid 2nd or 4th place listing with Google and a position 68 listing can be as much as 2 million a year depending on the widgets being sold.

Find that hard to believe? Look at this example, in 2005 BlueNile, who sells jewellery online exclusively, was shooting for 300Million in gross sales. That number is public.

So how important is the blog on the primary domain? Check with your high end commercial SEO people, they will tell u that if a client has made a mistake in the past and has been sandboxed by Google, implementing an active blog on the primary domain is one of the few ways of getting the client back into Google’s good graces.

When it comes to long term viability of a company, it is important NOT to let the tail wag the dog.

The tail is the “IT” or the wonderful guys in the “Information Technology Group”.

The operational head is in theory those that steer the marketing direction of the entire company. Perhaps this is the marketing head, CEO or COO or Managing Director.

Having trouble convincing IT that the blog belongs on the primary domain?

Try convincing Marketing first, let them simply tell IT what needs to be done.

Then expect it to be done.

Btw, there are so many plugins for wordpress, including specific seo plugins to ensure that keywords are closer to the top of the page that not – that there aren’t many strong reasons to use the other blogging systems particularly those that are closed systems that very few marketing programmers write addons or plugins for.

And the default wordpress installation is not heavily optimized for “seo” btw, so talk to someone who understands these things well.

Just my 3 cents worth.

[...] talk about writing/blogging a bit, shall we? Here are two good ones worth your reading time: Business Blogging: Important First Steps to Consider from Patrick Schaber, and Brian Clark’s Five Common Headline Mistakes and How to Avoid [...]