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December 10, 2010

10 Common Business Blogging Questions Answered

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Yesterday Dan Zarrella expanded his scientific webinar series with a presentation analyzing the science behind blogging for business . More than 3,000 people from all around the world attended the webinar, posting over 1,000 questions during the webinar.

 

The Science of Blogging ( #BlogSci ) quickly became a trending topic on Twitter, highlighting people’s strong interest in business blogging . That is why we wanted to tackle some of the most frequently asked questions during the webinar and continue the discussion here!

1. How do you drive traffic to your blog?

In order to start driving traffic to your blog, you will need to carve out a niche—focus on your industry and optimize your blog posts around specific industry key phrases. Figure out which keywords you would like to rank high for and concentrate on creating content around them. Use your blog to demonstrate your thought leadership in that subject and reach out to fellow experts. Another effective way to attract traffic is by answering questions that your customers are frequently asking (e.g. in the way we are doing with this post!).

2. What has a greater effect on SEO: blog links or link building strategies?

Don’t divorce blogging from link-building strategies. Your blog provides the perfect opportunity for building inbound links—sharing insights about your industry prompts people to refer to your expertise from their sites and social media profiles. Also, covering certain people and organizations in your posts will help you develop relationships with them.

3. Are there trigger words that make your calls-to-action more effective?

When creating calls-to-action, use active voice and verbs that convey educational offers. For instance, strong calls-to-action often begin with words like “find out,” “learn” and “try out.” Also, as Dan mentioned in his research, the most linked-to words in blogs include “recent,” “insights” and “answers.” These phrases also emphasize the marketing power of learning opportunities.

4. Where can we learn how to add the Like and the ReTweet buttons?

You can implement the social media sharing buttons directly from Facebook and Twitter. You can customize your Facebook “Like” button and get the code here . Twitter also allows you to pick from three different Twitter sharing buttons that count your ReTweets straight from each blog post, thus encouraging people to keep sharing.

5. What are your thoughts about moderating comments?

Our policy at HubSpot is to let everyone comment on our blog articles and create an open space for authentic conversations. Even negative comments provide great opportunities for businesses to share something of value in the public domain and show personality and humanness. By allowing unfiltered comments in blog posts, your company will convey that it welcomes different opinions and embraces transparency.

6. Is it good to have a Contact Form page on my blog?

Contact forms are not the best performing elements you can add to your blog (or, for that matter, to any other web page). Today your community can reach you instantly using social media, a practice that made contact forms even clumsier and more obsolete. So make sure you add social media sharing buttons to your blog.

But if you want your blog readers to take a specific type of action, then make that clear with a targeted form (not a generic “Contact Us” button). For instance, at the end of each of our blog articles, we include a call-to-action that is specific to the content of the post.

7. How much time per week should we allocate to maintaining the blog?

Allocating time to blogging depends entirely on your previous activities and existing resources. If you already have writers or if you have content that you can develop into blog posts, then it shouldn’t take you long. If, however, you are starting from scratch, allocate at least 2-3 hours per week for blogging. Consider accumulating blog posts and use Dan’s research to publish them on best days .

8. Is it better to include personal bylines for company bloggers?

Including writer bylines in your company blog posts is definitely a good idea because it highlights the unique personalities of your writers and allows your readership to create comfortable habits. For instance, if the same blogger is posting an article every Monday morning, then your audience will start expecting to see her name and contribution at that specific day and time. This is a great way to build following and also motivate employees to contribute blog posts on a regular basis.

9. What do you consider the best blog platform to use?

Some of the most recognized (and free) blogging platforms you can use include Wordpress, Blogger and Tumblr. The dominant one among these remains Wordpress, with its various plug-ins and options for customization. HubSpot also offers a blogging platform as part of our software package, guaranteeing that your posts are well-optimized and social media-friendly.

10. What are some blogs that do it right?

Some terrific blogs to examine for best practices include Duct Tape in the sphere of marketing, River Pools and Spas in the construction industry and Lauren’s Hope in the eCommerce industry. All three share similar characteristics--frequency of publishing blog posts and inclusion of social media sharing and RSS feeds. Most importantly, they feature valuable content, varying from interviews with industry experts and actionable tips to discount offers.

Starting and maintaining a business blog should not require any technical background—you only need to be immersed in your industry and willing come up with interesting content ideas around it. If you are interested in getting a personal blog review, feel free to request a free website assessment and HubSpot’s inbound marketing experts will be happy to help you out!


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