Blogging – It seems everybody blogs these days.
Is your website really reaching out to your audience? Are you engaging their attention in an entertaining and helpful way? Your site may tell the visitor everything about your company and the services you offer but does it actually talk to them? I think you know what I am getting here – the power of blogging.
Much has been made about the importance of blogs and the internet is awash with articles on how to earn money through blogging, how to write a successful blog, the dos and don’ts of blogging, etc. In fact there is so much advice out there that it can be hard to separate what is useful from what is not. The truth is that there is no hard and fast rule about blogging and no secret formula but there is one thing that everyone agrees on and that is that blogging will help bring visitors to your site.
So why is blogging so useful?
There are a number of reasons really:
- Google loves fresh and relevant content so the more you provide that, the better your ratings will be.
- You can give your visitors free, useful information which they can then share amongst their friends.
- It opens up a conversation between you and the visitor rather than a stagnant website into which the visitor has no input.
- You can build upon your reputation as an expert in your field.
What Makes a Good Blog?
It’s hard to define what distinguishes a good blog from a bad one. There really are no hard and fast rules. Sometimes a blogger will seemingly do everything right and yet still the blog fails to raise so much as an eyebrow. Other times a blog can seem churlish, irrelevant and obtuse yet it’s a huge hit. Where is the sense in that?
What you need to find out is what your competition is up to. Do any of your competitors have a blog? What are their ratings? What do they blog about? What do you like and dislike about their blogs? Ideally you will take a little bit of inspiration from each blog and incorporate that into your own. Here were some of the most popular blogs for 2012:
Gizmodo – a magazine styled blog which features technology news, features and reviews. The news is relevant, topical and reader-friendly enabling visitors to air their views too.
Mashable – the layout here is entirely different with the site wholly dominated by interesting images and headlines that makes you want to read more.
TechCrunch – another magazine styled blog which focuses on news story within the tech industry.
The key ingredients these blogs all have in common are:
You might not have the resources to create such sophisticated blogs but the content is what you are mainly focusing on.
Do Blogs Present a Security Issue?
High ranking blogs can become a target for hackers who take over such blogs to improve their own SEO or re-direct traffic. Blog owners may not realise this and if the site is reported to Google your rankings will suffer and it can be a long hard process to re-establish your reputation. This has become a problem for popular webhosting sites such as WordPress.
Methods most commonly used are backdoor installations which mean that a hacker can go back into your blog at a later date. Most blogs are aware of such security vulnerabilities which is why they release regular updates.
The best way to avoid being hacked is to track your blog regularly, always update it and make sure you have a backup of your site. If your site is hacked, report it to your website host immediately and take the site down whilst it is being fixed.
Trolls and Spammers
Other security issues involve trolls and spammers. To initiate debate you need to allow comments which are notorious for attracting spam posts. These spam posts could contain possibly malicious links and backtracks. There are various plugins you can use to deter spammers such as Akismet; this identifies common spam and holds it in the database, rather like the junk mail folder in your email account. Another way you can combat spam is to hold all comments for moderation so that you can manually approve each one.
Trolls are another downside of popular blogs. These posters will use the anonymity of the internet to post hateful content either directed towards yourself or a certain section of society. It’s all very well to tell someone to develop a thick skin but it’s not so easy in real life when every blog post you create is being attacked or your blog is being torn apart on social media sites.
Yet these occurrences are still, thankfully rare and most spammers and trolls target only the most popular of blogs. If this is what you have your sights set on then the best way to tackle any threats to your blog is to always keep track of what’s happening, check out comments several times a day, never respond to any personal attacks and keep on top of your blog. After all there is nothing more effective or secure than the watchful eye of a human being, so be your own blog’s bodyguard.
– The Omniquad Team