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Many people I work with know that they want a blog, but haven’t the slightest idea how to get started. Even seasoned veterans need a plan to build a successful blog presence on the Web.

simple blog planSo for those of you who would like to get started on a new blog; here is my recommended plan for getting started:

1. Determine Your Direction.

This is an obvious first step, and is essential to work out before you go any further. Basically; what are you going to blog about. Write your idea for content down on a plan document, and get specific. It may not be enough to say you are going to blog about ‘humanitarianism’, you may need to get specific and identify what type of humanitarian you want to be in your blog, or define a specific direction you would like to go with ‘humanitarianism’ such as ‘children in Africa’. Be specific and define a direction for your blog.

2. Define An Objective.

Next you will want to supplement your Direction with an objective. In this phase of your plan you are defining why you are blogging. Do you want people to join your cause? Do you want people to donate to your foundation? Do you want people to purchase a product from your site? There are a million and one reasons why you might be blogging, and there are certainly no wrong answers. The important point is that you define your reason so that your effort has purpose, and so that you can measure your success against an objective.

3. Decide On Your Imagery.

Time to spice up your site and create a personality. Do you want your site to be stale and corporate? Do you want to be flowery and ethereal? Are you trying to match another site or are you branding with an established image? Spend some time working on the graphics of your site. Take into consideration how you want to be perceived and work to support that perception with graphics that will present you as serious, fun, or part of a greater movement. This is a great time to add your own personality and to develop a brand around the content you will post.

4. Line Up Some Keywords.

As you begin to blog, you will want to focus on your Direction and Objectives. Now is a good time to do some initial research and determine the keywords you will want to include in your content to communicate to the search engines, and your readers, about your relevancy. It is a good idea to include at least a few keywords in every post you make on your blog, and to concentrate those keywords around your plan. Go to Google’s keywords tool and do some research. Find at least three keywords to begin with, but don’t be shy about making a list of between 10 and 15. More than 15 or so will be too difficult to manage; let your natural organic discussion incorporate peripheral keywords that will naturally slip into the conversation.

5. Where To Host?

Right about the time you are ready to implement your new blog you are going to be faced with the decision of where to put it. You can establish a free blog at WordPress.com or blogger.com, or you can download software from WordPress.org and create your own blog on your own server. You will also want to determine whether you want to host on your own domain, or whether the free sites offer an adequate URL for your objectives. I prefer hosting my blogs on my own domains, and my favorite place to do this is at Bluehost.com. Bluehost provides excellent hosting services and allows you to obtain a domain name for free as part of your sign up. If you are testing the water with a new initiative, you may want to go with one of the free sites to start, but move as early as you can to your own domain before you establish roots.

6. When To Post?

As part of your plan you will want to determine a schedule of when to post. Again, there are no wrong answers here; you can post once a year, or once an hour. The more frequently you post, the more often the search engines will visit your site and index your content. For a basic Search Engine Optimization, I recommend posting at least once each week. More frequently will be beneficial for your SEO. I wouldn’t go any less frequently if you are serious about your marketing. If you are establishing a family blog or have an objective that does not require a lot of participation, it won’t really matter how often you post.

I have a demonstration blog set up at demoblog.listpipe.com that shows what a typical blog looks like, and includes a handful of videos to show how to blog, post, and manage your content. Go check it out.

Finally, I’d like to plug our ListPipe service. ListPipe is a blog service that provides all the components of a marketing blog including regular custom content, written just for you. With ListPipe you have an easy sign up process and a complete blog that you can add to and control. It’s a great way to get started with your business blog and an excellent way to extend your online marketing.

Listen to the Corporate Blogger Tips Podcast of this post:

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