When the word “blog” was created from “Web” and “log” back in 1999, no one had any idea that these online diaries or journals would be as powerful as are. There are now millions upon millions of blogs on every topic imaginable—from political commentary to pet care. Businesses have jumped onto the blog bandwagon, too, as a way to generate interest in their products and services and improve their online visibility. Multinational corporations, small business and “solopreneurs” alike are creating blogs as marketing, promotional and educational tools.

Blogging can be an extremely useful way to “talk” to both current and prospective customers. Blogs provide a unique opportunity for you to define yourself as an expert in the industry, enabling you to communicate on a mass scale, but in a personal manner. They are also extremely helpful when it comes to search engine optimization; they can help you improve your ranking on search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

While it’s quite simple to establish a blog, the challenge is to create a great one that attracts loyal readers. It requires more than just throwing some company news on a page. For a blog to flourish, it must be written with passion, enthusiasm, interest and knowledge. It needs to be a “go to” site for advice and insight.

Are you up for the challenge? If so, the rewards can be substantial. Here are some tips to get you on your way to becoming a successful blogger.

  1. Keep it relevant. Sure, you can find countless blogs that detail the minutiae of their writers’ lives. But if you are targeting your existing customer base and overall market, you’ll have to limit your posts to relevant, interesting information. It’s safe to assume your readers don’t have time to read about your dog or your trip to the Bahamas. Instead, stay focused on valuable, newsworthy topics.
  2. Keep posts current. Maintaining a blog is a commitment. If you don’t have time to stay current with news and provide frequent posts, you’re better off simply sticking with a website. Readers expect blogs to have the most current information. If they consistently see outdated posts, they won’t return.
  3. Keep it reader-friendly. Avoid complex jargon and make your points clearly and without ambiguity. Use “real speak” and readers will enjoy reading your posts.
  4. Encourage comments and dialogue. A blog isn’t just another website. It enables your readers to respond to what you’ve written. In fact, the best blogs become popular specifically because of the strength of their discussions between blogger and readers. Don’t be alarmed if you have someone disagree with you. Encourage the free exchange of ideas and opinions. You might even learn a thing or two from your readers.
  5. Share links. Don’t stop at thoughtful, well-written posts. Encourage your readers to learn even more by supplying them with links to related blogs or articles of interest. One blog can spread a wealth of knowledge.
  6. Make it visually pleasing. Readers are more apt to return if your blog is easy on the eyes. Most of the blog-publishing sites provide a variety of attractive templates that you can utilize or customize to resemble your website.
  7. Promote it. Finally, once your blog is up and running, take the time to register it on the most commonly used search engines, as well as on a blog-only search engine, such as blogwise.com. And don’t forget to include your blog’s URL in your email signature to encourage everyone to visit.

Now for the important question: Are you up to the task of becoming a blogger? If so, there’s no time like the present to get started!

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Adrian Miller is the founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training. To find out more or to visit her blog go to http://adrianmiller.wordpress.com.