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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Recipe for a Blog - 8 Key Ingredients of a Good Business Blog: Create a Conversation

As The Blog Squadtm, we hear this complaint from entrepreneurs who start blogging: "Why isn't my blog working for my business?" As part of our "blog crisis prevention" program, we have reviewed hundreds of business blogs and can spot common errors immediately.

Blogs that work well for attracting new clients have these key elements:

1. A great blog name
2. A tag line or blog purpose statement
3. An easy way to get automatic blog updates
4. A list of categories
5. A list of recent posts and recent comments
6. Links to useful websites, products and services
7. Frequent posts with links relevant to the blog's purpose
8. An easy way for readers to have a conversation with the author

Ingredient 8: Create a Conversation 

Many blog authors deliver information as if through a megaphone, it's all going out and nothing coming in. They forget blogging has the capacity to involve readers�it's about having a conversation. They forget to ask readers to comment and participate in a conversation.

Blog authors who keep the reader in mind are taking full advantage of their blog's power. I've seen blog authors who always end their posts by asking readers for their input. But most forget this and leave the post without any attention at all to their readers.

This is a big mistake. It may seem like not many people are reading your posts because it's estimated that only about 1% of readers will comment and actively participate. That is why it is so important to drive traffic to your blog and build up the numbers of readers. Until you get to that tipping point, you might not get many comments. Just keep asking readers to comment anyway.

The other big mistake we often see on blogs is putting up hurdles to leaving comments. If your blogging software requires people to register and get a password, well, a lot of people can't be bothered. It's one more step, then they forget their password, and the urge to comment goes away quickly.

A common concern is about comment spam. You can set up your blog to moderate comments, but know that when you do, you are putting up a barrier. In the early stages of your blog, you probably won't get spam so don't moderate if you can help it. 

Only use the moderation feature if you start getting a lot of inappropriate comments and spam. However, spam can be quickly eliminated because the software can alert you a comment has been posted. You can quickly and easily delete it.

Alternatively you can put up a "captcha" requirement which cuts down on the automated bots that leave spam. This is not a bad solution, but only use it if you are getting several spam comment a day.

You want to encourage conversation. You don't want to do anything that will discourage readers from leaving a comment.

When someone takes the time to leave a comment, reward them. You'll get an email notification when someone leaves a comment. I always send a personal email to thank them for participating. If their comment is significant, I'll tell them I'll post a response to it over on the comments section of the blog.

For more leading edge Internet Marketing tips subscribe to The Blog Squad's ezine Savvy eBiz Tips at www.savvyebiztips.com . To learn about using social media tools like blogs, go to www.buildabetterblog.com . Denise Wakeman & Patsi Krakoff are The Blog Squad and can be found online at www.blogsquad.biz

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