Welcome to our series of posts on the business of blogging! Each Thursday for 6 weeks, we'll debut a new post designed to help you build, market, and successfully create a small business with your Typepad blog. Late to the party? Check out our other posts about the Business of Blogging.
When making the decision to start a blog, you're embarking on an endeavor which is new to you. There are many things to consider when you get started, and you can take advantage of the experience of those who have gone before you by adhering to some of the best practices for business blogging.
Use Your Own Domain Name
Typepad allows you to use a unique and professional domain name for your site with the Domain Mapping feature. This allows you to present a professional blog to the world without typepad.com in your blog's address. Some things to keep in mind when choosing a domain:
- Make it easy to read and remember. Say the domain out loud to see how it sounds. Make sure you are using easy to spell words.
- Keep it short and sweet.
- Avoid numbers and special characters.
Some good examples of Typepad blogs using mapped domains: www.pulpsushi.com, www.abeautifulmess.com, www.specialneedsmom.com.
You can set up Domain Mapping any time without breaking links to your existing content, but we don't recommend changing your domain after you have established your blog. Need a shorter URL for your site? Consider registering a short domain which is easy to share and forwarding it to your blog without breaking any existing links.
If need help setting up Domain Mapping, the Typepad community and support team can do the set up for you. Click the Help link in your account and open a New Ticket with your request.
Less Is More
If you choose good, relevant advertising for your blog, your readers won't be overwhelmed and turned off by the ads. With well chosen ads, your readers will actually see the ads and potential advertisers will notice.
Use No Follow Links
By adding a small bit of code to your sponsored links, you can prevent Google and other search engines from clicking through those links on your site and giving a higher page rank to the sponsored website. If you do not use no follow links, your site may be penalized as it is seen as one way sites can buy a higher page rank.
The rel="nofollow" tag can be easily added to your links:
<a href="http://www.corporatewebsite.biz" rel="nofollow">Sponsor</a>
When composing a post, click to the HTML tab to edit the link tag. For sidebar modules, you'll want to use the custom sidebar module or Notes Typelist, instead of Links Typelist, in order to edit the link tag. (See the article on adding custom sidebar content for more information.)
For the Google explanation and more technical details, see the Webmaster Tools article on the subject.
Don't Steal Content
This seems pretty straightforward, but you see a lot of posts around the web which are simply copied from another site. Readers will be more likely to come back to your blog again and again to read original content. Instead of taking the lazy approach, take inspiration from articles you enjoy. Ask permission of the author to use a short quote on your own blog and give credit where credit is due. Then, add your own take to make the article your own. The same goes for using images and other multimedia you do not own. We previously published an article on photo use and attribution.
Don't Overlook The Design
Your writing may be spectacular, your photos beautiful, but if the design of your blog makes it hard to read or is unappealing, visitors may not stick around to read your posts. Put your latest content front and center. Carefully consider ad placement to prevent the ads from overwhelming readers. Limit your banner height to less than 300px to make sure your recent post appears above the fold and visitors don't need to scroll down to start reading. Add navigational links in a prominent place, like the Navigation Bar below the banner, or at the top of a sidebar column. Make note of other sites you visit regularly and see what about their design stands out to you as a plus and be inspired!
Looking for help with a new design? Typepad services can help you with a new design. Check out the portfolio and find a service that best meets your needs.
What other best practices have you found for blogging? Share your tips in the comments or the forum.