There's no doubt that more businesses are realizing the power of blogging to establish their expertise, rank higher at the search engines, and improve their communication with prospects and customers.
But as more companies jump into the blogosphere it becomes more difficult for your blog to get noticed, and therefore to make you money. Here are nine quick tips to make your blog a profitable marketing tool.
1. Blog for your audience. As the blogosphere matures, the face of business blogging is changing as well. Although the discourse can still be freer than your Web site or email newsletter, people want content they can use. A few posts in a row about what you had for breakfast and you're toast.
2. Make your blog search engine friendlier. Blogs are search engine friendly by design. By choosing keyword-rich category names and writing keyword-rich post titles you can greatly increase your search engine visibility and drive more qualified leads to your site.
3. Engage your most active commenters. Some blogs naturally attract more comments because of their popular or controversial topics. You can increase the comments on your blog by responding to each commenter in an email, linking back to or commenting at their blogs, and mentioning them by name in later posts.
4. Comment on influential blogs in your niche. Find the influential bloggers in your niche(s) through a Technorati search and read their posts. When you have something intelligent to add to the conversation, comment away. These comments create links to your own blog, and should drive some more traffic your way.
5. Submit your site to blog directories. When I started developing Web sites getting listed in Yahoo took an email. Now it takes $299...a year. Submit your site while it's (mostly) free.
6. Promote your blog's newsfeed. Every blog platform creates a feed for syndication, but some blogs don't have it easily available. Make sure your is obvious.
7. Add an email subscription. Although newsfeeds are important, not all of your readers will understand how to subscribe to one. Everyone, however, understands how to subscribe to an email newsletter. I recommend using Feedburner for this task, as it also allows you to easily create newsfeeds and track subscribers.
8. Include social bookmarking links. Getting a post into Digg, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, or any of the popular social networking/bookmarking sites, can generate thousands of additional page views. Make it easier on visitors to promote your posts by including links to these services within every post.
9. Leverage your blog traffic into real business. Don't forget that this is your business blog, not your personal one; you're looking for a return on investment. Create appropriate calls-to-action in the form of links that drive traffic from your blog to your Web site or online store.
Just don't be too heavy handed; visitors won't become subscribers or customers if you're doing nothing but self-promotion. Use a deft hand to establish your expertise and build relationships with readers, but make it easy for them to buy from you when they're ready.
While every item in this list will help make your blog more profitable, pay most attention to the first and last tips. Blog for your customers because nothing else will have an impact if you don't focus on their needs. Blog for your business because the purpose of a business blog is to help your company grow and succeed.