Elance Blog

Starting a Successful Blog

Have you thought about starting your own blog?



We've asked Patrick Bennett, a WordPress guru since 2006, to share his expertise on how to create a successful blog using WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms on the Internet today.

We hope Patrick's 8 inside tips to success will guide you and inspire you to join the blogosphere. If you're interested in learning more about blogging, check out Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

Comments

We have recently started our first company blog. The target of our blog is to share our experience & knowledge we are gaining by working everyday with different buyers from all over the world. Its our first blogging experience, and the blog is still young. I am excitedly waiting for people to read it and give me feedback, if they found it helpful in anyway. I will highly appreciate anyone going out there and having a look at

http://www.genexbs.com/blog/

Thanks,
Muhammad Bilal

This article/post could not have come at a better time. We're currently in the midst of redesigning our site and changing it to a blog or not (and HOW) is something we discuss all the time. Thanks for the tips!

Sincerely,
Lan

WordPress is an excellent choice for a blog. It helps to understand the thousands of plug-ins and themes when creating your site. Not all of them play well together so seek advice from an experienced WP blogger or website design company. If you are a "do-it-yourselfer", consider spending a few days on the WP forum and on other WP blogs before diving in. Choose the functions that best support your goals and how you intend to use the blog. Thanks for the post Patrick.

These tips are very useful, easy to follow.
I tried the first tip, and now my blog looked more better.
Every blogger should try if you have not done so.

Thanks, Patrick Bennett!

Nophea
http://nophea.net/blog

Thank you Elance for referring me to Patrick's "8 inside tips to success". I have been blogging but was ignorant of these techniques. Now i will surely follow not only the tips but also Patrick!

Home Based Business With Free Resources

What great tips! I just started a new blog myself (dube.wordpress.com) and was needing tips on how to advertise it, make it work better, etc. Since Bennett is from Wordpress specifically, this is especially helpful for me. Thanks for sharing!

Patrick,

Great article!

I am confused regarding the "how" and "why" one might want to host their Blog on the same server as their domain. And the Blog programs that enable this approach.

Can you offer any additional insight?

Additionally, a discussion of the need for daily, weekly or monthly blog posts; the increase in workload and the responsibility of adding content.

Thx,
Jer

All of our business comes from organic SE listings so I knew how important a not only to develop a good well optimized blog but how important it was going to be to find the right people too. I searched and looked around for a while on search engines, and sent one or two emails to companies before posting the project here last March. Much to my surprise one of the comanies who's website I liked and had emailed actually responded to my elance proposal.

We don't really have a traditional blog at all, but we had a custom wordpress theme developed to mimic the existing look and feel and create a kind of Blog/Website or what I call our "blogsite". In some ways it's a never ending project. There are still several things we're working on and planning, but we already have over 1,100 posts and almost 200 comments in 87 categories. And our business is clearly growing. We're were a two employee, company but we're hiring a third this month so I guess you can say that using elance to free up some time, caused us to have even less time than before, or that using elance to outsource actually caused us to hire people too.

Since then we've used elance for a couple more pieces of the site, to add video and some more 2.0 type functionality. A blog is a great way to leverage your content and build SE traffic and elance is a great way to leverage your time.

Bill Quimby, President of Toll Free Numbers.com

Hi, I was just talking with a friend about setting up a blog TODAY....so thanks for the info (got to love law of attraction!!!). As a total newbie who doesn't understand one piece of jargon, can you please explain to me on the 'profile' page what: AIM, Yahoo IM and Jabber/Google Talk mean??????????

Thanks, Jennifer

Great article, i'm going to install the Google Sitemap plugin today!

Wordpress really is a powerful platform, our site www.familysupport.org.uk is a custom WordPress install and shows you just how much you can do with it.

Hi Jer.

In regards to your first question about the importance of hosting your blog on your website:
Without getting into too much detail and writing a whole article about it, let me give a few quick reasons why hosting your own blog is the better option:

1. Portability / Customization: When you host your own blog like WordPress, you have complete control over backing up your content. You could move your blog to another server anytime you want. If your account at blogspot gets canceled for example, your posts are toast. It is highly important to me to be able to install 3rd party plugins like I described in my article. Also, I have clients all the time that want their own theme as well as some tweaks to the actual wordpress code. Because they host the blog themselves, it's cake.

2. Trust: When you attach a blog to your domain name, you help build trust from search engines and visitors. That way, when you add new content through your blog, it is adding indexed pages associated with your domain. Generally search engines like to see domains that have a lot of content, especially new content. If you have a blog off of your main website you are in a way competing with yourself. You won't be able to make the blog match the look of your website, so you might end up hurting your brand.

3. Leads / Conversions: Through having more people coming to your blog, you can have more visitors to your main site. When a blog is seamlessly integrated into a website, users will very often click other links to "explore" the rest of the site. That way, you can use your blogging power to get people to click on other portions of your website where you are offering your product or services. Which, as I will back up, leads to more conversions. People who read my blog, will very commonly visit my portfolio and even request a proposal. Keeping things all in one place just makes more sense.

Regarding your question concerning the new workload that comes with a blog:
I will be the first to agree that maintaining a blog can be difficult and timely. For myself, I consider it a good month if I can blog 2-3 times. I know others however who are blogging 2-3 times per day. I think you need to evaluate the importance of your blog to your business. With that evaluation you can determine the ROI for intensive blogging. For some companies 2-3 per month will suffice. Others may need to be more ambitious, especially if competitors have an established blog. You could easily find someone on Elance that will write articles for your blog at a very competitive and reasonable rate. Give it a try.

Hopefully that helps to answer your questions.
Thanks to all for your comments, suggestions, and proposal requests :)

Patrick Bennett
Modern Blue

I use the google blogger http://tusharkapila.blogspot.com/ i think it has all the features and more of word press. especially like the ability to post via email

Very useful article. We have a wordpress blog. Wordpress is lot better than blogspot.

Ram
http://www.digitalbhoomi.in/blog

Hi Patrick - great article indeed.

Just updated the permalinks, and I got a comment at the top of tyhe screen saying that I should alter the.htaccess.

What should I do?

Thanks,

Tony Woolfson

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for the great post! I just set up our company blog a couple of weeks ago and spent a lot of time modifying the template to have it look like our main site, and you've given me a couple of pointers.

I had some comments about some of your points:

1. "Permalinks" - I like to go so far as to add the category name to the URL as well, so I use the "Custom Structure" /%category%/%postname%/
2. Akismet - I had no idea what this was! Thanks! I just registered for my API key...
4. All in One SEO Pack - What I've chosen to do to get rid of duplicate content issues is that I only display the full content of a post on the actual post page, and excerpts on the homepage, category pages, and archive pages. This way, I don't need to worry about using noindex.
7. Tags - I wasn't sure what these were for either. It's time to start... I don't want to end up like your brother. =)

I also wanted to add another point to your answer to Jer's question on the importance of hosting your blog on your website, like www.yourcompany.com/blog/. For search engine optimization, having inbound links (quality and quantity) to your website is a huge factor for ranking for the keywords you're targeting.

If you write good content on your blog, people will link to your posts. Because your blog is hosted on your company website, these links add to the overall "link popularity" of your website - and can help you boost your rankings in the search results. If your blog has a completely separate domain, or you have it on a sub-domain of your main website (blog.yourcompany.com), you don't get the same "overall link popularity" benefit.

Again, thanks for the great post!

John Rodriguez
Zerohour Creative Media

Hey Tony.

Most likely you are receiving that error because your .htaccess file doesn't have the correct permissions. Make sure you set the permission level to at least 664 on your server, and that should do the trick. Go to this link: http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks and read under " Automatically updating .htaccess".

Patrick

Hi Patrick.

I read the info file - Wordpress is really well supported. This is all a bit techy for me, but I understood it, and I actually created a .htaccess file in the blog directory, and pasted the code in.

Let's see if it works. Thanks again for your very helpful article.

Tony

Many thanks for the tips! One quick question: I use an older version of WordPress that is on my host's server (GoDaddy). As such, I am unable to upgrade to a newer version. Despite hours spent installing meta tags and uploading a site map to Google, I still seem to be unrecognizable to most search engines, including Google. Could it be that my efforts are in vain with an old (unknown) version of WordPress?

jack-of-all-thumbs,

In your zeal to optimize your blog for the search engines, you've made a fatal error.

I just took a look at your blog, and checked out the source code. I found this line in your code:
meta name='robots' content='noindex,nofollow'

Looking at a few of your post pages, it seems that you've got this line somewhere in your template, as it's on every page.

In effect, the meta tag you're using is telling the search engine spiders to NOT index this page, and DO NOT follow any of the links on this page. That's the exact opposite of what you want to accomplish...

Look through your Wordpress plugins or template files and get rid of that line. Alternatively, you could change it to:
meta name='robots' content='index,follow'

But getting rid of that in your code is essentially the same thing.

Cheers,
John Rodriguez
Zerohour Creative Media

JackofThumbs:

In your wordpress backend go to "Options" >> "Privacy". And make sure that the option "I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers" is checked. If you have the other option checked, would explain your troubles. Let me know if that helps!

A follow-up to my earlier thanks. Now I AM embarrassed. Following John's suggestion, I brought up my main page and viewed the source code. Yep, there was the 'noindex,nofollow'. I then spent twenty minutes (with help) searching all of the template and plug-in files for the code - no luck. I was frustrated, since I could now see the error but wasn't smart enough to know how to fix it, since I couldn't identify the source. Then I went to Patrick's suggestion, which I had blown off because I knew that I had toggled the privacy option to allow viewing.........except that I hadn't. Or if I had, I hadn't saved it, or whatever.

Once that was corrected, the source code 'noindex,nofollow' disappeared.

Again, thank you both from a middle-aged computer dinosaur.

Very resourceful information! THANKS for sharing with the rest of us. I've had my blog for nearly 3 years now, and I've been publishing my new artwork and various works in process. I've recently began creating my own website, and I'm trying to connect the two. First, I need to buy the domain. And I also want to change the code a little more. Of course, I've been teaching myself all of this stuff as I go along, so it's coming along slowly, but hopefully it will all take place within the next year. Let me know what you think of my blog. It's here: http://shandke.blogspot.com/

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