This post is part of The PR Channel’s “Guest Blogger Series” featuring insights from Austin-area entrepreneurs and business leaders in areas complementary to PR (including marketing, sales, graphic design, web development and more).
By Jeremy J. Arntz
If your blog is your brand, your product or “the mouth piece” for your company, it must look professional. If you’re willing to skimp on any of the things I’m about to cover, then you need to reconsider why you have or want to start a blog.
WHERE DO YOU START?
The first and most important step is to register a domain name. This will cost less than $20 dollars a year and will make a huge difference in how your blog is perceived. For a personal blog, yourname.tumblr.com or yourname.wordpress.com are great places to start. For a business blog, you will need to register your own domain name (yourname.com). The cost is minimal and every blogging platform allows you to use your domain name. If your blog is going to be a part of your current site, then it should appear as a sub-domain (blog.yourname.com) or as a directory (yourname.com/blog).
STEP TWO: EMAIL
Once you have a domain name, it is important to setup email address(es) using your newly purchased domain name. It’s unprofessional to send out official correspondence from a Hotmail account with a questionable username, such as one you’ve had since college. Your domain registrar may offer email services. If they do not, Google offers a free service called Google Apps that allows you to create up to 50 email addresses (for free) using your domain.
STEP THREE: DESIGN
Your target audience will immediately judge your blog on how it looks and how easy it is to navigate. Using the default theme that comes with your chosen platform “as is”, is NOT an option. Your theme needs to be customized to reflect your brand. This could be as simple as adjusting fonts, link colors and adding your own stylized logo. In this case, using the default theme or one of the many free themes that are available for every blogging platform is a good starting point.
If you or someone in your organization has the skills to customize your theme, great. Otherwise, I recommend you find a good designer that is familiar with creating blog templates to assist you in theme customization. The design of your blog is the place you should invest your money, especially if your blog is the product you are trying to sell.
STEP FOUR: CREATING CONTENT
Content is king, and nothing is more unprofessional than a blog with stagnant content. If you are not updating your content on a regular basis, it defeats the purpose of having a blog. How often you update your blog depends on the implementation of your site. If you are creating a Fashion news site, my guess is you should be updating your content daily. Conversely, a blog supporting a corporate site may only require weekly updates. When in doubt, find other blogs similar to yours and check how often they update their content.
If you follow these simple and effective guidelines, you’ll be on your way to starting and maintaining a successful blog in no time.
About Our Guest: Jeremy Arntz is a full time web developer with over 10 years experience. In his free time, you can find him writing Word Press Plugins or working on some crazy idea. Visit about.me/jeremyarntz to locate Jeremy in all the various corners of the web he inhabits.
Thank you Jeremy for this great post! The PR Channel is curious if our readers have any favorite theme sites or template? Please post in the comments.
Photo: Some rights reserved by H. Michael Karshis