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Simple Steps to Creating a Professional Blog

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

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4 Responses

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeremy Arntz and dana marruffo, Blog Your Face Off. Blog Your Face Off said: RT @prwoman1: @thePRChannel guest blogger @jeremya discusses Simple Steps to Creating a Blog http://www.theprchannel.com/archives/106 [...]

  2. LuAnn Glowacz says:

    LOVE this, Jeremy! Thank you!

    As a non-geek who has “designed” my share of websites all by myself–some even for clients–my advice to others outside the geekdom realm Jeremy lives in is: DON’T DO IT YOURSELF. One little piece of broken html code can render a site useless — and can take us novices HOURS to figure out. Hire someone like Jeremy, even if you think you can do it yourself. You can paint your own house, but hiring professionals makes it easier and the results are so much better. It’s an investment, but it’s money well spent. Same for working with a web developer even on seemingly simple web projects.

    Oh, and have the foresight to purchase your domain and host it through one provider, right Jeremy? SO much easier. Dreamhost is a great solution for non-tech folks (speaking from experience).

    • Jeremy Arntz says:

      Yes if you have no idea what a DNS record is or don’t have access to someone who does registering a domain name with your hosting a provider is the easiest solution. Same thing goes for email addresses except they are called MX records.

      Typically hiring a professional to help you out is money well spent and hiring someone doesn’t always mean spending a lot of money. So things that seem complicated can be really easy for someone with experience and may only cost you $25 – $50, but will make a huge difference in creating a professional blog. Just remember on the web there’s a level of credibility attached to how your site looks.

  3. [...] they launched they asked me if I’d write a guest blog post and here is the result: “Simple Steps to Creating a Professional Blog“ It was a fun exercise since I don’t do much writing and would love to do more in the [...]

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