It has been established over and over again that content is indeed king and one way to treat it like royalty is through blogging. Blogging is a great way to humanize your business, besides helping you connect with your audience, building credibility and enhancing visibility. Today, a growing number of businesses use blogs to generate leads, promote their products and interact with their customers. The emphasis on social media has made it imperative for companies to include blogging as one of the main components of their marketing mix.

The question is, how can a company get its blog to rule? What is the secret behind successful blogs? What do they do that others don’t? Here is my go-to checklist of non-negotiable points to ensure that your blog rules. Take care of these and you’re good to go.

It is all about your audience

First, identify your target audience. Then, brainstorm the words your prospective customers would use to describe your blog. Ask yourself, what would they like to see on your site? What would they expect to find?

Goals give you focus

What do you wish to achieve through your blog? What is your mission? Is your blog aligned with your mission? Do your readers know the purpose of your blog?

Content rules

Does your content reflect your blog’s goals? Do your readers enjoy reading your posts? Is the language and writing style geared to your audience? Does it have a unique voice? Don’t forget to check for grammar, spelling and punctuation!

Looks matter

Your blog design is just as important as your content. Do you use responsive web design? Is it professional? Does it match the type of blog you are trying to project? Is it easy to navigate? Can your readers find their way around intuitively? Is the content organized in relevant categories for easy browsing? Are old posts easy to access? Do you have a sitemap? Check for flow of content. Is there anything that is likely to distract your reader away from your blog?

Posts – the heart of your blog

Successful blogs have a regular schedule. Do your readers know when they can expect to see updates in their mailbox or in their RSS reader? Are your posts in sync with your blog’s purpose and style? Do they grab your readers’ interest?

Comments and interaction

Comments are the lifeline of a blog and help build a loyal community around your business. Do you track comments and reply to them? Are there some posts that attract more comments than others? Are you responsive to the trend? Does this influence future post content?

Technical stuff

The backend of a blog is just as important as the front. This includes ensuring your blog loads quickly across major browsers, avoiding the over use of graphics, plug-ins and gadgets that can slow down your blog.

Marketing

And finally, your blog is also a promotional tool – so don’t forget marketing! Get your blog out there by listing it in the appropriate directories. Visit other blogs in your niche and interact, comment and where possible, collaborate. Include links to your blog in your email marketing newsletters.

In closing…

As you publish fresh content regularly, build your blog and your community remember to measure its ROI (return on investment) using metrics to track your results since the success of any marketing effort depends on how well you leverage the marketing dollar.

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