This is the last installment of our basic Bramble Business Series. If you’d like me to blog about other business subjects (anything!), post a comment. Now that Lily is at home most days, I’m going to have even more time to write those meaty business blogs =)
We’re ending this basic series by explaining something that has become an integral part of a successful online presence: a blog. Blogging is one of the most important parts of creating and maintaining your business presence online. This tutorial will help you create a platform where you can develop your brand, interact with customers and hopefully sell more products. In case you missed it, the other posts in this series include how to set up Twitter, Facebook and Etsy business accounts.
You guessed it — we host Soap Queen on WordPress!
A blog is a an informational website that typically focuses on a particular niche (such as soaping, crafting, fashion, gardening or just about anything else). Blogs are a solid way to reach others in your community to interact, share experiences, learn from each other and even meet. We chose WordPress in particular because it allowed us to customize everything, from the look and feel of the blog to specific features in the commenting system. WordPress also has superior SEO prowess (search engine optimization), which means your blog will show up in more search results. Another popular blog-hosting platform is Blogger, but for the purpose of this tutorial we’re going to walk you through creating a WordPress. If you are torn between the two, this blog post goes into more detail about the differences of the two blogging platforms.
ONE: To set up your WordPress blog, click here. Once you’ve started this set-up, it will walk you through the process of creating your blog and you can even host your URL on WordPress. (For advanced users: If you are interested in hosting your very own website, I would suggest checking hosting services like Network Solutions or DreamHost. The advantage to this is that you can code your own website from the ground up, which allows for maximum customization.)
TWO: Just like signing up for any other social media service, follow the site’s guided directions to create a basic blog. You will be able to change the .wordpress.com address and substitute it with your URL at a later point if you choose. Once you’ve filled out the form, you will need to click on the activation e-mail that is sent to your inbox. Be sure to check your junk and spam mail folders for the email if it hasn’t arrived within 24 hours.
FOUR: Once you have activated your account, WordPress will take you step-by-step to help you customize your overall layout and color scheme.
FIVE: Once you’ve completed the setup, you are ready to start posting. To access your blog and the dashboard at any time, type out the URL: yourblognamehere.wordpress.com/wp-admin. This will get you into the back-end of your blog so you can make changes to the text of your blog, customize the skin (look and theme) and respond to comments.
SIX: If you have already purchased a domain name (URL), you can actually combine your WordPress blog and that URL together. To learn more about mapping (syncing) an existing domain name, click here. If you choose to go with a free thisisyourblogname.wordpress.com, you are done! You are ready to share your tutorials, products, and ideas with the whole world.
What Should I Blog About?
- A blog is a website or web page where people share their opinions, link to other sites, give tutorials, etc… on a regular basis. It is up to you what you blog about, but in order to make your blog successful and readable, I suggest sticking to the focus of your business. When I created Soap Queen, I knew I was going to talk about soap, but I also knew I’d be focusing on personal (family), cooking, other hobbies (sewing), business advice and of course, tutorials on lip balms, fizzies and more toiletries. Clearly, the main focus of Soap Queen is to feature projects and tutorials using Bramble Berry’s products but since a blog is a way to connect with your potential customers and make new friends, including behind-the-scenes, and personal posts is a fantastic way to connect with others.
- There are several different types of posts you can publish. They can be on any topic related to your business such as tutorials, recipes, business posts, interviews, contests, and more. For example posts, check out the Soap Queen Blog archive here. Lucky Break Consulting has a fantastic (fantastic!!) post on 50 blogging ideas if you’re having trouble figuring out what to blog about.
The sidebar to the left of the Soap Queen blog guides readers to different categories of posts. We cover a wide range of topics that fall under the general umbrella of creating bath & body products.
- Just like Twitter, consider the following rule when posting on your blog: no religion, no politics, no sex. This will help you appeal to the widest range of recipients and not alienate potential customers
- Blog about what you do best — whatever your passion is! Share your success stories, your projects, whatever you love to make and more. Engage other bloggers by commenting on their blog posts. One great way to organize all the soapy blogs you read is through BlogLovin’ — an RSS reader. This website helps aggregate a ‘feed’ from all your favorite blogs so you can quickly see new posts from your favorite blog all in one place.
You’re ready to start blogging! If you have your own blog, what tips do you have for new bloggers? And, if you know what you’d like for an Advanced Business series on this blog, let me know! I’m all ears… (or eyes).