Mack Collier of The Viral Garden did an excellent presentation yesterday on why businesses should blog. With some background on why blogging matters and how companies are using blogs to spark conversation, this workshop is designed to provide everything you need to know to build a successful blog from selecting your blog software to planning your blog strategy.
In this workshop, Mack is going to take us through several tools and resources designed to help blogging. He starts off with Google Blog Search and shows attendees how you can use the service to monitor terms related to your business and/or blog. He also mentions that you can use RSS readers such as Bloglines to monitor buzz related to your blog.
Next Mack talks about Twitter Search for monitoring items that are being discussed on Twitter. Could be an even such as this conference, a person, a company, a product or a number of things.
Next, Mack talks about the various blogging platforms. He mentions Blogger, TypePad, Movable Type and Wordpress. Most have free versions while they all offer some sort of paid elements/versions as well. There are opportunities to have your blog hosted or to simply download the software and install on your own server. I strongly suggest the latter so that you can have complete control over your blog.
I use Movable Type for my SearchRank blog while I use Wordpress for all the other blogs I run. The differences between the two are many but mostly the fact that Movable Type published actual html pages while Wordpress is all database driven. That's why its crucial when running Wordpress to make sure you back up regularly, whether you do that manually on a schedule or use a plug-in that automatically does it for you.
On thing Mack points out as far as the content you publish on your blog is that it is okay to talk about your own products and/or services but to do so with moderation. If all you ever write about is your own wares, your blog is not going to be very interesting and as such not attract many readers.
Another thing Mack points out is that you should put a face to your blog. Make sure there is an about us page, blogger profiles, pictures, identities on individual posts, etc. In other words, put a face to each post as people want to know the personality behind the blog or posts.
Much of this workshop was looking at actual blogs, seeing what people are doing right and what they are not doing right. Therefore it was difficult to capture a lot of what was being said as you really had to be there to experience it. At any rate, I hope you are able to get something out of the tips Mack provided and the resources he mentioned as well.
Note: These are raw notes taken while live-blogging sessions at the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference in Columbus, Ohio. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors.
September 23, 2008

David Wallace is CEO and founder of SearchRank, an original search engine optimization and marketing firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is experienced in search engine optimization and marketing, pay per click and pay for inclusion management, directory submissions and web site design usability. David is a frequent contributor to various search engine related forums, an active editor of popular directories such as, Joe Ant and Zeal and has had several articles published on industry related sites. Since 1997, David along with his company have helped hundreds of businesses both large and small increase their search engine visibility and customer acquisitions.

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