Setting Up Your Business Blog: Getting a WordPress Blog

Today I’m going to give you a detailed explanation, with screenshots, on how to set up your WordPress blog using WordPress hosting. This is the option that allows you to have a blog setup very quickly with little computer expertise. In yesterday’s post I explained the options for setting up your blog.

The First Steps:

  1. Go to wordpress.com. If you are using the other alternative where you put the blog into your website, you would go to wordpress.org. But today, we’ll be in wordpress.com.
  2. You’ll see a number of things. Near the top right of the page you’ll see, “Express Yourself” and underneath that, a button that says, “Sign Up Now”. Click on that orange button.
  3. Fill in the blanks.
    • First, make up a user name. Be sure to write it down so you can remember it.
    • Create a password. Avoid things like your name of birthdate. Again, write it down.
    • Confirm the password.
    • Check the legal.
    • Click on “Give me a blog”.
    • Click Next
    The first step in setting up your blog.

    The first step in setting up your blog.

    A problem arises.

    The name is already taken. I have to think of something new.

    The name is already taken. I have to think of something new.

    It took a few tries but I came up with a name that works. Here is the view of that.

    Successful choice of name.

    Successful choice of name.

    Click Signup.

    Now, you will see the following message.

    Check your email to confirm your registration.

    Check your email to confirm your registration.

    Check your email and you’ll see a similar message to this. Click on the link and your account will be activated.

    Follow the instructions in the email to activate your blog.

    Follow the instructions in the email to activate your blog.

    If that works, you should see the screen below.

    You now have a blog. Congratulations!

    You now have a blog. Congratulations!

    You can click on “View your site” if you want but it will be pretty boring at this point. Tomorrow I’ll show you how to jazz it up and create some of the settings.

    Please let me know via the “No comments/comments” link below if you have any questions about what I’ve written today.

    December 17th, 2009 by Radiance | 68 Comments »

Setting Up Your Business Blog: How, Where and What to Call It

There are three things you need to consider before setting up your blog. They are:

  1. Where you will host the blog?
  2. What software you will use to manage the blog?
  3. What name you will give to your blog?

Where will you host your blog?

You have three choices on hosting your blog. If you’re unsure of the meaning of hosting, think of it as the place where all your blog files will be that are accessible to the Internet. People cannot (we hope) read the files on your computer so you want the blog files out where people can find them.

Choice One: The Free Hosting from the Blogging Software Site

This is the easiest and cheapest of the three options and can be done by someone with minimal computer skills. If you can email, you can do this. You can have your blog up and operating in less than half an hour. In this option, your web address will read something like: mycompanyname.wordpress.com.

  • Advantages
    • Quick and easy
    • Free
    • No major web or computer skills required.
  • Disadvantages
    • Some limitations on your name.
    • Is separate from your company website and may lose some of the advantages of having all that fresh material on the website.
    • Some limitations on the look of the site and the features.

Choice Two: Incorporating the blog into your website.
In this case, you set up a separate section of your website that contains the blog. You will need some help from your web designer for this. The URL (address) will be something like this: www.yourwebsite.com/blog. You can replace “blog” with “news”, “updates”, whatever suits your purposes.

  • Advantages
    • Adds new material to your website and so attracts search engines.
    • No additional cost for hosting.
    • More closely tied to your brand or company.
    • You have more control over the look of your blog.
  • Disadvantages
    • Extra work to set up and requires some technical skill.

Choice Three: Set up your blog on a separate website.
In this option, you will have to register a new name for your blog and buy some new hosting for your blog. You address would be something like: www.companyblog.com

  • Advantages
    • If you want to write about a variety of topics or brands, this might be better.
  • Disadvantages
    • Cost of registering the new name – about $15 per year.
    • Hosting Costs – about $20 per month.
    • Technical skill required.

What blogging software should you use?

I have used two different versions of blogging software, Blogger and WordPress. There are a number of other free and paid options out there. I greatly prefer WordPress. It has so many options to make your blog more attractive and likely to be found by search engines. WordPress makes it incredibly easy to add pages to your blog. In fact, I’ve started building whole websites from WordPress.

If you just want to add a one page blog to your website, then you might find Blogger a bit easier to use. Here is an example of a news blog integrated into a Canadian writer’s website using Blogger software. You can see an example of a freestanding real estate blog done using WordPress here. Here is a demo blog I set up using WordPress and hosted on their site: http://radiancedream.wordpress.com/

What name you will give to your blog?

If you add your blog to your website, then there are few or no limitations on what you can call it. If you register a new domain or select a WordPress name, then you are limited to names that are not already registered by someone else. That is, if someone is already calling himself sandiegoplumber.wordpress.com, then you cannot. That’s san diego plumber, not sandie go plumber. Be careful that your name cannot be misinterpreted.

Options for choosing a name include:

  • Choose a name with important search engine keywords related to your business. For example, abbotsfordorganic.wordpress.com.
  • Choose a name that is close to your business name. For example, samsorganicgrocery.wordpress.com.

It may be worth paying an SEO (search) expert to do a little research on what words are most searched for in your field. You want words that are frequently searched but also not too competitive. After all, you want to show up near the top of the search results.

If you decide to use spaces in your URL, then uses – (dashes), not _ (underscores). Search engines read dashes as spaces. For example, sams-organic-grocery.wordpress.com, which is read as sams organic grocery, not sams_organic_grocery.wordpress.com, which is read as samsorganicgrocery.

Some people recommend using a catchy name. This could be useful if your blog is more personal or general in nature and you are trying to build a reputation,but for your business, you are wiser to use your business name or keywords (important search words).

A last point on naming your blog. Give it lots of thought. Once you’ve built up a following, you do not want to have to change your name. Have some options ready in case your first choice is not available.

So, for tomorrow, have an email address and your blog name choices ready and we’ll set up your blog.

December 16th, 2009 by Radiance | 24 Comments »

Social Media Strategies Begin with a Blog

Three Reasons Your Business Needs a Blog

You need a blog for three very important reasons. First, Google loves new material and a blog (if you keep it up of course) provides lots of new material. Two, a whole raft of Internet Search professionals list blogging as the number two way to get traffic to your website via search results. Three, the blog is the center of your social media universe. In his book, The Social Media Marketing Book, Dan Zarrella puts the blog at the center of his social media strategy diagram.

What’s a blog?

A blog is simply a website that is regularly updated with new and interesting information about your subject. The most recent news is found first on the blog and older news is lower on the page or archived. The first handful of blogs were created in the mid ’90s.

According to Wikipedia,

As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112,000,000 blogs.

For some fun statistics on the state of the blogosphere, check out thefuturebuzz.com.

What Should You Blog About?

As a small business owner, you most likely have a wide range of knowledge about topics related to your business. Here are some ideas.

  • News about your business. You’ve added new staff. You’ve won an award. You’ve sponsored a charity event.
  • New products. This should be a chatty piece about the new product, not a sales pitch.
  • Special events. You’re having a demonstration on how to build your own terrarium. You’re having a book signing.
  • Special offers. Have readers print a coupon or give them a special code for a discount.
  • Your thoughts on news affecting your industry.
  • Your expertise – for example – you run a building supply. How about articles on how to refinish a deck, or how to replace your bathroom taps.
  • Answers to common questions. People who come into your store or use your services have some questions. In person, you give answers. Gather some of these answers into a series of blog posts. You can build your reputation for giving added value.

How do you get a blog?

This week I propose to write a series of articles on setting up your own business blog. I’ll include lots of detailed instructions so that even if you have only average computer skills, you’ll be able to do this yourself. Tomorrow we’ll start with naming and setting up your blog.

December 14th, 2009 by Radiance | 11 Comments »

Add a coupon to your local listing in Google

Today I want to give you instructions on how to add a coupon to your local listing in Google. The following are the steps to accomplish this.

Creating Your Coupon in Six Easy Steps

  1. To get your Google local listing you had to set up a Google account. To create your coupon, you need to login to that account.
  2. Here is the screen that will appear
  3. First step to adding a coupon.

    First step to adding a coupon.

  4. Click on the “local business center” and the following screen will appear.
  5. The coupons tab in the Local Business Center

    The coupons tab in the Local Business Center

  6. Now, you see the coupon information
  7. An explanation of the coupon feature

    An explanation of the coupon feature

  8. As you fill in the form on the left you’ll see your coupon appear on the right. You can also allow for a mobile phone coupon, give your coupon a number for ease of tracking and add an image.
  9. Your coupon takes shape

    Your coupon takes shape


    Adding an image.

    Adding an image.

  10. When people click “More information” on your map bubble they will see more details of your business and your coupons. When they click on one of your coupons, this is what they’ll see.
  11. Here's my coupon. Click on it to see the actual coupon live.

    Here's my coupon. Click on it to see the actual coupon live.

Publicize Your Coupon

You can link to your coupon from your website, your blog or your Facebook account. In fact, I’ll go over there and do it right now.

Please feel free to ask questions or make comments via the “No comments/comments” link below.

Thanks again for following my blog.

December 8th, 2009 by Radiance | 39 Comments »