I just registered #SMBChat as an official hash tag, and a new blog called SMB Collective is in the works. This post is inspired by the mission for SMB Collective to be educational, supportive and bring global perspective on a variety of topics for all small and medium business owners. Within that tier one audience is the newbie blogger, and this information is for them/us.
I asked several tier-one tweeps and blogging communities, including #SBT10 and #BlogChat, what they recommend every new blog needs.
(For your information #SBT10 is Start Blogging Today at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesdays hosted by primary ring leader Grant Griffiths, of WordPress premium theme, Headway. I thank Grant for teeing up my question on Twitter yesterday to help garner this fodder.)
The Twitter Tweep Round-Up
Following is the roundup of everyones’ suggestions varying from previous posts and video to someone’s brand new post and other tips on plug-ins and strategy. What’s neat is the interpretation of the question and thus the varying insights and expertise:
- I’ll begin with a few suggestions of my own (knowing my first blogging attempt is deficient in many of these aspects) — each blog needs a good back-up plan, whether Back-Up Buddy or something else. Analytics are necessary to identify posts most popular with highest traffic. A plug in that allows the emailing of comments is required (not here yet); and, I like New England Multimedia’s blog yesterday (see below) with the plug in Michelle uses, called Comment Luv (it enables a blogger’s previous post to present with a posted comment elsewhere). Lastly, RSS is important; people need ways to subscribe to your blog.
- John Haydon was the first to respond. He said every blog needs (for starters) an about page with a picture; a widget for categories; e-mail opt-in; social connections (I believe that means ways to follow, repeat on Twitter, Facebook, etc.); and, threaded comments.
- Amy Howell with Howell Marketing claimed she was a newbie and tossed this question off to Mark Schaefer who added a blog post written a year ago in answer to my question. In spite of her tee up to Mark, Amy added links, promotion of others, imagery, and use of humor as her recommendations for new blogs.
- Mark W. Schaefer’s blog from July 2009 offers tongue-in-cheek serious counsel from his friend John Bottom, a gifted B2B marketer in London. They both agree “good, original content” is all that’s needed. Mark says be consistent with personal passions and interests; focus on one broad subject area so as to not confuse your readers; be interesting, useful and entertaining.
- Jon Buscall, who resides in Sweden and owns Jontus Media, shared a link to a YouTube video he developed featuring WordPress plug ins and a bit more.
- Gregg Morris of storytelling fame shared these tips for every new blog — A great title that relates to the business if possible; an about page that describes what’s in the blog for the reader as well as giving a little info about the business as it relates to that; a services page that describes what’s offered, whether via e-commerce or brick and mortar; a contact page that has every way imaginable to get in touch with the business and the people behind it; a contact form should be there, too; a story page (you knew that was coming right?). While they’re not prevalent yet, they soon will be. This is where the emotional connections between business/brands and customers are going to be cemented.
- Tom Pick, a B2B marketer who runsa well-respected blog, Webbiquity, pondered a bit and suggested a PLAN (for content and promotion) and key plugins like All In One SEO Pack and Subscribe2 are required.
- Neicole Crepeau asked if the question referred to WordPress and if so she recommends getting a good theme; one that is SEO friendly (she uses Thesis), and get Akismet for spam management. Calls to action should be positioned clearly and above the fold (because you’re blogging for a reason). Include the RT button as well as Like/Share on every post.
- Several people who surfaced as a result of my at-large question suggested I feature Doug Stewart’s blogging tips for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and they are here. Doug tweets from Oklahoma. I just met Bruce Serven yesterday, and he recommends “perseverence” for any new blog or blogger.
- My new PR friend JodyKoehler from The Netherlands offers his number-one recommendation as great content –“that really crushes it!” and a good measurement tool as a close second. (I like that he’s always using “crushes.”)
- Michelle Quillin, a regular contributor here, took the question directly to heart and ran off to write a brand new blog post with her recommendations and five best practices for beginning bloggers. She said it was too much to fit into multiple 140s on Twitter. Love that, Michelle! If you tap in to her piece, she suggests images, make the ask, KISS, title, and keywords.
Because these are so valuable, and the content I find is also valuable on WordPress Beginner, I’m providing the links they gave me on Twitter for Recommended plugins for WordPress. Because these suggestions by WordPress Beginner are important, I’m sharing nearly the entire bulleted list right here, so everyone can link quicker. If you’d like to see more from these guys, I encourage you to follow them on Twitter and peruse their blog. These guys rock. (Hey, can you help me design my next blog?)
Must Have WordPress Plugins for Every Blog (extracted from WordPress Beginner, and they say “We recommend these plugins for any new blog or existing blog. There are more plugins that would need to be added based on the niche and your needs. But for any generic blog, this should be a good list to start with.”)
- Akismet – comes installed with your WordPress by default. All you have to do is get an API Key to activate it. It prevents your blog from comment spam. Read our Akismet 101 Guide for All WordPress Users.
- All-in-One SEO – This is an ultimate necessity for your blog if you want to have any chance of ranking high in search engines. All-in-One-SEO Pack allows you to add unique meta description, keywords, and titles to each page of your blog and blog posts. (User’s Guide for All in One SEO for the Recommended Settings and tips.)
- Contact Form 7 – When running a blog you need to allow your users to contact you. This is the best free contact form plugin to this date. It makes everything easy. (An alternative to this plugin is a paid plugin known as Gravity Forms which is extremely feature rich.)
- WordPress Database Backup – This plugin lets you make backup for your blog’s database as often as you need. You can set this process to be automated and have it deliver to your email or a safe spot in your webhost. By having this plugin, you can always stay on the safe side because if anything goes wrong, you have the latest backup in your possession. If you want to get a full backup of your WordPress site, then a commercial plugin known as Backup Buddy is the BEST option.
- Subscribe to Comments – A plugin that allows your users to subscribe to the comments, so they will be notified when the next comment is posted. It helps your user to stay updated with the discussion and keep the activity going on your blog.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU for everyone who contributed to this crazy “crush” of tips from peeps strictly on Twitter. I LOVE Twitter and all of you. What did we miss in this SMB Collective?