Three Tips for Creating a Successful Blog

Famed Google engineer Matt Cutts recently offered up five tips to help optimize your Web site.

I love when a person like Cutts gives these sorts of tips, because you no longer have to take my word for it, or any other SEO's word for it. This advice is coming straight from Google.

All the tips are great. Today, I'll focus on just one of the tips: "Create a blog and post often."

In the USA Today video, the interviewer says that many people know the more links you have, the higher you'll go in the search results. Technically, the quality of links is more important than the actual quantity. As Cutts said, "If authoritative sites link to you, you must be good, and therefore you get to the top of the list." But getting links is the general gist of it all.

One of the biggest things Cutts talks about is starting a blog. This advice is so great because when asked where to go to get links, he doesn't talk about directories, industry portals, or any link anywhere. He talks about a blog. He talks about creating content.

It is said that a good politician will answer the question he wished he were asked instead of the question he was really asked.

As SEMs, when someone asks us where to find links, we're compelled to answer that exact question. But Cutts cleverly answers the question he wished he were asked: "How does a site owner set up his site so people will want to link to it?"

This is setting up the cart and the horse in the right order. The horse is the content that drives the cart -- the links. People usually put the cart (the links), before the horse (the content). We do this because we futilely attempt to answer the question we were asked: "How do I get more links?"

In the spirit of tips, here are three tips for setting up a successful blog.

1. Host Your Blog on Your Own Site

If you already have a Web site, you want to have your blog live on your own domain. Something like: blog.yoursite.com or www.yoursite.com/blog.

A tool like Blogger will allow you to FTP your blog onto your site. Installing a tool like WordPress on your server will allow you to set up your blog anywhere on your domain. Both of these are free and great. The key here is to have the blog reside on your own domain.

Many blog tools will allow you to set up a blog on a different domain that you don't own. This makes moving to a new blog tool difficult. And all the links you get pointing to your blog give credit to the other domain.

2. Allow Comments

Businesses are often concerned about people commenting on their blog. However, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Comments give you more content on your site that you didn't have to create yourself. Plus, you position yourself as a company that is dedicated to listening to its customers. You also get feedback in ways that were never before possible. And you're helping control the social media message being formed by your customers.

3. Participate in Other Blogs

The quickest way to get others to know about your blog is to comment and be involved in other blogs within your industry. You often are able to make your name a link to your Web site when commenting on blogs. If you write thoughtful responses to a blog, you'll often find people coming to your site to read more of what you have to say.

Whether you're a small company, massive company, B2B or B2C, chances are that a blog could fit nicely within your Web site.

About the author

Sage Lewis started his online marketing company, SageRock.com, in 1999 during a time when most Internet companies were failing. SageRock, however, has thrived under Lewis’ direction -- growing an average of 30% every year, while also being recognized as one of the top ten search engine optimization firms in the U.S. by a third-party resource in the industry, Marketing Sherpa.

Regarded as a web marketing expert, Lewis speaks regularly to business organizations like NEOSA and COSE, serves as a resource for press about industry trends, and teaches a recurring class on search engine optimization at Cleveland State University.

Lewis has created a unique company culture that values the individual employee and client, and he has built SageRock around one principle, “The concern, respect and empathy for the individual people we come in contact with at SageRock is our single core value.”

Lewis lives in Akron with his wife, Rocky, and son, Indiana.

Read more of Sage Lewis's columns at ClickZ.