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How To: Capitalize on Your Blog

Has your blog reached its greatest potential? 

Your blog can boost traffic to your website, create demand for your products and services, and position your business as a credible resource for information. If you’re not utilizing your blog properly, you’re missing out on awesome opportunities!

Watch this week’s Hard Facts to learn about some things you should know before hitting the publish button on your blog that will drastically effect its reach and performance.

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Benefits of Blogging


There are many components that make up a successful digital marketing campaign. Website functionality, digital advertising, SEO, and social media are all major factors, but one piece of the digital marketing puzzle that is too often overlooked is blogging. Although many dealerships believe they do not need to blog, blogging has many benefits. 

First, it can be used as a marketing tool to attract new customers. When potential car buyers go online to browse, some of their keywords may be contained within your dealership's blog, which will lead them to your website.

Additionally, a blog can become the face of your dealership. Your blog can be the first look buyers get of business. Car shoppers may come across some of your original content online and decide to contact the dealership and learn more. 

Finally, a blog has the ability to establish employees as experts in the industry. A blog is the perfect space to showcase your employees' talents and areas of expertise. If shoppers are able to come to your blog and get answers to their questions, they will gain trust and confidence in your dealership and the capabilities of your employees. 

Although a blog may not seem like a vital part of a digital marketing plan, it is a great marketing tool with a vast amount of benefits. 

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How to Create Compelling Content for ANY Topic

When it comes to content marketing, there are topics that are thought of as easy to promote and others that are harder to promote. Smartphones are an example of a topic that might be thought of as easy to promote while pest control is on the harder end of the spectrum.

So if you're forced to work on a topic deemed difficult, or one where there aren't many examples to build upon or inspiration to be had, how do you deal with it?

Well, you have to get creative. Those who can take a "tough" or "boring" topic and make it interesting will be able to take that experience and be even better at creating content for popular and easy topics down the road.

To get started, you just have to ask yourself one simple question:

How Can I Make This Fun and Interesting?

If you've already been sitting at your computer asking yourself, "How can I create fun and interesting content that promotes pest control?" and come up with nothing, you may not be digging deep enough for ideas.

Oftentimes, we get stuck doing things a certain way, which prevents us from seeing the answers right in front of us. For content writers, this generally means getting out of your comfort zone of simple ideas and looking for ways to make something completely different.

Here are three simple steps to making that happen:

  • Find a way to connect people to your topic
  • Use current events/popular culture to create a fun angle
  • Utilize images and video

Finding Ways to Connect People to Your Topic


The success of your content boils down to how you're able to connect your audience with the topic at hand. It doesn't matter how big your budget is or how popular the topic; if you can't bridge a connection that compels your audience to share or any kind of action, you've failed.

Thinking about pest control, it's actually not hard to get people to connect to it. It's likely everyone has dealt with some kind of bug or rodent problem in their home in the past, so we can all relate to the need for pest control.

But our content doesn't need to actually promote pest control directly, it simply has to relate to it. With that in mind, you could create a list called The 10 Scariest Bugs You Wouldn't Want to Find in Your Home.

With pictures, detailed descriptions, origins, and other information, you can create something people will want to share.

When trying to connect your audience with your topic, think long and hard about this example and how you can apply it to your own work.

Using Current Events or Popular Culture to Create Fun Angles

Current events and popular culture always strike a cord with people. If you can utilize them to get your message across, you'll have a better shot at drawing people in with your content.

Sticking with our pest control example, what would be a simple way to connect something from popular culture with our "boring" topic?

Well, superheroes are now ingrained in our popular culture, so  that's a good place to start. You could have fun with an article called How Batman Deals With Rodents in Wayne Manor.

As an exercise, try to come up with a similar example and then execute it. Share it on as many sites as possible, reach out to blogs that link to offbeat content, and put some promotional dollars behind it on sites like Facebook and StumbleUpon.

Use Images and Video to Make Your Content More Compelling


Images and video are extremely powerful tools in your fight for compelling content. They keep people engaged, supplement your written content, and help increase a visitor's time on your site.

When creating content like how-tos and lists, be sure each item has a dedicated image. These not only help break up content for better reading, but will make your content more enjoyable overall.

Videos also help break up content, but their main purpose is to help you explain something in a more visual and interesting way than just written text.

For instance, The 10 Scariest Bugs You Wouldn't Want to Find in Your Home post we talked about in the first section could become even better with videos to supplement your pictures, descriptions, and other information.

Take a look at how you're creating content today and look for ways to better incorporate images and video.

Final Note: Work on Improving Quality, Not Producing More and More Content


One of the biggest problems with content today is that there's just so much of it out there. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to stop thinking about producing more content and think about improving the quality instead.

This has been said time and time again, so I realize you might think that statement is worthless. Hear me out with this one simple tip: Put more time into your content. If you're just producing content to see what sticks, how are you supposed to add value to your users' experience?

Instead of thinking about ways you can cut corners to do more, start thinking about ways you can add more value to your content. If this means talking with your boss or client about a revised strategy, create a proposal and schedule a meeting to discuss it.

With as much competition as there is online, the only way you're going to stand out is by constantly out doing them with high quality content.

This post was originally published on Wikimotive's company blog.

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How to Build a Blog Audience from the Ground Up

While a blog is a great place to talk about your business and build valuable search engine authority, it can also help you gain a loyal following of customers and admirers that will help you see steady growth for a long time to come.

A blog builds trust with customers, allowing people to better connect with your business. That does not come overnight, and may not come at all, but there's a formula for successful blogging that can help you tackle this new, powerful type of marketing.

One example of a business that embraces blogging and content marketing is Moz (formerly SEOMoz). The software company has no sales staff, puts an extreme emphasis on content and community, and provides truly in-depth industry reports for free. Through all of that, they've built a huge following and have been able to consistently grow Moz as a business because of it.

Sure, Moz has always been a unique company, but there's nothing stopping your business from following in their footsteps.

Want in on their secret formula? Keep reading.

Be Honest and Helpful

When a lot of businesses start blogging, they seem to think that means they need to literally blog about their business. The problem there? Nobody cares about what's going on with your business unless you're one of the world's largest companies or you give them good reason to care. I don't say that to be mean, but it's an absolute truth.

So how do you get people to care about your business? Be selfless.

Give out information like candy on Halloween. But instead of giving out crap from an assorted bag like all of the other houses, give out full-size candy. I bet you'd remember who gave you that and immediately forget about the crap givers, right?

It's the same way with content. We visit sites like Moz, QuickSprout, Buffer, and CopyBlogger because we can count on their content being honest and helpful. In case you weren't following the analogy, those sites give out full-size candy.

Create a Schedule and Stick to It

If you're going to blog, you need to do it regularly. If you let your audience know when you'll have new content (whether directly or indirectly), there's a greater chance that they'll become return visitors.

The only thing you have to do is hold up your end of the bargain and more and more readers will return each time you create new content.

And you don't have to post every single day to be successful, but you do need to deliver great content. When creating your posting schedule, think of how long you need to craft those great posts so you don't feel rushed or overworked.

Create Regular Features/Columns

An easy way to start your blog off on the right foot is to create regular features or columns to encourage readers to come back for similar stories. Moz's Whiteboard Friday is a great example of this, and provides Moz with tons of consistent traffic, links (like the one here), and general buzz about their digital marketing knowledge.

Think of a way you could implement a regular feature into your blog while providing entertainment for your readers. You can always change it up as you and your business evolve; the key is to get started!

Be Extremely Active on Social Media

On both your personal and business accounts, it's important to be extremely active when you're trying to grow your blog's audience. Follow and connect with influential bloggers, be a cool source for industry news, and give people a reason to follow your business.

It's also important to note that you can buy exposure on social media to help throw these efforts into overdrive. With ads that can target only the type of consumer you want to attract, allocating some of your online ad spend to social media is an extremely effective method to grow your business's blog.

Conclusion

The goal for your business's blog is to attract people that will allow you to market to them. By providing them with something of value for their clicks and time, they'll give you permission to be a business without running for the hills.

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It's not for everyone. Some people just don't like to hear their voices played on audio or video. I know. I used to be one of them.

If you can get over that fear and if you want to get your YouTube channel some watches while helping to get your content seen and heard, it's a quick and easy way to kill a couple of birds with a single stone. The concept is pretty simple. Write a blog post, then read it off while recording a video. Attach the video to the story and now you have an easy way for people to either read your blog post or watch it.

Perhaps more importantly, it takes the art of writing and allows you to get creative in the fastest growing medium. Remember, everything is going mobile. While it can be annoying trying to read a blog post on a smartphone, listening to it on YouTube is often much easier. If you get good at recording the audio from the posts and applying it to either a visual of yourself reading it, a slideshow, a scrolling transcript, or other images that are pertinent to the video itself, you can make for an alternative experience for your content.

Some people are readers. Others are listening. There's even a few people that like to do both. I tend to listen to a video or podcast playing in the background while reading something else. Here's an example:

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Audience

When it comes to social media advice, the majority of the common catch phrases are there for a reason. Tips like “be engaging” and “communicate, don’t broadcast” are sound pieces of advice despite the annoying frequency that they’re used by gurus. There’s one common tip that is more than just annoying. In many ways, it’s actually wrong.

“Know your audience” is a mantra, a driving force behind many blog posts and help videos. For those building blogs or social networks for the sake of having a nice hobby or making money through traffic-based advertising, it’s good advice. For businesses using a blog and social networks to increase sales of their products or services, it’s the type of advice that can send people in the wrong direction. Unless you’re making money directly from your blog, you shouldn’t attempt to know your audience.

Instead, you need to know your customers and potential customers. The current audience is irrelevant.

Catering content to fit in with the current audience will appease them. It will make them more likely to share your content. It will get more interactions and engagement. These are all good things. However, catering content to fit in with them does not help grow your business. Sure, some of the people in your audience might be current or future customers, but unless they’re the majority, the opinions of your audience don’t really matter.

This all stems from a conversation I had yesterday with a client. She has an automotive blog that has accumulated a nice following because of the content that she was posting. It was fun content that included memes of people parking like idiots, stunts, and beautiful pictures of hot rods. The audience loved it. The problem is that the audience wasn’t buying cars from her. They were spread across the world. There was nothing local and only an occasional post about the brand itself.

If you’re blogging for SEO reasons only, then this isn’t a bad idea. The problem is that having one domain linking to your single website isn’t going to give you much SEO juice. The effort is wasted. Your company blog should not be used for SEO reasons to drive links to your website because if you only have one website and one blog linking to it constantly, the effects are minimal.

Your blog should be geared towards building amazing content that your customers and potential customers can enjoy. It should be relevant to them and them alone. It’s nice to reach thousands of people with your general interest blog posts, but it doesn’t drive business. You should be focusing on getting content up that 100 local potential customers will find interesting rather than 10,000 people spread across the world. That general content might draw more overall traffic, but it’s not driving business-relevant traffic. More importantly, it’s not making an impact on the locals that actually are visiting your blog, at least not as much as if you were posting content that they could associate with because of the local nature of it.

Having a large audience is a blessing, but having a good localized audience can help your brand and increase business. That should be your focus.

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Business Blog Post Ideas and Planning

Idea

In business, there is no such thing as writer’s block. It doesn’t exist. Erase the phrase from your mind. You see, in any business, there are so many potential stories to be told that one should never run out of them even if they’re blogging daily. More importantly, this isn’t like writing a novel. It’s not professional journalism. You’re not writing a column. On a business blog, you have the freedom to pull from the ultimate content resource – the internet.

What most perceive as writer’s block in the world of business blogging is actually the brain’s way of saying that you don’t want to write at this moment. Get over it.

With that all out of the way, it’s time to look at some different types of blog posts that can be categorized into a proper plan. This plan can be an editorial calendar, a series of reminders in Outlook, or a notepad on your desk where you jot down your ideas. We’ll get into planning in a moment, but first let’s look at some of the ideas themselves.

 

Blog Post Ideas

This is a difficult topic to write about because no matter how much time and effort is put into it, the end result cannot be complete. The idea potentials are infinite. These are just some blog post types that can help you to get into the proper frame of mind when deciding about which topics to blog.

We’ll use my favorite topic, automotive, to flesh out the concepts:

  • Industry News – As a business, you have the inside track to write about things that others want to know. You’re the expert. A car dealer can write about what’s happening to their brand, new vehicles that are coming out, recalls, races, or anything that is topical today. Here’s an example of an industry news post.
  • Image Posts – These are often the easiest to put together because of two sources of content: what’s happening at the store right now and the internet. A Dodge dealer should have plenty of Dodge Chargers on the lot that can be positioned in various ways. They also have hundreds of worthy images of Dodge Chargers, old and new, on the internet. Keep in mind, if you’re taking images from other sites, make sure they’re receiving attribution. Here’s an example of an image post.
  • Video Posts – As with image posts, most of the heavy lifting is done for you with video posts. You don’t have to a ton of investigating or write a 1500 word article to frame the video into a perspective. You want to write something, even if it’s only a paragraph or two describing the video and what it means to your industry, but it doesn’t have to be much. Let the video do the talking. Here’s an example of a video post.
  • Activity in the Community Posts – Your business is likely involved in the community somehow. It can be a sponsorship of the local little league team. It could be something more significant. Talk about it. There’s nothing wrong with “bragging” if the intention is to highlight the source itself. Here’s an example of a community activity post.
  • Infographic Posts – The internet is a visual experience. There are so many amazing infographics available to us that there’s really no reason not to use them. Make sure the data is accurate, of course, as you’re posting it on your website or blog, and definitely make sure to give attribution (it’s the reason that businesses make infographics in the first place) but don’t be shy about it, either. Here’s an example of an infographic post.
  • Upcoming Product Posts – You know about new things coming down the road before your customers. Expose things to them through your site or blog. This is actually a no-brainer but so few take advantage of it. Here’s an example of an upcoming product post.

Again, this barely scratches the surface.

 

Planning

There really isn’t enough to say about planning to make it deserve its own section in this blog post, but it’s so important that we’re separating it out anyway. Make a plan. There are some great editorial calendar addons to WordPress and other blogging platforms that work nicely. Unless you’re blogging all the time, multiple times per week, these may not be necessary. It could be as easy as posting your ideas as tasks or calendar events in Outlook or whatever calendar software you use.

Me? I have a notepad. If it weren’t for that, I’d probably lose my ability to write with my hands because it’s the only time I ever use pen and paper other than to sign things. It’s archaic, messy, and less organized than the digital counterparts, but for me, it works. Whatever works best for you to keep you adding content to your blog or website on a regular basis is the right way for you to make your plan.

What are you waiting for? Start coming up with ideas, organize them into a plan, and get words onto your blog.

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Take Your Expertise to the Guest Posting Circuit

Blog Plan

By now, if you've been reading what I've been posting the last few months, you know that content marketing is the key to current and future search and social success. Businesses who really want to do what sites like Google and Facebook really want them to do will be using high-quality content on their websites as the hub through which they can make their marketing blossom.

This should by no means be interpreted that activities such as link-earning and social signals are not useful. In fact, the core of true content marketing to drive higher search results and stronger social interactions is still based around earning links and generating social engagement. It's for this reason that guest posting is a practice that should be considered if you want to get into more advanced techniques.

First, you have to be able to put high-quality content on your website and/or blog. Guest posting does not replace this. If you are having trouble finding the time to keep your own site active and growing, guest posting is something that you should consider. If you're doing well with your website and/or blog, then guest posting can generate exposure, earn links, and even send direct traffic to your website. As with all things in 2013, it all comes down to quality. I say it a lot, but it cannot be overstated.

 

Write What You Know


This is simple but it's also important enough to mention here. If you're running the marketing for a car dealership, write about cars. Write about the local area. Write about cars in the local area.

The biggest challenge is that we're often so immersed in "what we know" that we have a hard time identifying what can be interesting enough to get picked up by other blogs or websites. Sometimes the easiest way to fix this issue is to be mindful of what you learn about your industry. Fresh knowledge to you in your industry is likely brand new to others, so identifying "on the fly" can make it easier to find topics.

The second biggest challenge is that we tend to write in some pitching or marketing into our guest posts. At no point should you try to work in your credentials, products, or services into guest posts. You won't be accepted as easily if you do. The value that you receive from guest posting is in the links and the establishment of authority within the industry. Teach and/or entertain with your post, then link to your website either in context (we'll discuss that further later) or at the very least within the author's bio box.

 

Use Content on Your Website as a Resource


Some blogs and websites won't allow it, but whenever possible you should try to link to an article or piece of content that you've already placed on your own website or blog. Let's say you write an article about preparing an older vehicle for long trips. You can post an article first on your own website about summer maintenance tips, then include a link to it within the context of your guest post. Make sure it's natural and truly fits in.

In the above example, you might have somewhere in the body of your guest post a paragraph like this:

One of the most common times when we go on longer trips is for summer vacations. There are [summer maintenance activities](link) that you can do prior to the trip that can handle much of the preparation you'll need to do before heading to the beach.

As long as the piece you're linking to is informative and not pitchy, most will allow it to fly. One important portion of last year's Penguin update for Google was to devalue footer and resource box links while increasing the value of contextual links. If you can get those contextual links, your guest post will be much more effective, but that doesn't mean that you should bypass guest posting if your target publication only allows resource box links. Both help.

 

Find the Right Venues


This is the hardest thing to start and the easiest to finish. Once you see your content posted somewhere, it becomes much easier to push forward.

You may think that the only place you'll be able to post is something that is hyper-targeted to your industry. This isn't true. In fact, it's sometimes easier to get a guest post in related industries rather than your specific industry because they likely already have experts in your industry. In other words, a car blog has plenty of car bloggers, so they might not need your car content, but a tech blog who has a bunch of tech bloggers might be interested in seeing interesting technology posts about cars. I know, as I accepted a guest post at our tech blog that was about automotive technology just the other day.

Local news publications are also good targets. They like local writers and with a strong series of content you can even get a regular posting spot. This is good, especially for branding in the local area, but don't get stuck on one site. The more places you can guest post, the better.

* * *

Again, this is not a replacement for putting quality content on your own site. It's an enhancement if you're already putting the content there. Your goal in modern marketing is to use high-quality content to get exposure, links, social shares, and traffic. Guest posting is a tool that should be in your arsenal. Here's a video from last year from Google's Matt Cutts. Notice the importance of quality. Like I said, it can't be stated enough.

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Using Google+ as a Lite Business Blogging Platform



Facebook has the market cornered on true social networking. Twitter is the news source. YouTube owns videos. Google+, the network that's growing huge but still having challenges communicating its identity, has one major advantage over all of the other social networks: size of posts.

It's possible to format and utilize Google+ as a lite blogging platform. This is not necessarily a good replacement for those who already have a valid and active business blog, but those who are getting started or who never been able to generate real traction to their blog can take advantage of some of the things that Google+ does well.

Here are some of the advantages:

* Formatting - While it's not nearly the type of formatting that is available on true blogging platforms like Wordpress or Tumblr there's enough formatting options on Google+ to make it work. Again, this is only good as a lite version.

* Length - The constraints present on other social networks are looser on Google+. Sure, you can use hacks to plug in a blog on Facebook and there are tools available to fake a blog through Twitter, but posting directly to the feed is only possible from a length perspective on Google+.

* Instant Rankings - While I haven't tested beyond my own accounts, I know that Google+ posts tend to rank extremely quickly and very high for good keywords, particularly for those who follow me. Even unauthenticated web searches present Google+ posts.

* Tie-In to Google Local - The local components of Google through search and directed from other locations are generating more and more traffic. Reviews, maps, information - all of these give people reasons to visit a Google account for a business. Once there, people are often unable to find anything interesting on the pages because of how infrequently most post to their Google+ page accounts. By making it a lite blog, this can change.

The disadvantages are numerous, of course. Links, images, videos - pick one. Unfortunately, you cannot mix and match different media types. You also can't put them in-line the way you can on real blogging platforms. Unless you are one of the lucky ones with a vanity URL, it's not easy to get people to your G+ page without using a custom short link.

At this point, anything that can get businesses communicating more robustly with their customers and potential customers is a good thing. It's not that I would prefer that people use Google+ for blogging over Wordpress, Blogger, or any of the true blogging platforms, but if it's convenient enough to make businesses act, then it's worth describing in a blog post.

I guess that's what I just did.

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There are times when you're going to post a piece of content that is too good to post in just one place. It could be extremely informative, very timely, majorly entertaining, or perhaps you just really liked it and want to post it in other places. There are times when you can syndicate the content, but when it's your own site, you'll want to "reblog" it.

This is different from syndicating. If you have places where you can post and it makes sense to let the original content stand on its own, then simply copying, pasting, and reformatting is just fine. There are three instances when you won't want to do this:

  1. If you're posting on another one of your own sites where you control all of the content, reblogging can give you a reason for your visitors to one site to explore your other site.

  2. If you're posting on one of your domains that is not "aged and weathered" - in other words, it's either a newer domain or does not index very well in the search engines - then reblogging like this will allow you to make sure the content is unique without having to start from scratch on the same topic.

  3. If you have a topic that is extremely important and deserves more than one article to highlight it, reblogging is a fast way to write one long-form piece of content and then support it with other websites.

By reblogging, you'll want to do what is posted in the image above. We took a piece of content about Facebook pictures that we posted on Dealer Bar, then reblogged it onto the KPA Internet Marketing Blog. The original story showed five types of Facebook customer picture posts. The reblog focused on the reasons this is important. We put out three short paragraphs of original content, took an important excerpt from the original, and linked to it.

The easiest way to understand it is to start from the reblog and then follow it to the original post. You'll be able to get more mileage out of your content without having to come up with as many fresh ideas. You'll also be exposing your content to different sets of readers. It's a win-win.

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The Truth About Blog Post Tags

Let there be absolutely, positively no mistake here. "Tags" have completely different uses depending on the platform on which they're used. We're going to take a look at three of the most popular platforms and how tags affect them: Wordpress, Ning, and Tumblr.

 

Before we dive into each, let's get one thing out of the way. Those who say that tags are old and no longer useful are simply being lazy and encouraging the same. It takes less than 30 seconds to come up with a handful of appropriate tags to go along with any blog post and therefore it falls under the category of "why not?" Nobody outside of Mountain View, CA, knows for certain how tags benefit search engine optimization. They do, however, definitely have an opportunity to benefit the reader. It's a best practice that is getting pushed aside by many. Don't fall into the laziness trap. Tag away!

 

Tags for Wordpress

Depending on how you have your site indexing set up in the back end, tags allow search engines to find similar articles. The two major types of taxonomy, tags and categories, are intended to help people navigate a blog. As a result, Google and Bing will follow tags and categories in order to see what level of understanding a blog has on each individual topic.

 

The tag pages themselves, once visited, will give the search engines a depth-of-content picture. For example, if you have a blog for a Nissan dealership that often uses the tag "Altima", the search engines will be able to see that you have written a good amount of content on the topic. Many would argue that they know this already and that semantic indexing is designed in part to replace tagging as a method of establishing authority, but again, "why not?" It definitely doesn't hurt to tag. It probably helps on Wordpress, even if only a little. There's not reason to skip the few seconds it takes to add them.

 

Tags for Ning

On the Ning social platform, tags work in ways similar to Wordpress, but with an added bonus. Blog posts on Ning do not have categories the way that discussions do. As a result, tags become the primary taxonomy that search engines and readers use to navigate a site when they want to see similar articles.

 

Some have also speculated that there is a direct SEO value to the individual post, that the search engines look at tags very similar to how they look at highlighted content and will give a post a lift in the rankings as a result. This is unconfirmed and I've never tested it myself, but I would speculate that it is true.

 

Tags for Tumblr

This is an entirely different ballgame. On Tumblr, tags are everything. The community lives off of tags in a way that is similar to hashtags on Twitter, but there are certain ones that are eternally "trending", so to speak.

 

Tags are Tumblr users' primary method of discovery. Tumblr has devalued them a bit in recent months and focused on "Spotlight" that highlights individually influential tumblogs rather than the community-rich "Explore" page that lets people surf tags, but they're still extremely important and can help a new tumblog get found by the community. Getting found on Tumblr is the key to both social exposure and search; reblogs by other Tumblr users are extremely important and can mean the difference between having an invisible tumblog and having an extremely popular one.

 

Tags for Humans

At the end of the day, the real benefit of tags should be for the readers. Google and Bing may or may not pay attention to them, but allowing your blog visitors to latch onto a particular topic and follow it all the way through is a way to make your blog stickier.

Again, it takes second. Why not?

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Wordpress vs Tumblr for Your Dealership Blog

There will be complaints. I can already smell the onslaught of, "what about Blogger" and "Typepad is much more powerful". There will be others that say, "but Tumblr's not really a blogging platform". Let's put all of that to rest quickly...

 

For business blogs, Wordpress and Tumblr are the best options out there. I'd add "in my humble opinion" but that would detract from the absolute force of my opinion.

 

Google's Blogger has made some amazing changes recently and I would not argue against it as a decent platform, but it lacks the plugin compatibility of Wordpress and isn't quite as easy to use as Tumblr, so it doesn't fit into this particular argument. We're going to focus on the two extremes - those who want the most powerful and those who want the easiest. Keep in mind, today's blogging platforms are all easy to some extent as well as powerful. The most important criteria is access and comfort. In other words, if you're doing well and posting consistently with Typepad, for example, don't go changing because some guy says Wordpress is more powerful or Tumblr is easier. If it works with you, keep at it.

 

Wordpress is Powerful

For those who want the most gadgets, plugins, and flexibility, Wordpress is the hands down winner for business blogging. It can act as a full-blown content management system for those who know how to use it, or it can stay true to its original calling and act as the premier blogging platform. There are so many themes available and dozens more being created every week. Perhaps most importantly, its PHP base allows it to works seamlessly with modern concepts such as adaptive website design and HTML5.

 

If your goal is to be a "power blogger" and post regularly, Wordpress is ideal. It isn't hard but there is definitely a learning curve associated with it. One does not simply start blogging out of the gate with Wordpress. Here are some of the benefits of using it, particularly as a self-hosted installation rather than by adding a free blog on Wordpress.com:

  • It has massive collection of plugins. The only bad part is that one must be careful not to install too many as it can slow down the site and bloat the code.
  • With caching, Wordpress is practically indestructible. You could hit the front page of Yahoo with a story and still stay online with a decent host and the stories cached.
  • Google and Bing love the code. Between the instant pings once a post is published to the clean way that the code presents itself to the search engines, those who want to rank with their blog posts must use Wordpress. It ranks better than Blogger, a Google property.
  • Decent access to social media through the right tools makes it one notch below Tumblr when it comes to true social media integration.

Tumblr is Easy

Don't get me wrong. Tumblr does have some robust features that allows it to be a strong platform for even the most active power bloggers, but that's not the reason that you use it. It's possible to post as quickly as you can type (or copy and paste in the case of image or video posts). The platform makes it super-easy to instantly format. For example, Wordpress out-of-the-box requires the embed code plugged into the HTML to present a video. You have to know the dimensions of your blog and use the old embed code from YouTube. Tumblr, on the other hand, only needs the URL. It auto-formats it to the right size - no embed code needed.

 

If you are more concerned about the ability to get content posted easily and quickly and less concerned about whether it's perfectly formatted, Tumblr is the right platform for your business. Here are some of the benefits:

  • A strong built-in community allows for instant visitors to your site through proper tagging.
  • Reblogging makes posting content easier than even posting the unique content. Unlike Wordpress, Tumblr actually encourages reblogging and tracks it for the source.
  • Direct integration with Facebook and Twitter is native to Tumblr; there are Wordpress plugins available, but native is always better for integration.
  • There is nothing wrong with using a subdomain on Tumblr.com. It's just as robust as putting it on your own domain, whereas Wordpress.com is a symbol of weakness.

Again, and I cannot stress this enough, all of the major blogging platforms are powerful and easy. You can do a ton with Tumblr and you can post quickly to Wordpress. It really comes down to preference and what feels right for you. Whatever it takes to get you excited and active as a blogger for your business - that's the right platform with which to go.
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Does your dealership have its own blog? If your answer is no, then, I suggest you keep reading.....

The Importance of Blogging:Generation of Leads and Traffic

If you're reading this and your dealership does NOT have its own blog, consider this:

-B2C companies that blog get 88% more leads per month than those that don't

-Overall, companies that blog have 55% more website visitors

(Source: An Introduction to Business Blogging by Hubspot)

How Often Should You Blog

As evident in those statistics above, a blog can increase your website traffic, as well as your leads. However, it's not as simple as just creating a WordPress account or logging into Blogspot. A blog, just like social media, has to be kept up, maintained. In fact, companies that blog at least twenty times or more a month, see a SUBSTANTIAL increase in website traffic and leads. This is just one of the many benefits of having a blog. It gives you another avenue of customers to explore and reach. It helps to amplify your voice online for your dealership.

For your blog to be effective and useful, you must blog at least four/five times a week, or in between 16-20 times a month. There's no point in setting up your blog if you're only touching it every few weeks. That's what they call wasted real estate! The more you blog, the more likely you'll see an increase in your dealership's visibility online, and this is where SEO comes into play.

Blogging and SEO

All right, so you're blogging full-time and you should be showing up on the first page of Google in no time, right? Not so fast. With each post you create, there should be optimization taking place. You need to be do some research when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You need to know the keywords your customers are using when they head to Google to do research. Once you begin blogging more frequently and using the appropriate and industry-relative keywords in your posts (Optimizing), your online visibility will increase. 

The benefits are obvious. You'll see a bump in website traffic. You'll receive more leads. You'll become a trust named and dealership online your customers can trust, and therefore, someone they could recommend to their friends and family.

If your dealership doesn't have a blog, why not?

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