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You can pat yourself on the back if you’re one of the thousands of small business professionals that have set up a blog to communicate with your potential clients. Or, maybe you haven’t started your business blog yet, but intend to. Take note now so you can avoid some of the consequences of do-it-yourself blogging.
You’ve heard all the hype, listened to a few podcasts and teleseminars, and finally sorted out for yourself how blogging can really work for your targeted niche of readers and potential clients.  You’ve set up your business blog.
Now, you may be asking yourself, "If I’m so smart at my business, why do I have a dumb do-nothing blog?"
Here are a few of the pitfalls of creating your blog without any guidance from blogging experts:
1. You don’t know how to use your blogging software, yet you expect to look like an expert and build credibility. How could you know? Blogs haven’t been around that long, and the blogging software is continually being upgraded. You need to learn how to use your blog features that increase your findability on the Internet and readership. For example, you need to regularly use trackback, pinging, and permalinks features.
2. You are writing in a vacuum, without knowing what questions your clients want answered. You haven’t done any keyword research, or asked your current clients what they’d like to read. Even worse, you under the impression that a blog should be like an online diary. You are writing about your personal life and details, detracting from the on-target, focused purpose of your blog as a business building tool.
3. You haven’t researched other blogs in your field, or spent any time on them, leaving comments. You need to get out there and raise your hand in the blogosphere, so people will know you’re there. You also need to know what’s going on in your field.
4. You haven’t put a subscription form on your blog, and you don’t understand the whole RSS feed thingy. Your readers can’t find you or know when you have updated your blog.
5. You haven’t put any images on your blog and your blog doesn’t look as neat and tidy as your business is. It doesn’t reflect your business image or brand.
6. You haven’t put any content-appropriate ads on your blog, that don’t distract from your own products. Your blog has a non-professional, non-business look and feel to it.
7. You haven’t used categories for your blog posts and your readers are confused about wide-ranging subjects you write about. What is your core message? What is the focus of your blog? And important question you must answer for your readers: What’s in your blog for them?
8. You haven’t written anything for a month. When you’ve got a blog that has lack-luster traffic, your enthusiasm for writing begins to wane. Why bother posting, if no one is reading your words of wisdom? Then your blog slips even further, and begins to look like a ghost town. Worse, it’s still up on the Web, and people will find you and decide you maybe don’t care, went out of business, or changed your mind.
Here’s what is promised by having a blog:
– Search engines will find you better – website traffic galore
– Instant credibility in your area of expertise
– A way to communicate with people interested in your field
– Dialogue through comments with potential clients
– Increased sales of your products, whether tangible goods, informational products, or services
How could you possibly know the most effective blogging strategies and tactics without learning and guidance by experts? Sure, blogs are for everyone and the software makes it easy and cheap for anyone to start a blog.
But a professional business blog that drives traffic and gets clients must be optimized correctly and treated as a valuable marketing strategy.
Here are some solutions:
1. Study the professional business blogs in the blogosphere and model their strategies.
2. Buy an ebook on how to set up and optimize a professional business blog
3. Take an advanced course in blogging (not one that just tells you how to get a free account and set it up, but one to explain how to optimize for business.)
4. Hire a team of professional blog experts to coach you in using your blog for your business.
5. Hire a business blog consultant team to help you tweak your blog, or do an extreme makeover
6. Delete your blog and start all over again
Blogs are an effective and powerful marketing tool for businesses of all sizes and types.  Like any tool, though, you need to know how to use it correctly to maximize your results.

This Business article was written by Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D. and Denise Wakeman on 2/2/2006

As the The Blog Squad, Patsi Krakoff and Denise Wakeman have teamed up to work with professionals to maximize their marketing strategies by implementing blogs, ezines and ecommerce tactics. They have co-authored “”Build a Better Blog: The Ultimate Guide for Boosting Your Business with a Professional Blog””,”” Confessions of a Reluctant Blogger: From Boring to Brilliant in 30 Days”” and “”Secrets of Successful Ezines: A Guide to Writing and Publishing an Ezine that Gets Results.”” Take The Blog Squad’s free assessment to find out if you’re ready for a business blog: