Website not working? Blogging could be the answer.

You should think about your website like a plant, which needs regular attention to grow. If you leave it alone it will not grow, but others (websites!) around it will and you will get left in the dark.

Forget about your meta keywords and descriptions for now; these are still important, but what will make your website stand out is content and links. But, they must be the right content and links. In fact, great content and links!

Content and links are regarded as the best methods to get a website higher up the search engines. I have been recently working with a dancewear retail outlet with a website so I will use this as an example.

The first thing the dancewear shop needs to do is determine the keywords they wish to target. In this case they have done some research and found that the majority of their clients use the keywords “dancewear” and a geographical area. In other words, their customers type “dancewear Preston”, “dancewear in Preston”, “dancewear Lancaster”, “Northwest dance shops”, “dance shops in the Northwest”.

The next thing the dancewear outlet needs is a person in the company who can write dancewear related articles on topics such as, “dance classes in Preston”, “reviews on dancewear”, “what to look for in a dance teacher in Lancaster”, “local dance events in Preston”, “What would you like to see in our Preston shop?” etc. They would only need to write a little, but would need to do at least one per week.

This is the best way to get the right sort of content; can you see why? Each of these articles are searchable on the internet, due to their keyworded content. So, potential customers typing "dance classes Preston" might come across their article "A guide to dance classes Preston". They will then know about the shop and will hopefully buy something from them.

This is called “business blogging” and it's one of the best ways to get up the search engines. Quick fixes are not the answer and in the long run, if done correctly, should pay off. A business blog will also help the shop get links (another important factor in climbing the search engines). e.g. if you write about dance classes in Preston, some one might read your article and put a link to it on a forum, facebook account or their own website. As your blogs grow so will your links; see how it works? Their readers will be able to comment on their blog articles, which will produce even more content (remember you have control on what comments you allow).

The other advantage of the blog is that it makes you look like an expert to clients reading the blog. They may think "these guys know what they are talking about, I'll buy my dancewear from them"

What I recommend is you use a free program called “Wordpress.org” (this is the best blogging software), and have a link in your navigation bar called "blog". You can try WordPress for free at www.wordpress.com to see if it is suitable for you. If you feel that you are able to use it, then you can either install wordpress.org (the better version) yourself or instruct your web designer to do it for you. It will probably cost no more than £100.

Once installed, you will then design the blog to look like your website (it will not look exactly the same). ] Have a play with wordpress.com to see if this is suitable for you, there’s lots of help on the internet.

Once you feel competent with wordpress.org, you will be able to do all sort of cool stuff like a video walkthrough of the shop, events calendar, newsletters, advertising space for other companies such as dance classes, and all these programs are free.

My advice is, have a go at www.wordpress.com first and see if it’s something for you. If you enjoy blogging you can easily upgrade to www.wordpress.org and still retain all the articles you have written. Thanks to Catalyst Design Centre for support when writting this article

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