Blog Business Summit – Molly Holzschlag

3 minute read

Molly Holzschlag is the next speaker. Her talk title is: Building Traffic: Posting Isn’t Enough

15 years in IT, 10 years doing, speaking, teaching, training about web stuff.

Start with quick audience survey:

Q: How many came her from companies just looking to blog? About half. Q: How many already run corporate blogs? Pehaps 1/4th. Q: How many have a personal blog? About half. Q: How many have no clue? No one.

Is content king, or is it enough? No, you need to make sure that people find you and you need to interact.

Basic principle: A blog is updated regularly. Hourly, every day, even weekly. The critical issue is regular updating. But just blogging doesn’t mean that people are going to find you. Blog technology can help, using affordances built in to the software.

Define your goals, know specifically what you want to do with your blog, put your main idea in a few sentences. Make it succinct, it you can’t you are in trouble. You may be trying to be too many things to too many people. If a business, have a business plan. Clearly defined intent and complete idea of demographics, competitors.

Know your audience, get demographics from existing business data. Know your existing traffic stats. Have a plan, know who you are working with and for.

Know, then go. Choose best blogging tool (later session will cover this). Brand site and content thoroughly. Don’t rely on templates, hire a professional designer. Brand relationship is critical. Be sure that you are up to posting regularly, or your blog will die. Don’t do it unless you can commit to it. Letting it will look bad to your clients. Don’t jump in until you have done your research.

Q: What about doing a throwaway blog to get started? A: Fantastic idea, use it to experiment and to measure effectiveness.

Holy trinity: Comments, trackback / pingback, aggregation.

Comments Can be controversial, give it a lot of thought. Powerful way to build community very easily. Regular comments on topics will broaden your blogging scope (the “accidental blogger” effect). Easy with most blogging tools. Be aware of comment spam (Note: this is what I did). Don’t use them if you can’t moderate them or otherwise moderate spam.

Q: What about libel? A: Not an attorney, look back to company’s policies. See what recourse you have once you have opened the door.

Q: What about small new blogs that get no comments? Does it imply anything? A: Maybe you are not engaging your audience, session on this later today, be persuasive, don’t just post press releases, dialog with your community

Example of accidental blogging. A post of hers contained the phrase “racing frogs” and became the de facto location for discussion. Lesson: Get results by creating community. This is why spammers spam, in the absence of nofollow.

Trackback / Ping Blogs ping each other to spread the word around. Track posts, bring stuff to the masses. Most blog software does this by default. is a good place to ping, and it pings other places (including Syndic8). It will be used for other things in the future. In her blog she used WinAmp to create a blog sidebar; people would come back every minute to see what she was listening to.

Lots of Q&A about trackback and ping. Trackback spam could be the next thing. One issue is page rebuild time when a Movable Type blog gets lots of trackbacks. Use trackbacks to connect with and get attention from other like-minded people.

Content Aggregation & Feeds Old days of push technology, feeds are the new push, but they are here to stay. All professional blogs should offer feeds. Decide to publish excerpt or full article.

Vote: Excerpts or full posts. More people wanted full posts.

If you need people to come to your site, then do excerpts. If you want to spread the information, use full articles. Learn how to tease. Scoble: You have to be more persuasive to do excerpts, someone like Important point: Many influencers download content then read it offline, if you do excerpts you run the risk of alienating or missing out on attention from these folks. Most visited page on her site is her RSS feed. Categories help a lot, since some people follow just part of what she blogs about.

Optimize your blog for search engines, meta tags still important to web servers, but less so. Pick your titles well and create keyword-rich pages. Use friendly URLs, create lots of link love.