This is a guest post by Sarah Haydu, Digital Marketing Associate for CityVoter. CityVoter runs “best of” contests across the country where people vote online for their favorite local businesses and tell what makes their city special. You can check out their contests on the CityVoter website and get tips for small businesses on the CityVoter blog.

Blogs are a great tool to help your business develop a brand and create added value for your customers, but when done wrong the effort you put in does not grant the output that you would like to see. With so many tips on how best to blog out there, sometimes it is easier to know what not to do, and what doesn’t work, to find out what is best for your business.

1. Don’t decide you’re creating a blog and jump in head first.

While it’s great that you might be excited about your new venture with a blog, it is important to come up with a strategy before you start posting. How often will you update your content? What kind of content will you create?  What objectives do you want to accomplish? What kind of tone will your blog have? These are all important aspects to consider before you start a blog, so be sure to have a clear strategy even before the first post.

2. Don’t plan to post in your spare time.

Running a small business is incredibly time consuming, so if you only plan to post when you’re “free”, the blog will most likely never get updated. Instead, set up a blogging schedule and stick with it! Create a calendar with blog topics and specific dates that you would like to create and post each entry. Use a Google doc if more than one employee manages the company blog and be sure to update it as changes arise.

3. Don’t forget to drive traffic to your blog.

Publish blog posts to your Facebook and Twitter accounts to increase awareness and traffic. Tell your friends and personal network about posts that they might find interesting and encourage them to share it. This will help increase traffic and comments. Also, be sure to link to other shareable content and to anything on your webpage that you reference in the blog.

4. Don’t ignore comments.

It is important to drive readers to engage with your blog through comments and sharing with their network. If someone takes the time to comment, it means they are interested in what you have to say. Show them that you care as well by answering their questions and joining in on the conversation. If they share your blog post on Twitter for all of their followers to see, be sure to thank them with a tweet.

5. Don’t blog just for the sake of blogging.

Don’t clutter your readers’ newsfeeds with garbage just in an attempt to post content frequently. Set a content strategy to ensure you always have interesting ideas to share, and post those ideas at a pace that is sustainable for your business.

6. Don’t abandon the blog.

Are you opening up a new store? Is it a busy month for your business? One of the worst things for your blog and its followers is to bail on the blog with no explanation. It’s not the end of the world if you skip your blog posts for a week or two, but be sure to fill your readers in on why you are busy and tell them you’ll be back soon!

7. Don’t give up.

Perhaps the biggest and most important takeaway is to stick with it! Don’t assume that having a company blog is easy, but trust me when I say it will be worth the effort. It may take a while for your blog to gain traction and build in audience, but don’t give up and have fun!

Do you have other blogging don’ts (or do’s)? Let us know in the comments!

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