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Marketing with a Blog Without Actually Blogging

Updated on March 19, 2016
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Heidi Thorne is a self publishing expert, nonfiction book editor, author of 21+ books and eBooks, and a former trade newspaper editor.

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Gotta Love WordPress

WordPress has become one of the leading, if not THE leading blogging platform for many. Interestingly, according to digital statistic website, DMR, 25% of the world's websites (not just blogs) are built using WordPress (stat as of 11/8/15). That is a large market share for a program that's truly only been in existence since 2003 (Source: WordPress).

Are all these people blogging? Unlikely. Many just like the flexible and robust open source WordPress platform. This should tell you one thing: Just because you use WordPress, doesn't make you a blogger or magically turn your website into a blog.

Just because you use WordPress, doesn't make you a blogger or magically turn your website into a blog.

— Heidi Thorne

What People Expect from a Blog

When you call your website or a segment of it a "blog," whether it's built on WordPress or any other platform, people expect to see a series of chronological posts. Why? The reason comes from the history of the word "blog."

The word is actually a shortened version of the term "web log," basically an online journal or diary of sorts. As with offline journals, an entry of thoughts or observations is made daily (or more or less often) by the writer of the journal. Since most people are familiar with the offline diary or journal concept, there is an expectation that there will be regular posting to a blog.

The idea of writing regular blog entries to communicate with website visitors (and sales prospects!) is attractive to many wannabe business bloggers. In theory, it's a great idea! Sadly, as with journaling in the offline world, the blogging habit can be difficult to maintain and is as easily and quickly abandoned as many New Year's exercise resolutions are by March.

So what visitors often see when they visit a failed blog attempt is a precious few entries of varying quality, with the last one posted maybe a few years back. I've even observed actively promoted blogs with a last post date of five years ago. Five years! This blog can be officially pronounced "dead." A blog fail like this can your online reputation and marketing image.

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Rename and Reframe Your Blog for Marketing

While you may be intrigued by the idea of doing a business blog, if you don't have the capacity in time or talent to keep up with it on a regular basis, you have two options: 1) Don't do it at all; or, 2) Use the blog platform and posting function to create something else of value for your website visitors, something that will help market you and your business as an expert in your field.

This is very important! If you choose option No. 2 and want to use a blog for something other than official blogging, don't call it a "blog!" Rather, in your site's navigation menu, call your link to blog posts "Resources," "Tips," or some other name that suggests your "blog" is helpful information, but not necessarily a chronological collection of posts. By doing so, you help eliminate the expectation for frequent posting.

But renaming and reframing your blog is just the first step...

Use "Resources," "Tips," or some other name in your website navigation that suggests your "blog" is helpful information, but not necessarily a chronological collection of posts.

— Heidi Thorne
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Creating Categories, Creating Value

If you don't designate categories for your posts, WordPress will dump them into an "Uncategorized" category, creating a chronological, unsorted—and less useful—stream of posts. When people are looking for information on your website, they usually don't want to scroll through tons of posts to find the topic of interest.

After you rename your pseudo-blog to "Resources," "Tips" or other more appropriate title, you'll then want to organize your old and new posts into logical categories and provide navigation links for them, such as through drop down menus. Then, as website visitors navigate to your "Resources"-type link, they'll have the opportunity to select a subtopic of interest. For example, a marketing consulting business might set up categories for "strategy," "email marketing" and "social media."

In WordPress, categories can be easily created from the "Posts" menu of functions in the Dashboard. As you write individual posts in WordPress, you would check the appropriate category in the Categories block in the blog post editing screen before publishing so that the post is "filed" in the appropriate subtopic.

Once you have your categories set up and posts assigned to them, go to "Menus" setup from the "Appearance" menu in WordPress to create your main navigation link and drop down menu of subtopics. See the WordPress support documentation for current and more specific instructions on working with Categories, Menus and Posts.

Here are some additional tips for making your WordPress site more useful, navigable and marketing-oriented with categories:

  • Limited Menu. Try to limit the total number of categories so as not to frustrate your WordPress website visitors, especially those viewing and navigating your site on mobile devices. This also provides the benefit of telling your site's visitors of the niche topics in which you are an expert.
  • Multitasking. Note that one post can be checked to be categorized in multiple categories, if relevant. But avoid dumping EVERY post into almost EVERY available category. That's about as bad as throwing all posts into "Uncategorized."
  • Choosing Relevant and SEO-Friendly Category Names. As an expert in your field, you probably have a pretty good idea of subtopics people would be searching for. But if not, do some SEO keyword research to select some appropriate terms that will assist your website visitors. Click here to learn more about choosing relevant SEO keywords.

Disclaimer: Both the publisher and author have used their best efforts in preparation of this information. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and both parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice and strategies presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional advisor where and when appropriate. Neither the publisher nor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential or punitive, arising from or relating to your reliance on this information.

© 2016 Heidi Thorne

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  • heidithorne profile image
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    Heidi Thorne 20 months ago from Chicago Area

    No worries, Suhail! I'm not on HP or online all the time either. We have real lives, remember? :) Thanks for checking in and have a delightful Easter weekend!

  • Suhail and my dog profile image

    Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 20 months ago from Mississauga, ON

    Hi Heidi,

    I apologize for reading your response with a bit of delay. I only get to visit hubpages on weekends.

    I really appreciate your taking time to respond to my question in detail. I will check out the link now.

    Best regards,

  • heidithorne profile image
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    Heidi Thorne 21 months ago from Chicago Area

    Hello alancaster149! Yep, everyone "thinks" they know what some of these terms mean... but they really don't. Just thought I'd help sort it out. :)

    Interesting to try and use Amazon for a "blogging" platform. Since people aren't quite accustomed to that at the moment, you might see the low activity. But if you can get that going, how cool is that? Blogging where book buyers buy. Keep us posted on response to that experiment.

    I, too, have an itchy trigger finger poised above the Delete button when it comes to hecklers. ;)

    Thanks for starting out your week here! Make it a great one!

  • heidithorne profile image
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    Heidi Thorne 21 months ago from Chicago Area

    Hello grand old lady! I'm so glad you found it helpful. Though it might seem basic to some, I know I always appreciate having step-by-step type guidance along the way, too. Thank you for starting your week here and have a beautiful day!

  • alancaster149 profile image

    Alan R Lancaster 21 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

    Heidi, this is a sort of education for me. Until now I've never come across anything that explained the meaning of 'Blog' or 'Blogging'. Thanks for that.

    When I've got time to spare I'll see what I can dream up in that respect. I have a Blog of sorts on Amazon (slightly different approach for either side of the 'Pond', and I've posed a couple of questions but the fish haven't bitten yet.

    'You can lead a horse to water blah-blah-blah-dee-blah...'

    On the subject of 'hate-mail' I suppose you could get round 'hecklers' by just deleting their comments, or is that naiive?

  • grand old lady profile image

    Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 21 months ago from Philippines

    There is so much useful information here for bloggers. It is well organized and you feel like your hand is being held as you go through the process step by step. Great article.

  • heidithorne profile image
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    Heidi Thorne 21 months ago from Chicago Area

    Hi Suhail! Always good to hear from you.

    Yes, I do think that bloggers who "stick to their knitting (or whatever their avocation is)" are more successful than those who are all over the place in terms of topics. Narrowing the topics to a few key areas you want to be known for helps you get known for them. I've seen too many blogs with so much variety in terms of topics that I don't know how anyone (writer or visitor) can keep up with it. As time goes on, these chaotic blogs just fizzle.

    Sadly, haters are the bane of the blogging biz. As you note, if you are getting some haters, you are getting attention. It takes a truly mature and emotionally strong person to deal with them though. I had one hater (heckler?) that I still remember to this day. I just ignored him. You are definitely taking the high road by focusing on the positive exchanges you get. And, frankly, that's what I do, too.

    I did a post on one of my older, now closed, blogs about dealing with social media hecklers. I eventually included the material in my book on small business internet marketing. But I did do a post here on HP a while back about book reviews. That might have some helpful insight. Here's the link: https://hubpages.com/literature/Self-Publishing-Ti...

    Always appreciate your insightful additions to the conversation! Thank you. Have a delightful week ahead!

  • Suhail and my dog profile image

    Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 21 months ago from Mississauga, ON

    Heidi,

    Excellent suggestions here.

    I am inferring from 'Limited Menu' is also that one should restrict himself / herself to specialized area or niche. If one's specialty is posting on healthy dog breeds than no matter how much opposition you get from visitors, it is always going to add to the popularity of your bogs.

    I have noticed that some people that I used to follow on Word Press stopped writing after getting hate messages. I kept advising them to continue. Hate messages mean that your blogs are getting attention. This speaks to popularity. Don't get hate messages on your nerves.

    What do you suggest if you start getting hate messages?

    As far as I am concerned, I get a them all the time on Facebook pages of different nature which I follow (livestock guardian dogs, trophy hunting, etc.). I ignore them and concentrate on the positive exchanges.

    Perhaps this is a topic for you to have another hub on or may be you have already covered it, in which case please refer that hub to me.

    Always a pleasure to read tips from you.

    Best regards,

  • heidithorne profile image
    Author

    Heidi Thorne 21 months ago from Chicago Area

    Hi billybuc (aka "Master of the Metaphor" -- is that your superhero name?)! Glad you found it useful. Thanks for taking part of your weekend to stop by. Have a great Sunday, too!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 21 months ago from Olympia, WA

    I never find one thing to disagree with when you write an article, but I always find something I can sink my teeth into and take to heart....mixing metaphors is my specialty. LOL

    Happy Sunday to you!

  • heidithorne profile image
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    Heidi Thorne 21 months ago from Chicago Area

    FlourishAnyway, haven't we all! It's absolutely frightening how many failed blogging attempts litter the Internet. All good intentions, of course. Appreciate your kind words and taking the time to join the conversation. Enjoy this early spring weekend!

  • heidithorne profile image
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    Heidi Thorne 21 months ago from Chicago Area

    You're so right, purl3agony! Blogging takes quite a bit of mental energy and time to create AND maintain. Sounds like you've seen this scenario played out in the real world, too. Unless the business plans to make blogging their business, taking an alternate route like this makes more sense from many angles. Thank you so much for adding the energy aspect to the conversation! Have a lovely early spring weekend!

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 21 months ago from USA

    This is an excellent suggestion, as I have seen too many sites with stale content. Great advice as always!

  • purl3agony profile image

    Donna Herron 21 months ago from USA

    Hi Heidi - Great information and suggestions! I've seen too many businesses and organizations spend a lot of money designing and launching a blog, only to find they don't have the time or (more importantly) the energy to maintain it. I love your suggestion of adding a tab for resources or tips instead. I think this gives most businesses and organizations more flexibility on how to use and share information on their website. Thanks for another great hub!