You have a business. You have a website. Now you need a blog!

Blogging is important for dozens of reasons. The more content you contribute to your blog, the more Google visits your website and indexes your pages, which is good for SEO. Blogging also increases search engine traffic, builds authority in your industry and humanizes your brand. Don’t ever underestimate the power in having a compelling blog!

Below are the steps you should take to start an effective blog for your business.

Know your audience and what they want to read about.

Before you create a blog, you should have a clear understanding of your target audience and the type of content they want to read. It’s helpful to have buyer personas created so that you know what interests you can write on. If you haven’t developed buyer personas, now is the time to create them. Here’s a free HubSpot tool to make this step quick and easy.

Choose your blogging platform.

Choosing the right blog platform is important, as you don’t want to create more work for yourself than need be. There are many different blogging sites available, but the most flexible and versatile is WordPress. If you’re not tech savvy, you’ll probably need help setting up the blog. Compared to other blogging sites like Joomla or Drupal, WordPress offers the best foundation for a successful and scalable company blog.

Pick a WordPress theme.

One of the best things about WordPress is that it lets you customize the look and feel of your blog. WordPress has a great selection of themes that are available in free and paid versions. There are many beautiful themes to look through, but keep these few things in mind:

  • Choose a responsive design that displays properly on all devices.

  • Pick a theme that has 24/7 customer support or a support forum.

  • Look for themes that offer customization options, such as the ability to change colors or add widgets.

Register your name domain.

Once you have decided which blogging platform to use, it’s time to register your domain time. Domains are inexpensive, and you can save money by paying for the full year upfront. Use your trademarked name, if it’s available, and stick with .com domains instead of .biz or .net domains.

Purchase web hosting services.

Even though the WordPress site itself is free, you need to pay to have it hosted. Your content management system should support your blog today and in the future. Most website hosting services charge little to host an original domain, so you shouldn’t anticipate a huge expense. Still, flexibility, scalability and reliability are always worth paying more for. Hosting providers include GoDaddy, HostGator and DreamHost.

Create a content plan.

Before you start adding content to your blog, think about your main purpose. What do you hope to share with your readers? How often do you plan on contributing to your blog? What’s the voice of your content – casual, academic, authoritative? How will you get readers to take action? All of this information will help you create content that supports your main goals.

Ready to get a blog started for your business? Make yours count by setting it up correctly and contributing worthwhile content. Over time, you’ll see all of the benefits of increased traffic, more quality leads and a stronger reputation.