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When you are ready to set up a company blog, you have a bunch of decisions to make before you write a thing.  There are the basic first steps of choosing a hosting platform by deciding which features you need, as well as the branding aspects, like choosing a name and design. Finally, you need to take a look at your distribution methods and – oh yeah – become an expert on blogging.

Here are 4 things you need to do before you start your first post.

Choose a hosting platform

List your desirable and deal-breaker requirements. Desirables are features you’re on the lookout for but could be optional if you found a home you like. Deal-breakers are things you can’t live without. Bandwidth? Coding options?  Customization?

Similarly, you should weigh the benefits of hosting it yourself by using a hosting service and how this affects your desired features. Don’t be afraid to open some accounts – Blogger,  tumblr, Posterous, and WordPress are the most popular –to make sure you are comfortable with their system. That fabulous list of features isn’t so fabulous if you find them too cumbersome to implement.

Branding

Your blog will be one of the first pieces of design a potential customer sees. Give yourself a head start by choosing a name and a design that reflect your company’s branding by thinking in terms of theme and style. For the design, choose colors and images that are already appear throughout your website and advertising.

For the name, there are a number of approaches: a pun on industry themes, something future-forward, or the all-too-popular classic, “Company Blog.” If you’re still stumped, do some research on naming and your options will become clear.

Create a plan of attack

How do you want to promote and distribute your blog? One of the benefits of hosted services like Blogger or tumblr is that you are connected to a pre-existing wider community. But if you host the service yourself, you have much more control over the design and distribution of the blog.

Either way, there are some great tools out there for helping promote your blog, and of course there is good old-fashioned legwork you’ll have to take care of, too. Websites like Problogger are great sources of information on promoting your blog.

Become an expert on blogging

The final, yet most important step, is to learn to blog like an expert.  If you aren’t already, start reading industry blogs and blogs that cover the topics you want to address to learn what gaps in information your blog can fill.

You will also want to read about blogging in general – Problogger is a great source of tips and guidelines to to help you become a better blogger.

 

Image courtesy of creative design agency Arrae.

 

 

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