About a year ago I wrote an article on the 10 pages every corporate blog should have in Dutch. It has become a very successful article in ErnoHannink.nl.
Last week a client asked a question that got me reading that article again. A sort of competitor replied on her blog on a post. The remark she added did not add much to the post, and the commenter added 4 lines to the comment with promotion for her service. My client asked if she should just remove the comment or what the blog etiquettes are.
OK, when you want to remove comments from your blog once in a while, it is good to show on your site that you can do this. You may want to remove offensive comments in your blog. Especially comments that are not against you but other people.
So what pages should each small biz blog have.
1. About page
Every blog (and website) should have an about page. When a new visitor lands on your site it could be on any page in your site. On average more than 50% of your visitors do not land on the homepage. The about page would explain your new visitor who the person(s) is behind the site. It is all about building trust with your potential customer.
You want to give the new reader reasons why they should subscribe to your RSS and/or newsletter. On this page you do not just write about yourself but what is it to the reader.
How can they contact you? Use a contactform. There are great plugins available for WordPress; like Enhanced contact form WP plugin by Joost de Valk. This is convenient when the reader does not have their email program available, e.g. when they are on the road.
Your address information could help to establish trust. Also a telephone number or your mobile number could be helpful for a potential client to contact you directly. Via Skype and Google Talk I receive a number of calls from potential clients. It is very easy to use, just one click and you have contact.
In this page you can explain why you blog or why your company blogs. What is the relation from this blog to you products and/or services. If you write reviews is there a commercial connection, i.e. do you get paid for a reference, is it an affiliate link or do you review for money or the product. This page should make it very transparant what the intention is for your corporate blog. It is also good to know what you (the blogger) do in the company, i.e. what is your position.
What do you do with the information that you collect via the blog, i.e. analytics, cookies, newsletter, RSS. Do you work with cookies how long will these be saved. What do you do with the email addresses that you collect for the newsletter or other ‘free’ information.
3.c Comments policy
Are all comments allowed? Do you remove certain comments? Do you use anti-comment-spam software. Are there restrictions to place a comment on your blog. Be as transparant as possible how you deal with comments. Removing comments or parts of comments, and you have no comments policy stating that you can do this, may cause difficulty with freedom op speech for the commenter.
When a visitor comes via a link to your site or blog on a page that doesn’t exist they will see an error page. The so called error 404 page. The 404 means that the page does not exist in this site. This may happen because somebody is referring to an incorrect URL in your domain.
To place a custom 404 page on your site could get the visitor to explore your site in stead op bailing the 404. Create your own 404 page. Create a 404.php in your template, add some links to your best content, point to your RSS and add a search field and your done. A 404 page that converts visitors.
There are also several 404 trace plugins for WordPress so you can see what URLs generate a 404 page.
On many blogs I see limited possibilities to search deeper. As a reader I may want to read more articles on the subject. Tags and categories are 2 ways to explore your site on topics.
A page that gives an easy and fast overview of all the articles in your blog is very convenient. It also builds trust if there are lots of articles in the archives. A nice plugin for WordPress to do this is the Clean Archives Reloaded. This page is also very good for the search engine, easy access to all your pages for the search engine bots, especially if there is no sitemap available.
A page to explain to the visitors how they can easily stay up to date with your site. Maybe a short introduction to RSS and what a good RSS reader is. An explanation of the process to subscribe to your newsletter is good. What mails the subscriber may expect in their inbox. This way they can prevent that your valuable newsletter ends up in the email spam filter. Also explain what you do with the collected email addresses.
7. Best articles
A sort of home page where every visitor can find their way in your blog fast. The best articles in your lead subject. The best articles for beginners, best of all times, your favorites. A short introduction into the subject of your blog. I like how Problogger made the home page.
8. Clients / customers
It is good to describe what your most favorite customer looks like. What does she/he do? What is his/her business? What are their problems? It helps potential customers to show that they are in the right place. If they are not your target customer it is no problem that they leave. Not everybody can be your customer.
If you aim for everyone – no one will find you.
We are talking about your small biz blog, most of the time a very personal written blog. Since it is your business it is good to show what you are selling. Do not just list the products or services. Talk about the difficulties your target market has, make it very clear that it is a urgent pain they need to resolve as quickly as possible. Then show what it will bring them if they fix that problem. Then, only then, show how you can help them to do this.
Of course you can scream from your site how good you are. It is better if other people say nice things about you. Somehow this is more trustworthy :0). It is good to have a page where you show off what other people are saying about you and your products or services.
A decision to buy something is more and more based on people’s opinion.
It is good to answer the most frequently asked questions. Writing a good page about this will decrease the number of emails in your inbox. So questions that you see repeatedly in your inbox try to answer them in a FAQ page.