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Content

Business Blogs

Information is money.

The more you know, the faster you can get ahead.

Problem? We’re drowning in information. It’s everywhere! So where you can find relevant and helpful information on running your business?

Here are our top 11 must-read business blogs (with a slight social twist). We hope you’ll love them as much as we do!

1. LinkedIn Pulse

What is it?: LinkedIn Pulse collects articles that are relevant to your industry and business interests. It’s the perfect way to start your working day (together with a mug of coffee).

Who writes it?: A LinkedIn Robot. It’s a collection of articles from across LinkedIn’s blog network, so the authors could be anyone in your industry.

Why we love it: It’s tailor-made just for you. And LinkedIn boasts some of the world’s best business writing.

Check it out: LinkedIn Pulse.

2. You’re the Boss

What is it?: A blog about running a small business, by small business owners published by The New York Times. On the blog you’ll find advice, case studies and analysis.

Who writes it?: You’re the Boss has over 15 contributors including Rebekah Campbell, founder of Posse, Colleen DeBaise, director of The Story Exchange (where women mean business), and Gene Marks, who runs a 10-person consultancy.

Why we love it: The best teacher is experience, and this is advice from the trenches. We also like that it’s targeted at small business owners.

Check it out: You’re the Boss.

3. Harvard Business Review

What is it?: A collection of articles from Harvard Business School’s flagship publication. It covers everything from marketing to workplace conflict to the future of capitalism.

Who writes it?: The top writers and thinkers in the world of business are invited to contribute. Contributors are typically business owners or academic researchers who have written a business book.

Why we love it: It makes our brains light up! It’s the place to go for thought-provoking articles and advice on business.

Check it out: Harvard Business Review.

4. Lifehacker

What is it?: A blog about getting things done. That’s right, it’s productivity central. Perfect for procrastinators and people who need to get things done.

Who writes it?: Editor-in-chief is Whitson Gordon. Regular contributors include Eric Ravenscraft and Mihir Patkar. Plus there are a ton of guest writers.

Why we love it: Because if you run a business, you need to get stuff done. And Lifehacker provides all the cutting-edge advice on how to make that happen.

Check it out: Lifehacker.

5. Social Media Examiner

What is it? The world-leading blog on the subject of social media marketing. It covers everything social media related, from using social media as a PR tool to advice on creating a social media strategy.

Who writes it?: Cindy King is director of editorial and a regular contributor. There are also a wide range of guest authors.

Why we love it: It’s all about social media, our favorite thing!

Check it out: Social Media Examiner.

6. Seth’s Blog

What is it?: The musings and philosophy of marketing raconteur and maverick, Seth Godin. Most of the posts can be read in less than a minute. No wasted words here.

Who writes it?: The clue’s in the name. Seth Godin is the only author here.

Why we love it: Every post Seth writes helps us see the world in a new way. It really is that good. Also, Seth writes and publishes a new blog post (sometimes two new blog posts) pretty much every day, so there’s always plenty of brain candy to go around.

Check it out: Seth’s Blog.

7. BufferSocial

What is it?: The official blog of the social media scheduling tool, Buffer App. On Buffer’s blog you’ll find articles on social media strategy, consumer psychology, productivity and content marketing.

Who writes it? Buffer’s leader writers are Nicole Miller and Kevan Lee.

Why we love it: We’d probably love anything created by BufferApp, consider that it’s our favorite scheduling tool. Even so, Buffer’s blog is amazing. Every article is in-depth and well researched.

Check it out: BufferSocial.

8. Derek Sivers

What is it?: The thoughts and ideas of entrepreneur, programmer and intrepid traveler Derek Sivers. On his blog you’ll find reflections on creativity, business, life and travel.

Who writes it?: Most of the posts are written by Derek himself, with occasional contributions from guest writers.

Why we love it: Derek Sivers has walked the walk. He founded CD Baby, which went on to be the largest online seller of independent music. He’s a deep thinker, so if you’re into pondering the meaning of life (or just wondering about how to offer good customer service), then this is the blog for you.

Check it out: Derek Sivers.

9. QuickSprout

What is it?: QuickSprout is the online home of Neil Patel, who’s the co-founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics. On QuickSprout you’ll find articles on SEO, copywriter, consumer psychology and growth hacking.

Who writes it?: Investor, advisor and entrepreneur Neil Patel.

Why we love it: What we love most about QuickSprout is Neil’s focus on metrics and optimization. The internet allows pretty much everything to be tracked and measured, and Neil shows you how to make the most of all this information.

Check it out: QuickSprout.

10. HubSpot

What is it?: HubSpot creates and sells internet marketing software to help businesses better engage with their online customers. Their blog covers everything from social selling to must-read business books.

Who writes it?: HubSpot has a huge team of quality writers.

Why we love it: HubSpot tests everything and they’re not afraid to share the results of their experiments. Every article on the blog is pack full with value.

Check it out: HubSpot Blog.

11. Practical eCommerce

What is it?: A blog that’s all about selling stuff online. If it’s related to eCommerce, it’s covered here.

who writes it?: Regular contributors include Sig Ueland, Jill Kocher and Armando Roggio.

Why we love it: Okay, we confess, this one’s at the dry end of the blogging spectrum. There’s not much scintillating writing here. What you will find is solid advice and analysis. And that’s just what you need when you’re running a business, right?

Over to You

What are your must-read business blogs? Let us know in the comments section, below.

business blog

This is a guest post by Gary Dek, founder of StartABlog123.com

Here’s your guide to building a business blog that people will want to read.

1. Understand Your Motivations

Know why you are blogging. First, know your reasons for creating a blog. What is the purpose of your content marketing strategy? The primary purpose shouldn’t be to sell. No one wants to read a blog that constantly pushes a sales pitch.

Content marketing works best when your goal is to develop a relationship with readers and potential customers. Blogging is a subtle form of selling by building a brand that is trustworthy and authoritative.

2. Optimize Your Content Creation

Business blogging is all about providing customers with useful content. Here’s how to do that:

Research your topics/keywords. As a business blog, you have to know where to allocate your limited resources to maximize results. SEMrush.com and Google’s Keyword Tool are ideal resources. Search for a handful of online competitors. Enter each URL into SEMrush and see what keywords they rank for.

Then visit Google’s Keyword Planner, choose “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas”, enter that keyword, click “Get ideas” and go to “Keyword ideas”. You will get an idea about other relevant keywords and their corresponding average monthly searches and competitiveness. For a new blog, focus on low to medium competition topics before tackling difficult ones that may takes months or years to rank for.

Create a flexible editorial calendar. An editorial calendar involves knowing what topics to publish and when. While there are no hard and fast rules regarding how far into the future your editorial calendar should be, it is can be helpful on a monthly basis, particularly if you outsource your content creation and need to establish accountability for yourself, employees, and freelancers. An editorial calendar will also set expectations for your audience.

For example, I know that Neil Patel at QuickSprout.com publishes new posts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Fridays are usually infographic days. I don’t bother checking his site the rest of the week, and that prevents me from visiting his site only to be let down by finding nothing new. In a way, Neil has managed my expectations by publicly sharing his editorial calendar.

Create an outline before writing. Even for natural writers, I always recommend writing an outline, or at the very least, research 2 or 3 comprehensive articles to emulate. Knowing where to start and where you want to go – and how to get there – will not only make the writing process more efficient, but it will also result in a more coherent, high quality piece of work.

Always hire quality writers. When I first started developing websites, I was somewhat price sensitive when it came to my writers. Fortunately, I quickly learned that, like all things in life, quality is worth paying for.

Better and more experienced writers require less editing, have an established online presence and social following, can potentially link back to you from their other freelance gigs, and generally facilitate the content production process. If you want faster and more consistent results, hire freelance writers and/or editors who are knowledgeable about your industry.

Keep it simple and optimize your posts for readability. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to impress your readers with SAT vocabulary words and intricate sentence sentences. Keep your writing as simple as possible, and format your posts for fluidity. This includes breaking up the text into digestible chunks with relevant, eye-catching images.

Be consistent in the quality and frequency of your posts. Continue to publish content that readers will find interesting, relevant, and useful. Stay away from fluff. Keep providing practical and valuable information.

3. Grow Your Audience

If you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche, your blog will become a “must-read” for anyone in the industry. The fundamental question you must ask yourself is – of the hundreds of websites available online, why should readers choose to spend time consuming your knowledge and content?

Show off your credentials. You’re an expert in your field and people should listen to you because you have unique and insightful information or experiences to share, but how do you say that without sounding full of yourself and alienating your readers

  • Don’t be shy about sharing your educational background and professional experience.  My personal finance site, Gajizmo, benefits from my background in financial analysis and career as an investment banker and private equity analyst.

 

  • Tell personal stories. Interesting stories will grab your reader’s attention and force them to keep reading. Wouldn’t you prefer to read a story and learn something rather than be lectured?
  • Numbers, statistics and facts are concrete. Use them to cement your authority and strengthen your arguments/opinions.

 

Write posts that dig deep into the subject matter. Research indicates that longer, more comprehensive articles tend to dominate Google’s top 10 search engine rankings. While short posts may be applicable for quick news updates, if you want to build a blog that will withstand all future Panda updates, focus on posts that will provide your readers with immense value.

Get interaction from your community. A successful blog requires some intimacy. It’s hard to relate to someone who is distant, aloof, and anti-social in real life. The same goes for online relationships.

  • A “Comments Section”. Have a comments section where readers can interact and ask you follow-up questions. You can encourage this by asking a compelling question at the end of every post.
  • Respond to reader comments. If you ask readers a question at the end of every post, expect answers in the comments. If you expect them to comment, you should also do your part and reply to their comments. Not only will this make your readers feel heard, but it will help you build a personal connection with them, resulting in a loyal audience.
  • Establish your presence on social media and participate in conversations. Like it or not, social media has become rather intertwined with blogging, and you can take advantage of it for more exposure. Ask your readers for questions, concerns, or problems you can solve. Check out these social media tips for starters.

Start an email newsletter. Another effective way to increase your reader base is to create an email subscription list. The results may not be immediately evident, but over time email marketing can insulate you against changes in search engine rankings.

Final Word

When starting your business blog, take the following quote to heart. It will guide you when developing your online brand, from deciding your blog’s layout and design to how you will address complaining customers.

“The golden rule for every business man is this: Put yourself in your customer’s place.” – Orison Swett Marden

Author Bio: Gary Dek is the founder of StartABlog123.com. He specializes in SEO, content marketing, and generally helping new and professional bloggers build sustainable online businesses. Previously, he was an investment banker and private equity analyst.

 

Flamers and Trolls

You want your engagement with your followers to be sizzling hot and to buzz with excitement.

So what’s the deal with flaming? Doesn’t that heat things up, get the conversation moving?

It might do. But unless you’re a brand that’s all about controversy, then flaming’s probably not for you.

What is Flaming?

Flaming, according to Wikipedia is:

The act of posting deliberately hostile messages on the Internet.

Or:

A hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users

Wikipedia adds that flaming is “used mainly by trolls.”

We’ve all seen debates get heated on the internet. They rarely turn out well.

What should you do if your brand is flamed, or a flame war breaks out on your Facebook page?

Step 1: Remember, Prevention is Better than Firefighting

Sometimes people are perverse, and you’ll get flamed out of the blue for no reason. If this has happened to you, you can move on to the next step.

Most of the time, however, flaming happens for a reason. People will flame your brand because they’re frustrated with you. Something’s gone wrong, and it hasn’t been resolved. Just look at what happened to Amy’s Baking Company.

So, put out the fire before it happens. Make sure your social listening is up to speed and that you’re catching all brand mentions. When people raise problems about your brand on social media, jump in and solve it as quickly as you can.

Note: When people criticize your brand, it’s best to assume they’ve got good intentions. Treat their complaint at face value, rather than assuming they’re trying to flame you.

Step 2: Always Act Calm

Flaming burns. It’s painful. Flamers flame because they want to hurt you and provoke a reaction.

Whatever you do, don’t display your anger. Remain as calm as you can.

Remember this maxim: lose your temper, and you’ve lost the argument.

Step 3: Don’t Feed the Trolls

It’s not always easy to tell if someone’s got a legitimate complaint, or if they’re just trying to flame you.

Obviously, if someone is clearly trolling, you’re best to ignore it and delete it.

But what if things aren’t clear? We recommend responding to a potential flame once. Stay calm and professional in your response. This should cool things down, at least for legitimate and reasonable complainants. Flamers will continue to heat things up. If this happens, then it’s okay to disengage.

Step 4: Know that You’re In Charge

Social media is for the most part a public space. But you do have control over various aspects of it. You can decide whether to delete a flamer’s post on your Facebook page. You can decide to block an internet bully.

If you do this, you haven’t lost the argument. You’ve made a healthy choice for you and your business.

Engaging with trolls can cost a lot emotionally, so it’s best to leave them well alone. Then you’ll have more energy and buzz to focus on what matters.

Over to You

What are your top tips on dealing with flamers and trolls?