These days, it seems like everyone has a blog. In fact, most business websites would not be complete without one. The trick is to stand out from the herd—because in today’s fast-developing and competitive world of websites, just having a blog is only status quo. In fact, it may even be a waste of time and money if your voice is only going to get lost.

But before you can adequately market your blog, you have to understand the reasoning behind it. Not all techniques are suitable for all blog types, so what you use should be determined by the site’s overall goal. Some people build a blog in order to increase traffic to their website, while others create blogs in order to generate revenue. Of course, many blogs are also stand-alone pages created to exist as singular discussion forums.

In terms of marketing, most blogs are used to enhance SEO. They help business-oriented websites attract attention, build brands and communicate with prospective clientele. With this in mind, here are three top tips for marketing your blog:

1) Create an e-Newsletter.

Whether or not your company already sends out a regular newsletter, embedding links to your blog or even re-posting eye-catching selections from its posts might engage current e-mail recipients while informing new subscribers that the blog even exists. You can also see who’s using the links to click through to the blog to determine which posts and topics are generating the most interest. Just remember, re-posting your blog posts in full is a bad idea; it deters readers from ever actually needing to visit your website.

2) Build a Community.

Having individuals visit your blog on a regular basis is excellent. But each lone reader is actually an opportunity to expand your entire community. The first thing you want to do is inspire readers to leave comments so that they can bond with other forum members, who can serve as a reason for readers to return. This can often be done by including interesting topics and asking questions directly within the content of your post. You’ll also want to visit blogs similar to your own and get to know the readership there; as discussed above, it’s easy to make connections and participate by replying to others or leaving your own comments. You can also ask these website owners if they’d like to participate in cross-posting, guest posting, link exchanges or other ideas that allow websites serving the same readership to gain exposure on your blog while you contribute a new voice to theirs. In blogging, there is a focus on community, not a sense of competitiveness—and this benefits everyone in your interest group or business field.

3) Ensure Consistency and Quality.

No matter how well you succeed in attracting readers to your blog, your endeavors can never succeed if visitors only stop by once. In the blogging world as much as in the real world, first impressions are vital. To keep readers coming back again and again, an attractive website with appealing content is necessary. Next week, we further discuss how to encourage return readers and turn them into customers and clients–or just loyal fans.

So come back next week to find part two of the Top Ways to Market Your Blog.