I recently received a copy of the book WordPress for Business Bloggers, by Paul Thewlis, published by Packt Publishing. The preface states, “WordPress for Business Bloggers provides advanced strategies and techniques to take your WordPress business blog from average to extraordinary. Whether you already have a blog, or are still in the planning stages, this book will show you how to use WordPress to create a highly successful blog for your business.” Read on to see how it stacks up.
First of all, as the title and the preface say, this book focuses on business blogging. Also, it assumes that you are already familiar with the basics of setting up a stand-alone WordPress blog. That said, it does guide you through some basic concepts of setting up WordPress, themes, and plugins.
Thewlis begins with an introduction to blogging, and how various companies have used business blogs as a tool to reach out to their customer base. He discusses various goals of a business blog, such as: Increasing Sales, Adding Value, Showing Expertise, and Customer Service, among others. He also discusses what he calls the “WordPress Arsenal” — the features that make WordPress a good platform choice for building your business blog.
Next, the author introduces a fictitious case study for an “expert blog” to be used for examples throughout the book. For this case study, we imagine someone who is an expert on chili peppers. He will establish an “expert blog” to show case his deep knowledge on the subject, and to promote sales of his books, speaking engagements, and sell products.
Along the way, Thewlis discusses design, content, SEO, promotion, monetization, and using analytics to measure traffic, study search keywords, and study where visitors come from. Each of these topics is covered with enough detail to give the reader a good sense of how to apply what they’ve learned to their own site. There are good pointers on various plugins which will help add features to your blog, and information about how to configure them to your needs. Among these are the All In One SEO Pack, Feedburner Feedsmith, NextGEN Gallery, EasyTube, cforms II, Adsense Manager, WP Super Cache, and others. He also shows how to use built in features of WordPress, such as text and RSS widgets. And where appropriate, he even discusses how to add CSS to style added content to match your overall design.
Generally, when I see the words “business” and “blogging” together, especially when it comes to books or other commercial products, my skeptic shields go up. This was the case when I started looking at WordPress for Business Bloggers. But I have to say that Thewlis has done an excellent job. He helps you become familiar with the goals of a business blog, guides you though making a plan, and then shows you how you can set up a WordPress site to accomplish those goals. But even though he focuses on WordPress, the general advice he gives is well thought out, and applicable to just about any web site.
If you need to create a web site to promote your products, services, or personal brand, or if you need to improve an existing site, I highly recommend WordPress for Business Bloggers!