As I scour the Interwebs seeking new clients I often find myself at company blogs. Some are fantastic! Others, however, leave me scratching my head. I consider good blogging to be the gateway into a company’s social media footprint; the foundation of the social media conversation they are looking to engage in. And yet, their blog is built without any of the tools required for a two way conversation or general stickiness.

So here are five things that any company can do (right now) to improve their blogging effectiveness!

1. Enable commenting. I think some companies are nervous about what people might say about their blogs or content. If that’s your feeling, then I’d advise against blogging at all. It’s ALL about the conversation. If someone disagrees with what you’re saying that’s okay; it shows they are passionate about the topic. Comments can also have relevant and worthwhile outbound links that can help boost your blog’s visibility.

2. Enable social media sharing. Your blog needs to find its way into the social spheres of your prospects, customers and partners. Sharing is the easiest way to give your blog some legs. Sure, people can copy the link and paste it elsewhere, but in this day and age where ease-of-use is core, clicking a button is the way to go. With WordPress, there are any number of social media share plugins that can be incorporated into your site quickly and complimentary. Do it!

3. Capture email addresses. You’re in marketing; you market; you create leads. There’s nothing wrong with asking people to leave their email addresses so you can let them know about new posts. Once you gather email addresses you can then send out a monthly newsletter that showcases the month’s popular blogs, highlights new (exclusive) content, and more importantly keeps you top of mind. And… there’s a plugin for that!

4. Show authors for each post. A blog that is written by ABC Company is sort of impersonal and likely won’t deliver the engagement you’re ultimately looking for. Create authors (real, live people at your organization) for each post; include their picture and short bio at the end of the post. People are more apt to comment on a blog written by a person than one written by a company.

5. Show related posts. At the end of your blog post display the five most recent related posts. Whoever is reading your blog has an interest in what you’ve written about and you should try hard to keep them at your blog, reading more posts. So why not deliver to them what they’re looking for. You’ll likely find that time on site and pages per visit increase, creating a stickier site.

There’s a ton more you can do to create a stickier, more interesting blog. In fact as a bonus I’ll suggest you add some imagery. We’re a visual people after all. What else can marketers do to their blog to make it more useful? Drop your thoughts in the comment field below.