ChemChina ready for concessions to clinch delayed Syngenta deal in 2017 – source

Image result for ChemChina ready for concessions to clinch delayed Syngenta deal in 2017 - sourceBEIJING/ZURICH (Reuters) – State-owned Chinese chemicals group ChemChina is ready to offer more concessions to win European Union antitrust approval for its $43 billion bid for Swiss pesticide and seed group Syngenta, a source with direct knowledge of the process said.

Clinching China’s biggest-ever foreign acquisition is taking longer than planned amid a flurry of deals in the agriculture sector that Syngenta, the world’s biggest pesticides maker, said on Tuesday had swamped competition watchdogs.

Syngenta expects the transaction to close around the end of March 2017, rather than this year as first planned, but insisted it would go ahead despite increased scrutiny by watchdogs gauging the impact of big deals on farmers and consumers.

Syngenta’s deal with ChemChina is one of two under EU scrutiny, while another mega deal involving Bayer and Monsanto is expected to land on the regulator’s desk in coming months.

Bayer and Monsanto have not formally requested EU approval but the European Commission has to consider this deal as well when assessing the ChemChina and Syngenta linkup, and another deal involving DuPont and Dow Chemical, to take into account the changing landscape, said an EU official.

Syngenta stock plunged more than 9 percent on Monday after a European Commission spokesman said the companies had not offered concessions to get the deal through, raising concerns about the likelihood of a longer, full investigation.

ChemChina submitted a proposal to the Commission in September, including a plan to divest some $20 million worth of assets from its agrichemical subsidiary Adama Agricultural Solutions, the Beijing-based source told Reuters.

But the Commission raised “a more detailed menu of possible remedies” last week, said the source, who declined to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

ChemChina is ready to cooperate fully with the Commission and come up with a satisfactory solution, the source added.

A ChemChina spokesman was not immediately available.

The Commission sometimes opens a full investigation to get a better understanding of complex takeovers, whereby some are eventually cleared with no or minor concessions, though this is probably not the case for ChemChina because of the wave of consolidation moves and the diverse interests involved.

REGULATORY REVIEW

Regulatory scrutiny over the ChemChina-Syngenta deal comes as global agricultural chemicals makers bulk up to better compete with each other.

Dow Chemical and DuPont plan a $130 billion merger, while Bayer aims to buy Monsanto for $66 billion.

Syngenta Chief Executive Erik Fyrwald told Reuters he expected the EU anti-trust watchdog to take its regulatory review of the ChemChina deal to a second phase once the Oct. 28 deadline for fast-track approval passes.

“I think it is likely and we are expecting it, but it is not certain,” Fyrwald said. “The process was going along and then on Sept. 14 … the Bayer and Monsanto deal was announced, since then in both the U.S. and the EU there has been a very large escalation in data requests and questions.”

The Commission declined comment.

Fyrwald dismissed suggestions that the deal could be complicated by a possible merger of ChemChina and Sinochem.

“We talk to ChemChina regularly on a range of issues … and they have repeatedly assured us that they are not in any discussions about merging with Sinochem,” he said.

Fyrwald declined to comment on the regulatory impact of the other two big deals in the pipeline. “But I can tell you that the regulators are taking a very close look at everything.”

Syngenta reported third-quarter sales of $2.5 billion, down 3 percent year-on-year at constant exchange rates. The average forecast from analysts polled by Reuters was for sales to ease 0.5 percent.

Syngenta stock rose 1.8 percent to 404.70 Swiss francs by 0930 GMT, still well below the ChemChina offer price of $465 in cash per share plus a 5 Swiss franc special dividend, worth a total of around 467 francs.

Liberum analysts, who rate Syngenta “buy”, valued Syngenta at 357 francs per share should the deal not go through. ChemChina’s offer also includes a break fee of $3 billion, or 32 francs per share, for an overall fair value of 389 francs, they wrote in a note.

(Additional reporting by Oliver Hirt in Zurich and Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Editing by David Holmes)

Panel fails to finalise rates for GST

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A council of finance ministers from India’s union and state governments on Wednesday failed to finalise the main rate of the goods and services tax and will again meet next month, raising concerns that the new sales tax might miss April’s deadline.

Union and state finance officials met for two days in New Delhi to resolve their differences over the rates as well as the administration of the tax. They will again meet on Nov. 3-4.

While the meetings could not break the deadlock, the contours of the discussions suggested India might end up with a tax structure with multiple rates.

Experts say that the best taxes have to be low, flat rates and few exemptions and warn that the proposed GST for India may – due to its relative complexity – deter compliance in a country where many businesses are skilled at minimising their taxes.

“Having more rates will complicate the situation,” said M.S. Mani, senior director at Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP, adding uniform rate in states would simplify current tax structure.

The new tax is a signature reform of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that is aimed at making India an investor friendly destination. The measure would harmonise a slew of federal and state levies.

Supporters say the rollout of the new tax would boost the country’s economic growth by as much as 70 basis points. But a compromise-ridden tax threatens to rob any potential gains.

At the meeting, some states sought to impose a surcharge of tax on luxury products such as sparkling water and tobacco products to keep lower rates on essential food items, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac told reporters.

But the union government did not support the proposal, saying it would have a cascading impact, a senior Finance Ministry official told reporters after the meeting.

The ministry has proposed four tax rates, with the highest at 26 percent for about 20-25 percent of taxable items. Other slabs included 12 percent for food and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), and 4 percent for precious metals like gold.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, remained optimistic that the November meeting would resolve the differences, paving the way for the tax’s implementation from April 1.

To hit that timeline, union and state lawmakers need to pass key bills in this calendar year, and even then there will be a race against time to set up IT systems and ensure millions of businesses are ready to file returns online.

7 Tips to Boost Blog Traffic Quickly

how-to-increase-blog-traffic-quickly

I asked a question.

My friends answered.

After probing for pressing blogging problems my Facebook friends answered with a request: how do I increase my blog traffic quickly?

So I wrote this post.

Spoiler Alert: every single tip below will NOT work for you unless you release your impatient, desperate, anxious, greedy, terrified, angry, jealous drivers.

If you attempt to use these tips with the “Oh my GOD I need traffic quickly because I’m scared or worried or impatient or anxious!”, it’s like handing a blow torch to a 5 year old.

Somebody’s getting burned, at best.

Some 5 year old is gonna burn down the house, at worst.

When your energy is off you will mis-use these tools.

But if you hand the 5 year old a blow torch and a package of raw hot dogs, with the proper instructions, he can enjoy flame-roasted wieners instead of burning down the house.

So get rid of that desperate, destructive urge to NEED THINGS QUICKLY and follow these tips.

1: Enjoy Blogging

Fall in love with blogging again.

Stop trying to get things quickly.

Give things quickly.

Enjoy blogging to detach from blogging outcomes.

Detaching from outcomes attracts prospering, creative ideas and people to you.

I boosted my blog traffic dumb fast by falling in love with my blogging gig.

I fell in love with my blog after I trashed my oldie and created Blogging From Paradise.

(Check me out when I visited Phuket, Thailand.)

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This is because I love blogging and traveling, 2 themes I use exclusively on BFP.

2: Solve a Specific Problem

I wrote this post to address a specific problem.

Brought to me by a reader.

You betcha I’ll see a traffic spike through this post.

Ask readers questions through:

  • Your blog
  • Social media
  • Email

Provide answers through your blog posts.

Boost your blog traffic.

Pronto.

3: Leverage Yourself (and Your Blog) through Guest Posting

Use guest posting to reach a huge, targeted audience.

And to increase your blog traffic fast.

Example: blogging tips bloggers would submit guest posts to:

  • Pro Blogger
  • Blogging Tips

4: Title Posts with “12 Tips” or “11 Steps” or Any Double Figures

Double figure themed titles – whether tips or steps or reasons – seem to reel people in.

Readers love big promises.

Readers also love if you follow up on big promises with helpful content (keep that in mind).

Numbers create order in the mind. You know exactly what you’re getting if you add number themed titles to your blog posts.

Examples:

  • 11 tips to boost blog traffic
  • 10 tips to increase blogging income
  • 14 reasons why you should start a blog

Go big with titles to increase your blog traffic.

5: Comment on High Traffic Blogs (Aligning with Your Niche)

I am a blog comment lounge lizard.

You can find me commenting on blogs like:

  • Blogging Tips
  • Pro Blogger
  • Blogging Wizard
  • my very own Blogging From Paradise (onsite comments rock too, guys)

Comment on blogs to build relationships and to drive traffic.

People flock to read your content if you appear to be all over the place.

Blog commenting is one such tool to help you appear to be all over the place.

6:  Go Thorough or Go Home

Write 1,000 word or longer blog posts.

Most bloggers crave traffic because they publish thin posts.

Few readers see value in 300 or 400 word posts.

You want resources.

Not crumbs.

Forget thin-crust pizza.

Go with the deep dish, meat lovers, cardiac arrest inducing crust.

Write 1,000 words to 2,000 words. Or more.

Add links to respected resources.

Link in to helpful posts on your blog.

Create something meaty to boost your blog traffic.

Give readers something to sink their teeth into.

7: Release Mental Blocks Associated with Worthiness and Confidence through Increased Personal Development

3 visitors a day.

My Blogging Ghost Town scared off most living souls.

Out of billions, I attracted 3.

This was 8 years ago.

Today I’m being featured on sites like Fox News and Entrepreneur.

How did I make the quantum leap? From 3 visitors a day to being featured onworld famous blogs?

I faced, embraced and released many wicked mental blocks related to increasing my blog traffic.

Most of us feel like unworthy, undeserving amateurs.

Stings, but it’s true.

If you spend more time:

  • meditating
  • praying
  • EFT tapping
  • affirming

you will eventually uncover some pretty nasty limiting beliefs about deserving, confidence and clarity, in your being.

By clearing out these limiting beliefs – which is unpleasant but necessary – you can attract the ideas, people and circumstances, and move into specific actions, to gain massive blog traffic.

Example

2 years ago I firmly believed throughout my being that I could never write an eBook.

Impossible, I told myself.

2 years later I have written and self published 126 eBooks.

Here’s a teeny weeny sampler of my Blogging From Paradise Library on Amazon.

Vietnamese rally outside Taiwanese steel plant that spread toxic waste

Image result for Vietnamese rally outside Taiwanese steel plant that spread toxic wasteHANOI (Reuters) – Thousands of Vietnamese protested on Sunday at a steel plant run by a unit of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics to demand the unit leave the country and compensate more people after one of the country’s biggest environmental disasters, witnesses said.

Protesters in Ha Tinh province vented their anger at Formosa Ha Tinh Steel, which has offered $500 million in damages and admitted that its $10.6 billion steel plant was responsible for massive fish deaths along a 200-km (124-mile) stretch of coastline in April.

The protest started early Sunday and finished around noon, with police in helmets and shields deployed to guard the compound. The police left as the number of protesters, estimated at about 10,000 people, outnumbered them, protestor Tran Viet Hoa said by phone.

Images posted by demonstrators on social media matched the description. There were no injuries or arrests reported.

Some demonstrators climbed a front gate reinforced from inside by fire trucks and other vehicles, but they were not able to get in, Hoa said. Others entered from a back gate and smashed some windows and cameras.

Formosa in Taiwan could not be reached for comment and an official responsible for external relations at its Ha Tinh unit said he was not aware of the situation and would respond later.

Police and the provincial authority, the Ha Tinh’s People Committee, could not be reached for comments.

The Vietnamese government has offered favourable conditions to attract foreign investment, with companies such as Samsung Electronics and Intel key drivers of the economy and sources of jobs.

Formosa is one of its biggest investors and protests against the firm took place in Vietnam’s biggest cities over several weekends since April. In some cases, police used excessive force to thwart them, rights groups say.

Another witness said people were angry because they encountered resistance from police while trying to peacefully assemble.

“People were irritated because they just want to meet Formosa directly and negotiate,” said the witness, who declined to be named.

Demonstrators were demanding Formosa close the steel plant and give more compensation and do a better environmental cleanup. They wanted the government to stop an alternative plan of discharging the waste into a local river instead of into the sea for better monitoring, the witness said.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry in a statement said its representatives in Vietnam had contacted the steel plant, which police had shut down temporarily.

“The representative office has asked Vietnamese authorities to send more police to protect the plant, its employees, and the lives and property of all Taiwanese businessmen in Ha Tinh province,” it said.

IGIA achieves carbon neutral status, first in Asia-Pacific region

Image result for IGIA achieves carbon neutral status, first in Asia-Pacific regionNew Delhi, Sep 27 (IANS) The Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) on Tuesday said the national capital’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has become the first airport in the Asia-Pacific region to achieve carbon neutral status.

DIAL is a GMR Group-led consortium which manages and operates IGI airport.

According to DIAL, the announcement on the carbon neutral status was made by Airports Council International (ACI) during the Airport Carbon Accreditation certificate presentation ceremony held in Montreal, Canada.

The globally reputed Airport Carbon Accreditation has upgraded Delhi Airport to “Level 3+, Neutrality”, which is the highest level of achievement available to airports across the world.

Carbon neutrality occurs when the net carbon emissions over an entire year is zero. This means the airport absorbs or offsets the same amount of emission that was generated.

“Today, we have delivered on our commitment of achieving sustainable solutions for aviation climate change mitigations made at LPAA-COP 21 (Lima-Paris Action Agenda-Conference of the Parties) last year through carbon neutrality,” said I. Prabhakara Rao, Chief Executive Officer, DIAL.

“Going forward we are focussing on energy conservation and exploring alternative solution for generating green energy,” Rao was quoted in a statement as saying.

Delhi airport aims to increase its solar power generation capacity to 20 MW by 2020. DIAL has set up a 7.84 MW solar power plant to reduce GHG (greenhouse gas) emission.

DIAL has taken various emission-saving measures at IGI airport which has led to a 51 per cent reduction in specific GHG emission (kgCO2/Pax) during the last five years.

The 39th ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) assembly, which coincided with the event, also explored avenues of attaining climate change mitigation solution among the member nations.

Gold gains as investors bet against Fed hike

Gold bracelets are on display as a woman makes choices at a jewellery showroom in KolkataLONDON (Reuters) – Gold rose for a second straight session on Tuesday as the dollar dropped ahead of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that investors are betting will leave interest rates unchanged.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,314.76 an ounce by 0955 GMT, with U.S. gold futures gaining 0.1 percent to $1,319.10.

“Gold should remain supported as long as it holds above $1,300 an ounce … but that level could be easily broken if the Fed surprises with a rate hike tomorrow,” ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto de Casa said.

“If not, we could see a $10 rebound after the Fed meeting.”

Investors will listen closely to Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech at the end of the meeting on Wednesday for any hint that the central bank could raise rates before the end of the year.

A range of mixed economic figures and conflicting remarks by key Fed policymakers have kept investors guessing over the timing of the next U.S. rate increase.

Only a 12 percent chance of a rate rise is priced in now, compared with 24 percent last week, CME FedWatch said.

Rising U.S. interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and boost the dollar, making gold more expensive for buyers holding other currencies.

The dollar was down 0.1 percent against a basket of six main currencies as investors also awaited the outcome of a Bank of Japan policy meeting this week.

Japan’s central bank also meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, and could make negative interest rates the primary focus of its monetary policy, moving away from quantitative easing.

Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,313 to $1,319 an ounce and an escape could point a direction, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

In other news, Swiss gold imports from Hong Kong last month hit their highest since records began in 2012, while combined shipments to Hong Kong and China hit their lowest since April, data from the Swiss customs bureau showed on Tuesday.

Among other precious metals, spot silver rose 0.3 percent to $19.19 an ounce, building on a gain of nearly 2 percent in the previous session.

Platinum was up 0.5 percent at $1,026.25 and Palladium rose 0.6 percent to $687, extending a 2 percent increase on Monday.

China August imports rise for first time in nearly two years, export drop eases

Image result for China August imports rise for first time in nearly two years, export drop easesBEIJING (Reuters) – China’s imports unexpected rose in August for the first time in nearly two years while exports fell at a more modest pace,

suggesting demand at home and abroad may finally be perking up and putting the world’s second-largest economy on a more balanced footing.

Exports fell 2.8 percent from a year earlier, the General Administration of Customs said on Thursday, adding that pressure on shipments was expected to ease further in the fourth quarter.

Imports rose 1.5 percent from a year earlier, ending a 21-month stretch of declines, suggesting domestic demand is picking up along with firmer commodities prices.

That resulted in a narrower trade surplus of $52.05 billion in August, versus a $58 billion forecast and July’s $52.31 billion.

If it proves sustainable, a trade recovery would help ease fears that China’s economy is becoming increasingly lopsided, and give feeble global growth a much-needed shot in the arm.

China’s policymakers have become more reliant on higher government spending on infrastructure and a housing boom to drive economic growth as private investment fizzles and exports remained sluggish.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected trade to contract but show some signs of improvement.

August exports had been expected to fall 4.0 percent, similar to July’s 4.4 percent decline, while imports had been expected to ease 4.9 percent, moderating significantly from a sharp decline of 12.5 percent in July.

A surge in commodity prices, due in part to Beijing’s efforts to reduce excess capacity in heavy industries and mining, has also supported trade figures and given a badly needed boost to business confidence.

Some Chinese steel plants are turning in the best margins in at least three years as prices rise and demand for building materials increases.

G20 leaders pledged on Monday to work together to address excess steel capacity that has punished the global industry with low prices for years while raising tensions between China and other major producers.

Hope India will continue to prioritise low inflation

Raghuram Rajan.

Low interest rates should not be a substitute for “other instruments of policy” and “various kinds of reforms” that are needed to encourage growth, Mr. Rajan said.

Raghuram Rajan, whose tenure as the RBI Governor ended this week, hopes the process of cleaning up Indian banks will be finished and the government will continue to prioritise “low inflation”.

Mr. Rajan (53), who stepped down on September 4 as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said in an interview with the New York Times that he hoped the country would finish “the process of bank cleanup which is underway.”

He also noted that his tight monetary policy has helped in bringing India’s rate of inflation —— currently about 6 per cent —— down to the upper end of the government’s target range.

“I think we’ve done exactly what was needed,” he said adding that the central bank should continue to prioritise low inflation.

A new warning also came from Mr. Rajan at a time when the world’s central banks appear to be at a loss about how to get global growth moving again. Mr. Rajan warned low interest rates globally could distort markets and would be difficult to abandon.

With countries around the world, including the United States and Europe, having kept interest rates low as a way to encourage growth, he said countries could become “trapped” by fear that when they eventually raised rates, they would see the growth slow down.

Low interest rates should not be a substitute for “other instruments of policy” and “various kinds of reforms” that are needed to encourage growth, Mr. Rajan said.

Mr. Rajan also disputed the view that his tight monetary policies had cost him the support of the government, and said his departure was based on his inability to reach an agreement with the government on serving longer but not serving another full three-year term.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say that it’s because of tight policy that the government wanted to move on,” he said.

Citing government’s move after he announced his departure to set a low inflation target of 4 per cent for the next five years, he said his successor Urjit Patel played an important role in setting the country’s tough inflation targets.

He also stressed that democracy is a better system to create long-term growth.

“India’s strengths to some extent also comes from its democracy,” he said, adding “things can get bad in India, but not beyond a certain point, because the democratic process asserts itself and we have a change in government.”

Mr. Rajan will return to his longtime job as a professor at the University of Chicago’s business school.

Comparing the job of central bank governor with his past, Mr. Rajan said “so better to be a doer than an adviser. Of course being an adviser sometimes has effects, important effects, but you don’t see it as much immediately. Here you can see what you are doing and in the years to come.”

How to Automate Your Social Marketing Efforts

How to Automate Your Social Marketing EffortsIn their book Start Your Own Business, the staff of Entrepreneur Media Inc. guides you through the critical steps to starting your business, then supports you in surviving the first three years as a business owner. In this edited excerpt, the authors describe how you can use automation to speed up the spread of your content across multiple social channels.

With all the social media site tools available, often the best way to be effective with your social marketing is to automate the process. First, you need to decide whether automation is right for you and, if so, which automation you should set up. Automation can be key in turning your contacts into profits because you can post less, but at the same time, you get more exposure. Social automation, however, can be considered spamming, so be careful with how you set it up.

How does social network automation work? There are tools likeHootsuite and SocialFlow where you can automate your social networking sites or TubeMogul to automate your video posting. These sites can submit a link or post to not just one or two sites but, in some cases, up to 60. Sometimes, though, the link posted isn’t relevant for the site it goes out to. In other words, the links aren’t even relevant for the members of the network, and sometimes they’re not properly tagged or categorized. This eventually leads to negative votes on the article or post submitted, so make sure you set up your automation properly.

There are many automation capabilities and options available. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Twitter to Facebook. Every time you post on Twitter, it will automatically post to your personal Facebook newsfeed. While some media professionals have gotten away from this since the @Twitter handles are “dead links” when they move to Facebook, it can still be a fast and efficient way to automate. However, if Facebook is your primary source of engagement, consider the other way around for automation (see below).

Facebook Fan Page to Twitter. Every time you post to your Facebook fan page, it can post to Twitter, which will, in turn, post to your personal Facebook newsfeed.

Link your blog to Facebook. Click on the NetworkedBlogs applicationin Facebook, and add your blog information as prompted. There’s a verification process that Facebook will walk you through to make sure you’re the author of the blog.

Link your blog to LinkedIn. Go to Applications, and click on WordPress if you have a WordPress blog, or go to Applications then Blog Link if you have a TypePad blog. LinkedIn will walk you through the process step by step.

Link your blog to Twitter. Twitterfeed is a handy, free website and application that will “feed your blog to Twitter.” Go to Twitterfeed, sign up for an account, verify and log in, then click “Create New Feed” button, and add your blog. It might take a few hours to start working. Once going, it’s fairly reliable unless Twitter goes down or has API issues. Check the stream once a week.

Use a service like Hootsuite, where you can schedule posts months in advance. You can also use the service to link to all of your social media accounts, from Twitter and Facebook to LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Your most popular articles or blog posts can be “socialed” months into the future to give them new life. Just be sure to make clear that they’re older posts (add the phrase “In case you missed it,” or ICYMI in Twitterspeak).

Another way to automate your blog so it posts to the social sites you’re active on is to set up widgets and add plugins. You can do this for sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Squidoo, Delicious, Digg and many more. The way a widget works is every time you post on one social site, it will go out to your blog as an update. First, you need to make sure your blog allows widgets. Some blogs won’t allow widgets unless you host the blog on your own site. Once you determine whether you can add these widgets, log in to each of the sites you want to add a widget to and go to the search box and type in widget. That will take you to the most current directions on how to upload or generate the HTML code needed to post widgets to your blog.

Plugins are applications that can enhance the capabilities of your blog, such as the All in One SEO plugins available on WordPress, which helps you optimize your blog for search engines, or the WPtouch iPhone Theme on WordPress that transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme. There are thousands of plugins available, and they’re usually found on your blog platform under “plugin.”

5 Steps to Take to Start Your Small Business Blog Today

5 Steps to Take to Start Your Small Business Blog Today

You know you need to be blogging for your small business, but you have no idea where to start. Sound familiar? If so, read on, for exactlywhat you need to do to start a small business blog today.

Related: 6 Epiphanies I’ve Had Writing Explosive Content

If you already have a WordPress website for your business and simply want to add a blog, you can do this through your their dashboard. Here is a good primer on how to do this.

To add a blog to your existing non-WordPress site involves a more technical process that may require the help of a web designer or developer.

But if you’re starting from scratch, here is a step-by-step process for starting your own small business blog today.

1. Decide on a blogging platform.

This is an important decision. Choosing the wrong platform may not make or break you, but it can make things more difficult than they need to be.

There are many different blogging sites you can use, but the most versatile and user-friendly platform out there is WordPress. There are two types of WordPress sites and it’s important you choose the right one. There is WordPress.com, which allows you to set up, in minutes, a blog and its domain (e.g., www.yoursite.wordpress.com). For reasons that go beyond the scope of this article, I do not recommend using this version for your business blog.

I do recommend using WordPress.org to create your own self-hosted blog. This site is simple to use, although non-techies might need a bit of help with the initial setup.

Both versions are free. Hosting and registering a domain will cost a bit, but more on that later.

If you’d like to explore your options, there are several other platforms that are completely free and give you the ability to set up your site in a few steps; they include Weebly, Joomla and Drupal.  However, you should be aware that most of these sites won’t work for a business blog in the long run. Restrictions in terms of design, functionality and SEO will make it very difficult later on to have a successful business blog.

Related: How to Turbocharge the Launch of Your Corporate Blog

2. Choose a WordPress theme.

One of the best features of WordPress is that it allows you to easily customize the look and feel of your blog, using themes. There’s a large list of free themes available in the WordPress Theme Directory, or try checking out premium (paid) themes at a site like ThemeForest.

When choosing a theme, keep in mind the following:

  • Is it responsive? Does it display properly on a variety of devices, including desktop, tablets and mobile devices?
  • Does it come with some level of customer support and/or a support forum?
  • Does it allow a level of customization (e.g., changing colors, navigation menu, buttons, widgets, etc.)?

3. Register a domain name.

Once you’ve decided which blogging platform you’re going to use, choose a domain name. This will be the URL used to access your site (e.g., www.yoursite.com). You can do this through a domain registrar like NameCheap, 1&1 or GoDaddy.

Your domain will cost you around $10 a year; the price goes down if you’re willing to pay for more than one year up-front. Try to choose a .com domain (as opposed to .net, .biz, etc.), if possible, and use your trademarked business name if it’s available. Make sure your domain is easy to remember yet specific enough to differentiate you from sites or businesses with a similar name.

4. Purchase web hosting.

While your WordPress site is free, you’ll still need to pay to have your blog hosted, which costs more than the domain rental. You can purchase your web hosting service through a number of different companies, but some of the more popular are GoDaddy, Hostgator, Bluehost and 1&1.

5. Make a plan, and get writing!

This is the fun part, the reason you decided to get a business blog in the first place. Before you dive in, however, it’s important to think about the purpose of your blog.

  • What is your main objective? Is it to get leads, build your email list or become an expert in your field?
  • How often will you commit to blogging? Two to three times a week is ideal, but blogging once a week is better than nothing.
  • What’s the “voice” of your blog? Casual and fun? Authoritative? Academic?
  • How will you get your readers to take action while on your blog? An email opt-in box? A link to a sales page? Or a call to action to fill out a request for a quote?

Once you have a plan in place, go ahead and write. Focus on topics where you have unique insights to share, or where you can really add to the conversation. Don’t just rehash what everyone else is saying. Be original and write about topics that are of value to your audience.

Wondering what comes next? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Building a Successful Business Blog, or Secrets Of a Killer Blog Post, or 21 Types of Blog Posts That Get People Talking.

Are you ready to jump in and start your own small business blog? If not, what’s holding you back? Share below!