If you’re looking to increase traffic or search engine ranking of your website, one strategy is starting a blog. While it requires an investment of resources and energy, regularly posting fresh content to your site in the form of a blog is a terrific way to liven up your online marketing efforts. Here are a few simple do’s and don’ts to guide you forward.

Do: Write What You Know
It’s the first rule of writers: Write what you know. A blog is a way to establish yourself as an industry expert, so pick a subject that you know well. Remember, you’ll be writing about this a lot, so you should also pick a topic that interests you. You don’t necessarily have to know everything about your topic from the start (there are lots of ways to do additional research), but you should have the fundamentals of it down. Make your blog the go-to source for what’s going on in your field.

Don’t: Fail to Proofread
Nothing will doom your blog quicker than bad writing. Faulty grammar, incorrect punctuation, misspelled words, these things are toxic, and readers will flee from your blog, never to return. If this is a problem for you, ask someone you know who is good at copyediting to look at your blog before you post it and to make the needed corrections. It can be hard to accept criticism, but your readers will appreciate it, and in the end, you’ll be glad you did it.

Do: Make a Long-Term Commitment
In the early days of your blog, when it seems like no one is reading, it will be tempting to give up. Don’t. Blogging takes hard work and persistent effort over many months—or more—to build an established readership. It takes patience and commitment. If you don’t have that, it may be best to look for other ways to get your voice out there, such as contributing to other, already established blogs or newsletters. If you do start a blog, though, be prepared to stick with it for the long haul.

Don’t: Be Overly Promotional
A blog should be a resource for providing useful and engaging information to your readers. It’s not a channel for repeated efforts to sell them your product or service. If you do that, you’ll lose their trust and drive them away. There is a delicate balance that you must strike with your blog. By being seen as a trusted resource for information about a given topic, it’s more likely that your readers will trust you when it comes time for them to open their wallets.

Do: Include Other Voices
Including other people in your blog is a great way to keep things fresh, and it gives you a break once in awhile from having to come up with new ideas. This can be accomplished through guest bloggers and through interviews with experts. Look for other people in your organization or industry to contribute guest blogs or interviews from time to time. This adds value to your blog and allows others to feel included.

Don’t: Muddy the Waters
Veering off topic or losing sight of your blog’s strategy will confuse your readers and cause them to lose interest. Stay focused and keep your eye on the goal, which is a loyal audience.