We have now entered the world of blogs! Sounds kind of Harry Potterish, doesn’t it?
If you’re over 20 years old, you probably think this is some crazy sci-fi phenomenon, or I’ve simply lost my mind. Don’t fret, the vast majority of people don’t know what a blog is all about and more importantly, why it matters to them.
If you’re under 20 you can stop reading because you probably know all about blogs, and the value they have in sharing information. You’ve been trading game-breaking codes, South Park clips, and jokes through blogs for months now or maybe even years.
In a recent article, Johnson Ong quips “I have a blog. Doesn’t everyone? You mean you don’t? How uncool are you? According to Merriam-Webster, ‘blog’ was the word of the year last year. Not having your own blog is like not having your own Gmail account. What? You don’t have Gmail either? My God, what are you? A caveman!”
Over or under, cool or uncool, I want to address blogs from a business standpoint, and the tremendous value they can deliver to business. There are several reasons that developing a blog is a tremendous strategy for any business.
1) It will increase your web presence significantly the search engines love blogs!
2) It will allow your business to educate customers and prospects about certain subjects, and appear as experts
3) It will raise your business profile with your vendors and other strategic partners, if they are invited to contribute to your blog
4) Other blogs can, and will, take information from your blog, and you will increase your exposure to anyone that participates in the ‘taking’ blog
5) Blogs accept subscribers, and everyone that subscribes to your blog will be constantly updated (pinged) by you with current information
So What is It?
The full name for a blog is a weblog. It’s a repository for articles, newsletters, information, and discussion boards. It’s like a ‘what’s new’ page on the internet in whatever subject you choose. When people research any topics that you have on your blog, they may very well end up on your blog through their search. If you’ve done it right, your blog is of course, fully branded to your company, and linked to your main website.
If you keep current articles, and information on your blog, you will receive hits from people looking for information about those subjects. You will also receive hits from other blogs, and they will then distribute your information to their own audiences.
You will receive hits from contributors of articles or news items, as well as people looking for those particular contributors through a search engine.
Hopefully, you get the picture. Your web traffic should increase exponentially through the proper use of a blog.
Business blogs have yet to sweep the business community, which presents a significant opportunity to adapt the technology to any business. It will allow you to share expertise and knowledge with a much larger audience, which should create a significant benefit.
There is specific blogging software, and you will have to learn how to create an effective and valuable blog. You will also have to learn how to acquire and produce current industry information to populate your blog with articles that will maintain interest and value. Yes, there is an element of work to it you didn’t think it was free, with no effort required, like the mumps did you?
As you add current information to your subject area, or to secondary subject areas that you may include in your blog, your chances of more hits are higher. If you continually contribute self-generated articles and news items to the appropriate subject areas, your chances also increase. In addition, there are sources that allow you to publish their materials, which can be used to increase the value of the blog, and therefore the likelihood of being found on the good old inter-web.
So How Does It Work?
If you still push the Pause/Break button in the upper right-hand corner of your keyboard to request permission from your boss for a visit to the bathroom, you can skip this part. Otherwise, it’s really not too hard to follow.
Without getting too technical, there are many web robots (bots), crawlers, and spiders, and similar technologies that have RSS Reader capability. That’s the stuff that is specific to blogs. They are basically looking for news, and blogs have that news.
If you do it right, these bots, crawlers, and spiders find your blog, and send information elsewhere, which is just what you want. Your blog is basically yelling at these web ‘beasts’ to “come on in and take this great stuff I’ve got.”