Blog - Questions and Answers
Why should you have a blog?
It is another marketing channel for you. It can be efficient and effective. It is easy to use and it can be free. See below on how to create your blog.
What is a blog?
It is a special type of website. It has the software that allows you to write and post information quickly without knowing anything about HTML programming. Why is that important? It helps you build and test your blog easily and quickly.
Where did it come from?
The word "blog" is derived from "web log". Web logs originated as an easy way for people to write personal logs, rants and beliefs on the web. Now blogs are gaining acceptance as a business tool. Don't let the origin fool you. Remember - personal computers started as games. And just because millions of teenagers have cell phones doesn't make the cell phone insignificant as a business tool.
What can a blog do for you?
Think of a blog as a communications tool. Now think about whom you might want to communicate with. Perhaps you want to reach customers, clients, investors, media, staff, and/or the market place. With diverse groups like these it's best to create a blog specific to each group and message that you want to send. I have five blogs and each serves a different purpose.
The nature of blogs?
The blogosphere is rapidly changing. Technorati, a leading blog search engine, reports that over 75,000 blogs are created every day. As more blogs are hatched enterprising bloggers will become more creative.
Most blogs contain short articles - called posts. Short means anywhere from 50 to 500 words. There are no rules but people who read blogs prefer the short posts.
You want them to visit your blog often. You encourage that by posting short articles and posting often. How often? It is up to you. The best blogs post a couple times a week. I post two to three times a week.
Blog posts tend to be informal. That can help you because most websites are rather formal and cold. If you are wondering how your website feels read the post on my blog titled "About Us". Informal writing allows you to establish a better rapport with your readers. They might feel a bond with you. Be warned - informal doesn't mean sloppy nor crass. Just let a little of who you are show through. And it is easier to do this with a series of 100 word posts than a 2,000 report.
What might you write on your blog?
First decide on the overall purpose of your blog. It is okay to change later. Feedback might help you refocus. Product and service tips for your customers. Company, product and industry news. News about your customers. Customer feedback. Questions and answers - like this article. Reviews, excerpts or comments from books or other articles. Your insights and perspective on trends, challenges and achievements. Interviews - see samples at http://businessinmotion.blogspot.com/
Why use a blog instead of a regular website?
You should still maintain your regular website. But you know how long it takes to update your website and how much it costs you. With a blog you can update it instantly - at no or little cost. It will take a little time to write. A short post on your website might look lost but that is the de rigor of blogs. Once you start you will be surprised at the things that stimulate new posting ideas. I recommend that you write several postings at one sitting then forward that to an editor or proofreader for correction and posting.
Why do search engines like blogs?
The regular search engines also find and list blogs. Google my name and notice the blog listings. In addition, there is a separate group of directories and search engines just for blogs. Each time you post to your blog it automatically updates the blog directory for your latest post. Plus you can "ping" a couple dozen of the major blog directories from pingomatic.com
Google likes websites with relevant content. That's why you target your key message.
Google likes sites with many relevant pages. Every post to your blog automatically becomes a new webpage. So as you post you are building a rapidly growing website.
Google likes sites that are updated often. That's why you post at least once or twice a week.
And here is another bonus. By linking to your main website from your blog you also boost the search status of your website. If Google likes your blog it will like the relevant sites that you link to.
Where do you start?
There are many providers of blogs - some free and some for a fee. Start with a free one to test and learn. I suggest you try Blogger.com. It is free, easy to use and considered the largest. Bonus, Google owns it so you know your blog will get noticed by Google. If after you try it you decide you don't want the blog you can easily delete it.
I suggest that you view some other blogs before you start to get some ideas. Search for blogs from your industry, competitors and suppliers. Also look at blogs from entirely different industries - that's where you will find fresh ideas. Visit my marketing blog at www.GeorgeTorok.com for more ideas, information and helpful links about blogging.
The mistake is to start a blog, use it incorrectly and write off blogs. Like every tool understand the purpose, learn the fundamentals and develop skills. At some point you might need to upgrade your skills, delegate the task or hire an expert.
What should you do now?