Blog stands for ‘web log,’ a type of website that uses a journal-type approach. Unlike websites, the meat of blog content comes from posts (individual entries), not pages. Blog posts usually appear in reverse chronological order, so think of it as starting your journal on the last page and working your way toward the front cover.
Posts may consist of several different types of content, including:
- Summaries or viewpoints on other articles
- One or more photos
- One or more videos or audio podcasts
Each post lives as its own separate page, under a unique URL. Therefore, each post becomes a potential way for visitors to find you.
- Blogs can be set up as standalone (nothing but the blog) or as a section within a website.
- Blogs can be set up and managed on a free or low-cost blog hosting services, such as Google’s Blogger or WordPress.com or set up and hosted on your own domain. The Market it Write blog is an example of a blog hosted within the website’s domain (http://marketitwrite.com/blog/).
Can You See Me Now?
In its 2010 State of the Blogosphere survey of more than 7,200 bloggers, Technorati (the leading blog search engine), reported that of the corporate bloggers who participated, 57% blog to share their expertise and experiences with others, while 39% blog to get published or featured in traditional media. In other words, they want visibility.
Blogs can provide greater visibility within your industry, help position you, your company or organization as a thought leader in your field, and generate speaking opportunities.
Go Play in Traffic
Most businesses find that, in addition to establishing themselves as thought leaders, blogs help drive traffic to their website.
Primarily because of the way items published on a blog are made available tosearch engines and potential readers. While individual blog posts may rank well in search results – by accident or on purpose – the real power lies in what’s called RSS (Really Simple Syndication).
RSS sends out a feed of your blog’s content. As new posts are published, they join your blog’s RSS feed. Search engines and subscribers pick up new content via your RSS feed. Every time you publish something, it’s a little like the shot heard ’round the world.
Wrangle the Content Beast
Blogging platforms provide tools that allow you to create and manage content with ease. Creating a new post requires little more than word processing skills. In other words, rocket scientists are not required.
If you combine your website and blog within your blog platform, you can apply the benefits that come with an easy-to-use content management system to your website, too. In that case, any new pages you publish on your website also get placed into the RSS feed, acting as an automated public service announcement to search engines and subscribers.
Access to most widely available blogging platforms is provided free via the web. So you can log in and take care of business while you’re vacationing with Aunt Tillie and the kids or out rustling the bushes in search of new business.
Wake ’em Up
Another primary benefit of blogs is they offer interactivity to readers. Instead of slogging through your text, going cross-eyed and nodding off, your visitors can watch a video, leave a comment, vote in a poll, share your content on their social networks, and otherwise interact with you.
Get and Stay Organized
Blog platforms have a built-in organization system to make it easy for visitors to find posts on a specific topic. For one thing, blog platforms typically provide a built-in (or easy-to-add) search function. Secondly, you can select one or more categories for each post. Your visitors can then browse for posts within the categories that interest them.
Blog posts are also archived and labeled, allowing you to make your content findable by date published or by tag (label). An easy way to understand tags is to think of them as smaller subcategories or as keywords, making it easy for any content miner to find gold in them thar hills.
The Time Suck Elephant in the Room
Content development. Once you have a blog, you’ll be expected to publish content on a regular basis. While the most common rate of publishing reported in Technorati’s survey is two to three times per week, consistency is more important than focusing on a specific number of posts.
Content is indeed king, but quality only trumps quantity to an extent. If you only publish a new post once or twice a year – no matter how gut-wrenching your content – interest in your blog is likely to vanish.
Maintenance. Besides the time you’ll need for publishing regularly, you’ll need a little time for oil changes and tune-ups.
Most blog platforms push out regular platform updates and enhancements (free). Failing to install updates can leave gaping security holes for hackers to pounce upon. Fortunately, maintaining the blog usually requires only a minimal time commitment and can be tended to while in the process of creating and publishing posts.
Promotion. Although your blog posts (and pages, if you include them) are distributed via an RSS feed, you’ll still need to shamelessly promote new content because it’s competitive out there. It’s a safe bet your competitors are doing it, too.
Various methods to get your content found and build your blog traffic include, but are not limited to:
In no time at all, the tasks of content creation, blog promotion and site maintenance can become an unwelcome time suck.
Why Sweat the Details?
If you’re concerned about the demands that a blog and blog marketing will place on your already limited time, you can outsource some or all of the tasks of creating and promoting new posts, as well as blog maintenance and management. (Consider partnering with a marketing agency that specializes in writing killer content. Ahem…)
Contact us if you want to discuss whether a blog (and blog marketing) is right for you or how we can help with your blogging needs.
MORE ON BLOGS AND BLOG MARKETING
Your Blog: Useful Tool or Time Waster?
10 Tips for Click-Worthy Subject Lines: Do yours Stink?
Blogging Tips from the Noveling Front