Blogs – A New Communication Tool That Is Growing in Popularity
What are Blogs?
Blogs are collections of articles, ideas, news, facts, opinions or inspirations
that are “posted” on the internet. They are usually structured,
organized by category and are updated often, if not daily. The owner of
the blog is able to control the content.
The term, which stands for "Web log," was coined in 1999 and
has caught on like wildfire. There are now about 4 million blogs on the
Blogs & Your Business
So how could blogs fit into a business? They provide great supplemental
content and direct attention to areas of your business that you want to
feature or highlight. Use it as a unique, informal way to:
- Communicate with colleagues, partners, suppliers, existing or potential
- Showcase industry/company news, introduce new products or services,
marketing promotions or provide tips
- Establish a company or individual's reputation or brand
- Improve operations (e.g. project management or tech support knowledge-sharing)
- Demonstrate expertise
- Establish competitive differentiation
- Simplify and accelerate the publishing process
You direct the content but let your readers guide you. You will also
need to establish when you will post more articles and adhere to it. Let
your readers know what to expect and when to expect it.
Enormous Marketing Potential
Blogs are highly strategic, here-to-stay desktop tools. Think of the
potential for your e-newsletter strategies:
- Articles within newsletters can be linked to a blog, extending life
and creating a massive conversation.
- You can offer a bidirectional forum to customers to get true, personal
opinions on your products and services.
- Company experts can start a blog and become industry experts, helping
your company edge out competition.
- You can layer your blog with editorial controls!
Creating a Blog
There are numerous online tools that can be used to create a blog. You
can use an html editor, such as Dreamweaver to create your posts. The
content is then sent via FTP to a web server.
If you are unfamiliar with html editors and using FTP programs, then
there is free software on the Internet to create and post your blog. A
couple of popular web-based tools are Blogger at www.blogger.com
or Silkware at www.silkblogs.com.
When you set up a Blog you select a template that will house your information.
Once you have the Blog set up, you can post whatever information you like.
Reading a Blog
Use your standard browser and post comments on the content of the
Use a RSS (real simple syndication) reader program. You can subscribe
to whichever blogs that you want to and they are available immediately
in the reader. Using an RSS reader allows you to have all of the blogs
that interest you in one place and you don't have surf all over the
Internet to read them. A free reader can be downloaded at: www.rsspublisher.com/.
Benefits and Advantages of Blogs
1. Easy to maintain and easy to start
If you don’t know html to set it up, using a template from one
of the many tools available online makes it easy to start. You just
post your info into the template.
2. Post as often as you like
Post as much and as often as you like.
3. Highly interactive
Posters get to see the results of a post immediately as the post appears
simultaneously after posting. Blogs may also use a “TrackBack”
system that allows the visitor to see who has written the original post
and any other entry concerning it. The system works by sending a 'ping'
between the blogs, and therefore providing the alert. Blogs can also
alert you when new or updated content is added.
TrackBack typically appears below a blog entry and shows a summary
of what has been written on the target blog, together with a URL and
the name of the blog.
4. No lists to maintain, or spam filters
Email spam filters do not block Blogs because they are not an email
communication. E-mail delivery of newsletters and e-zines has become
difficult with the advent of spam filters. Blogs are not delivered,
and therefore, no methods of defeating filters are needed, and no "non-deliverables"
5. Number of blogs you create is limitless
You can make as many Blogs as you like on any subject.
6. Search Engine Friendly
Search Engines are constantly "searching" for new content
and blogs fit this perfectly because of the constantly changing content
that appears daily on blogs. There are numerous websites that act as
"blog search engines". Be sure to submit your sites to these
websites to increase your exposure. This will also help with your page
rank. Below are some of the places to list your blog:
Blog search engines: www.blogstreet.com
Globe of Blogs: www.globeofblogs.com
Blog Universe: www.bloguniverse.com
Blogs Canada: www.blogscanada.ca/directory
Blog Search Engine: www.blogsearchengine.com
Since no lists are maintained, there are no list server costs. Blogging
software and blogging services are also very reasonably priced. Some
blogging services charge others to "read", while others charge
writers to "write", but overall the monthly charges are rather
minimal either way.
There are such a variety of informative and educational blogs available
now that a search for any subject usually turns up hundreds of offerings.
For a view into popular blogs of many categories, just visit: www.blogit.com.
Syndication is a great way to ensure that your writing and your views
are exposed to as much of the general public as possible. Syndication
is many times included in blogging services now, and this has drawn
individuals to the art of blogging continuously. For an example of a
blog service that features syndication, please visit: www.typepad.com.
Elements to Be Successful
To be successful, Blogs need to contain the following elements:
Compelling, well-written content. No one, either online or
Offline, wants to read material that is poorly written, difficult
or boring to read.
Updated material. Just as in newsletters or e-zines, if
material is not updated continually, then the audience
Rousing topics. Topics of interest to a wide range of readers
succeed more than topics that appeal to very few, or are rather
A nice layout and visual appeal. A blog is akin to a Web site
for written materials, and just like in the design of a Web
site, every care should be made to have the blog be visually
appealing and friendly to visitors.