From some years back weblogs (or simply “blogs”) have become one of the most popular ways of online publishing and communication. While still most of them have no commercial purpose, blogs as a makerting tool (or even as a business by itself) are increasing its presence on the Internet.
WHAT ARE BLOGS?
Though there are different approaches to weblogs, they can be defined as web sites where users post entries (news, articles…), updated frequently and normally reflecting the thoughts of the blog’s creator. Those entries (posts) are typically listed in reverse chronological order (the most recent entry on the top).
Most blogs allow visitors to leave their own comments on the diverse entries or even references from other blogs (trackbacks). This communication between different blogs and bloggers is one of the main factors involved in the fast growth of the so-called “blogosphere” (the whole community of blogs) and its current influence.
HOW A BLOG CAN HELP YOU?
Blogs are constantly creating new business opportunities. While some time ago blogs were almost an exclusive territory for non-professional bloggers sharing their thoughts, experiences and ideas, currently small and large business have a wide presence in the blogging world. There are a number of potential benefits of adding a blog as part of your marketing strategy or as a business model:
- Blogs spread information: Blogs allow you to publish information instantly and frequently, and the conversational nature of blogs will help you spread that published information. Not only your visitors will read it, but also other blogs will reference your content through reviews, news, comments… and will link to your site, allowing other Internet users to access that given information. In addition, your blog can capture the attention of the media, which frequently uses the blogs for source material.
- Blogs give you feedback: Most blogs allow readers to comment on your posts or link to them (and notify your site) on their own blogs. This is an automated mechanism that provides you instant feedback on any issue. You can know what your readers think of you (or your product/service/company) almost in real time.
- Blogs build you a reputation: Always you provide useful and honest content, a business blog can help position you as an expert in your niche. Blogs can be considered as a platform for expressing your knowledge, expertise and experience, so they are a powerful tool for building you a solid reputation.
- Blogs are marketing tools: Blogs are a useful and low-cost marketing tool as they improve the awareness of your product/service/company and strengthen the loyalty of your customers (readers). The word-of-mouth will provide you a way into audiences that couldn’t be reached efficiently in any other way.
- Blogs are an easy content management system: The ease of use of blogs as a content management system (CMS) will allow you to forget the programming and the design of your web site and will also help you reduce costs. You can create your blog using free blog hosting services like Blogger or run free software like WordPress on your own web hosting (preferable for business blogs). In both cases you can adapt the appearance of your blog through free professional-looking templates (themes). This makes creating and updating web sites faster, easier and cheaper then ever.
Blogs are search engine traffic generators: Lastly search engines have been driving their efforts to reward rich-content sites, due to the great amount of poor-content sites built with the only purpose of generating revenue with advertising. As blogs are generally based on valuable and original content, they are specially appealing to search engines.
The linking structure inherent in blogs is another determinant in the equation. As other blogs reference your web site articles, they will link to them. Moreover, comments and trackbacks frequently include a link back to the blogger’s site. Because incoming links are one of the most important ranking factors in major search engines, it’s obvious that blogs are great platforms to generate search engine traffic.