You have probably heard much discussion about the new phenomenon of weblogs, more popularly referred to as blogs. Long dismissed by serious webmasters and business people, blogs were thought to be the sole province of angst-ridden teenagers, and a few self-indulgent writers. That is not the case any longer.
Blogs have stormed onto the Internet, sporting strong Google PageRanks and often very large and intensely loyal readerships. The worlds of politics, sports, and business have seen an explosion in the number of blogs over the past year. Blogs are everywhere on the Internet. Along with providing a boost to your Google PageRank and to your search engine results pages (SERPs), blogs are a tremendous promotional tool for your website and your business as a whole.
By adding a blog to your existing website, or as a cross-linked standalone site, a blog will pay heavy dividends to your business. By adding a human element and a sense of immediacy to your site, a blog will add not only potential new customers and clients to your business, but a healthy injection of goodwill as well.
Blogs provide a powerful promotional vehicle both online and offline. Perhaps it’s time to consider starting a blog.
Blogs build regular readership traffic. Because of their frequent updates, often daily, readers will return very frequently. A traditional static website has far fewer changes, and often requires coding and the assistance of a technical person. There is no such requirement for blogs.
Most blogging platforms allow for the transfer of fresh blog posts directly to a website, providing a continual supply of new material. Because of these regular additions of fresh keyword rich content to your site, you gain favor with the search engines. The spiders will crawl your site more frequently and index your site more often. The new keyword-laden content will create some pages that score highly in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The content of a blog should not be blatantly promotional in nature. Instead, it should provide that benefit more indirectly. Posting regular blog entries about industry news in your business area, fair and unbiased product information and reviews, new product development information, and business advice for your readers will establish you as an expert in your field. As an expert, you will be called upon by the media for interviews and often as a speaker in your industry area. The promotional benefits of those activities are obvious.
Links and Free Publicity
Other bloggers (people who write and maintain blogs) will also promote your blog, by linking to any blog posts that interest them and their readership. Bloggers are free and generous linkers of the blogs they read. Many bloggers are completely unaware of their Google PageRank and often of their blog’s position in the search engine results. They freely link to blogs for the content alone. The search engines are, at best, a distant secondary concern.
You get free publicity and promotion for your blog from other bloggers. Since many of the other bloggers, who link to your blog columns, are in posting similar themed content on their own blogs, you get the benefit of any topic sensitive PageRank that may be implemented by Google. You also get some much needed link popularity and some PageRank boost that help your site in the search engines.
The very concept of adding a human element to your business may seem a little obvious to many people. On the other hand, many business and website owners have overlooked the benefits of placing a personal stamp on their business. A blog can provide precisely that human element for you.
Frequent Updates and Conversational Tone
The first thing you will notice about a business blog is its frequent number of updates. Almost every day a new post or column is added to the blog. The posts are usually written in a conversational tone and often contain personal elements about the writer. Those personal elements are where the human face on the company appears.
As your readers return daily, and your blog is written in a manner that encourages repeat visitor traffic, your visitors get to know you as the author on a more personal level. The personal writing will include information about you as an individual, as well as information about your company.
Developing a Relationship of Trust
Because your blog readers return at least several times per week to read your latest blog postings, you begin to develop a rapport with them. Over time, they become familiar with you and naturally become customers. It’s generally agreed by marketing experts that people prefer to do business with people whom they know and trust. A blog helps to develop that trust in you and your products and services.
The online promotional benefits of a blog are numerous and powerful for your website. The immediacy of your blog can provide up-to-the-minute information about your company to existing and potential customers and clients.
Your blog will develop a loyal daily readership over time. The importance of that readership is its business potential. Every one of those regular visitors is a possible future customer or client. By visiting your blog every day, many of them will be interested in checking out your main business website. In that sense, a blog is a customer attractor for your company and its products and services.
By means of the ubiquitous comments systems found on most blogs, reader feedback can be almost instantaneous. Don’t worry about the potential for comment spam or abusive comments. While a potential annoyance, they are minimal compared to the benefits of personal interaction with your visitor traffic. Most blog platforms contain a built-in comment feature. If your blog system doesn’t include one, there are many good third party add-on commenters available. E-mail spam doesn’t prevent a business from using e-mail. Comment spam shouldn’t stop you from having a commenter added to your blog either.
A powerful feature of blogs is the use of an RSS feed. RSS stands for either Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. Take your pick, as both are correct. What an RSS feed does, is send a blog’s highlights to recipients instantly upon publication. Most blog programs have an RSS or Atom (or a combination) feature for enabling transmission of your blog to a wider audience of subscribers to your RSS feed. Many blogs have a sign-up feature right on the blog itself, making the addition of a feed easy for your visitors to read your blog as you update.
To read blogs, your visitors need to use what is called an aggregator. By attaching an aggregator, which is a blog collection and reading program to their web browser, customers can read your blog posts as they happen in real time. Some well known aggregators include Bloglines, Feedster, and Kinja. There are many more available as well.
E-mail newsletters are usually on a delayed time scale compared to the speed of an RSS feed. Because of this speed difference, e-mail newsletters will take on a different role for your business. No longer required to provide news, your newsletter can provide more in-depth information and special offers to your subscribers. The RSS feed enables you to utilize your e-mail newsletter in new and innovative ways.
Surprisingly, blogs can have some solid offline benefits for your business. One of the most important is the value of your blog to the media. Blogs are regularly scanned by the mainstream and the trade media outlets, vis RSS feeds, for news story ideas. Your breaking news story is of interest to the journalists in your field.
Be certain that you have easy to access contact information on your blog and on your website, so reporters can make instant contact with you. They are often on very tight deadlines and can’t wait to find you. By being available, your business story can be told, and you can also be quoted as an expert in other news stories. You may also find yourself being contacted as an expert speaker in your business area. The blog will establish your authority credentials.
Your blog will already have helped establish you as an expert, in your field of business because of your daily informative posts. Since blogs are still relatively new to the business arena, you will also be seen as being on the leading edge of innovation, for your industry. You know that can never be a bad thing.
Be certain to include your blog URL on all of your business cards, letterhead, and everywhere else your main website URL is included. Many people will visit your blog for information, who might not otherwise visit your business site. They will often use the blog as an entry to your company website, and eventually become customers or clients.
The promotional advantages of adding a blog to your existing website (or as a stand alone blog) are many and powerful. The addition of a blog component establishes you as an expert in your field, reaping rewards as a media spokesperson or a public speaker in your area of endeavor. Being a blogger places you and your business on the leading edge of your industry. Standard offline promotional techniques will also pay dividends when applied to blogs.
Online, your blog will pick up many solid and theme-related links from other bloggers, and from traditional websites. The topic sensitive links created will boost your Google PageRank and your search engine results for your main keywords. Often, your blog will provide another search engine result for your business keywords, creating another entry into your main business website.
Because of the freshness of blog content, the blog is crawled often by the various search engine spiders. That frequent addition of newly crawled content to the search engine indexes will enhance your level of visitor traffic.
Through the use of RSS feeds, your blog posts will be instantly available to your blog subscribers. Used in conjunction with your existing email newsletter, your blog’s RSS feed will keep your readers up to date on your business and your products.
Add a blog to your promotional efforts, and reap the rewards, both on the Internet and offline as well.
Your business bottom line will thank you for being a blogger.