Sunday, November 27, 2011

What is a Blog and Why Do You Need One?

One of the biggest buzzwords for businesses lately has been blogging. It’s supposed to be the latest “wonder tool” for attracting hungry prospects for your business. But what is a blog and how do you know if you really need one?

What is a Blog and Why Do You Need One?

A blog is a website that has posts (articles or entries) that are arranged in chronological order from most recent at the top to oldest at the bottom. They can be written by one person, or by teams of authors and they cover almost any topic you can think of.

Blogs have grown in popularity in recent years because it’s an extremely easy way for people to publish their “voice” or opinions on the Internet. Some people will simply write about whatever is on their mind, while others will act more as a reporter and deliver the latest information on specific topics.

The great thing about blogs is their ability to connect people with similar interests and allow people to develop relationships and build online communities. They way that they do that is by allowing readers to comment on the article or post and share their thoughts. Then the author will go back and comment back, and eventually conversations about the topic will begin.

As more and more posts are created, the newer ones are placed at the top and the rest shuffle down. As posts fall off the front page, they will go into an archive. Most blogs will allow you to search archives by the month the article was published, or by the category the post falls under. This allows for an easy way for readers to find articles relevant to their topic of interest.

Also becoming more and more popular is a video blog. Video always captures more attention than the written word does because it is more engaging. For many people, building a personal brand is important, and it’s much easier to build rapport and give people a feel for who you are when you’re on their computer monitor speaking to them face-to-face.

So why is a blog important for business?

There are many different reasons why a blog is important for business, but the biggest thing to keep in mind is that each post you make on a blog is actually a new page on your website. The more “real estate” you own on the Internet, the more likely the traffic will end up on one of your pages than one of your competitors.
When coming up with your Internet Marketing strategy, the blog becomes your “hub” for almost all other activities that you will perform. All of the online tactics and strategies can be greatly leveraged when you have a blog incorporated on your website because it helps you to increase your traffic, and getting targeted traffic to your website is one of the objectives of a successful internet marketing strategy.

For example, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be greatly improved using a blog because you can write specific posts that target specific keywords that your prospects or customers are searching for in the search engines. When your page comes up in Google and your prospect sees your listing, they can click through and end up on your website. As well, each time you add a post, you’re changing the content on your website, and dynamic websites with changing content always rank better than static websites that never change.

With Social Media Marketing, your blog posts and articles can be broadcasted through all of your social media channels and include a link for people to return to your site to read your post. (By the way, if you’re not using Social Media, you’re leaving money on the table.

If you utilize email marketing, you can send out emails to your subscribers and inform them of your new blog posts. If you publish to your blog regularly, this gives you a reason to contact your subscribers on a regular basis (that’s not a sales pitch) to provide them with valuable information that may be of interest to them.

So now that we’ve talked in depth about all of the advantages of having a blog for yourself or your business, what are the disadvantages?

Well, the only real disadvantage is that it does require a certain level of commitment. It’s recommended that you post fresh content to your blog a minimum of 2-3 times per week. For some people, this can be a daunting task. As entrepreneurs, we’re commonly faced with a lack of time to get everything done that should be done.

But don’t fret, there is a solution. There are many services available that can write content for you to publish to your blog. A word of warning however, you’re always better off to write your own posts because as your prospects read your articles, they begin to get a glimpse of you and your personality or a taste of your business style and culture.