Most estimates put the number of blogs around now at around 150-200 million. The Nielsen company put the number at 156 million in February 2011.
So they are big news…but should your Redcliffe small business be using them in your online marketing efforts?
Evolution of Blogs
“Blog” is short for weblog and the term was coined in 1997 – it was used casually by an online journal writer and just stuck.
Turning “weblog” into “we blog” made it a verb that people picked up on and started using and by 1999 blogs started to hit mainstream consciousness.By 2004 they had truly “made it” when politicians started using them.
A blog may be a separate web site or part of a web site. They have traditionally been written by an individual and most commonly they have entries in reverse chronological order – with the latest entries listed first.
Blogs started as an easy way to publish online content and develop an online community all using the same “language”. They brought the realm of online journal writing to the many because of the simple format they used and because you didn’t need to be a “techie” to get things published.
Over the years the blog format has been simplified further and virtually anyone can manage a simple blog nowadays.
Think about Facebook or Twitter and how easy it is to publish things on the web now. Not too long ago you needed a degree in computer studies to do it!
Indeed, services like Twitter, Posterous and Tumblr are really “microblogs” (Twitter allows 140 charcters) and emerged from the breakthroughs that early bloggers made in bringing publishing ability to the “masses”.
The WordPress format, which many of you will have read about or even use, provides different templates for you to use for your blog.
Advantages to a Small Business
- Share the Latest News
Blogs allow you to update readers very rapidly with the latest industry news, what’s going on with your small business, new products or personal news.
Blogs are another entry point into your web site and so they show up in search engines, having the ability to drive further traffic to your site.
They are extra pages of content attached to your site and are updated regularly, which are both features that search engines love. So blogs are a true form of “search engine optimisation”.
- Credibility and Expertise
Building credibility and expertise in your field is vital for any online business. People will only do business online with you if they are convinced that your small business can deliver what it says.
By showing your readers that you know what you’re talking about this will help position you as an authority on the subject.
- Create “Chatter”
Blogs have the ability to get people talking – which creates “chatter” and publicity for you. After the blog post there should be a comments section, where people can leave thoughts and the writer can reply. These replies create extra interest in the blog post from other people too.
So blogs can become a type of discussion forum and are part of the social media arena in general, because they offer an interactive experience.
- Automatic Alerts
When blogs are used in conjunction with RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeder software on readers’ computers, phones or tablets, they are alerted when your blog is updated, without even having to check your web site, ensuring you stay at the front of their minds.
There you have it! 5 reasons why your small business should be using a blog. Video blogs are changing the game again but that’s a subject for another day…there will be more on this topic.
In the meantime why not tell us what a blog has achieved for your Redcliffe small business in the comments section below…and let’s create some “chatter”.