The nature of a blog
Blog, which is an abbreviation for the term, weblog, is a piece of Internet technology which provides individuals with a platform to publish content in a number of different forms; including text, video, audio (podcasts) and photos. The activity of blogging has grown tremendously over the past decade to include users (bloggers) from all over the world, many of whom utilize it to publish and update posts, crop up entries of personalized life snippets that are mundane or bizarre in nature. For most bloggers, however, a blog is personal, unedited and authentic in nature; a journal meant to be shared in an online community.
Blogsites are locations on the Web where bloggers can publish anything; from their thoughts, feelings and photos, to special events, experiences and comments on issues, in addition to many other types of content. A blogsite in its truest form is similar to an online diary to which entries are made in a variety of content types that might encompass videos, links, documents, newsletters and opinions on just about any topic the reader might have interest in.
Personal blogs are created and intended to welcome the insights, opinions and comments of all comers, and therefore should not be written in a way that could be thought of as intimidating, or in a way that readers might consider as too formal in context; because such a blog can turn off readers and cause them to turn away and never return. The basic blog should be conversational in tone and context, a format which would be more appropriate to reach desired audiences.
Blog functions and advantages
Blogging can reasonably be described as being all about individuals reaching out to other individuals, and as such, blogs have their own sets of advantages, some of which might include the following:
- Freedom of expression – If you want people to hear you out and give their own opinions, blogging is one of the best ways to create a line of communication;
- Networking at its best – Having a blog is a good platform for exchanging genuine ideas from your readers to you as marketer of certain products. Sound opinions and points of view are often better than simply showing the price quote;
- Excellent advertising platform – Blogging as a way to advertise products, is a refreshing change from the traditional advertising outlets, and it is cost-effective;
- Gauging public opinion on products and services – The key to this particular activity is nice, catchy titles with new ideas presented in your content. This will assure you of quick and repeated responses from your readers. Blogs are excellent locations for the exchange of ideas between sellers and consumers; and they’re good for measuring public opinion regarding products and services, and can even be effective in the political arena;
- Useful tool for internal communication – Blogging can help your company build a knowledge-based community of employees, as it is also good for harnessing employee relations and identifying human resource issues in advance;
- Other benefits like search engine optimization (SEO) will help your blog to be seen often by as many people as you wish. This is therefore very good exposure for your products and services.
Choosing a blog host
Many blog hosting services are available on the Internet, but perhaps the most important question in this regard pertains to choosing from the many Web hosting services to find one that will best suit your purposes when starting your business blog program. Business people are usually clueless to recent technological innovations which could help them maximize their marketing potentials. For blogging beginners, it is best to first study the services offered by blog hosts, because an ineffective business blogging program may damage marketing opportunities instead of enriching them.
A company might decide to do the following depending on its capacity and needs: 1) Host their own blog service, 2) Pay someone else to host the service, or 3) Setup a “blog aggregator page” and ask the employees to select their blog hosting services individually. There are paid and free services available for individuals. Business blogs are required to have the latest blogging features; if not, this will prevent them from maximizing their marketing, public relations and SEO potential.
Basic blogging essentials
COMMENTS. Welcoming comments provides the opportunity for dialogue; and for business blogs this is a good customer feedback mechanism. This helps develop better customer relations based on loyalty and trust. So blogging is an innovative way to converse with your customers.
TRACKBACK. This helps to maximize company and product exposure in the sense that, your consumers can get back to you for more posts and updates without the difficulty of locating you all over again. If your blog is popular in a specific online community, chances are that links going back to your blog site are everywhere online, other blog sites or even websites.
CATEGORIES AND TAGS. These are helpful, both in classifying blog searches for ease of navigation, as well as on site searches. Categories act as libraries because they classify posts by subject matter which might include business, distance learning, eCommerce, online auctions and much more. Tags, help in classification, especially in the blog search engine Technorati. Possible customers and new clients locate blogs about certain topics of interest by just clicking the tags.
RSS FEED. Really Simple Syndication is the feed from your blog that is sent out over the internet, and collected through the various newsreaders and aggregators.
In order for your company to establish a business blogging program, considerable options should be made available by the hosting companies with the most compatible services. Free blog hosting services are popular but they are more appropriate for individual online journals. Paid blog hosting services offer unlimited packages which may be best for your company’s needs. You may want to take a look at some blogs that already use a particular host first, by simply reading and closely examining their layout and design. Another important thing to consider is whether or not the hos provides reliable technical support.
The blog: A reflection of the blogger
After, choosing the blog host, a team should be ready to plan the design and structure of your blog in which case the team should:
- create a style that meets the needs of your audience;
- establish an open, credible tone;
- schedule weekly updating of blog – ideally, a few times a week;
- include weblinks of other website and blogs;
- blog post should be in the “first person;”
- focus on the business blog objective;and,
- maintain an honest, engaging conversational quality.
Remember, the look, style and content found on your blog is always a reflection of you and your company. Apart from the chat rooms, instant messengers and electronic mails created for communication and dialogue beyond the traditional methds of communication, blogs have emerged as the most innovative and convenient methods used by regular folks to build opportunities for interaction. The need for personalized and human elements of building online communities have changed the technological landscape of Internet life.