I have been looking forward to writing this column for a while. Blogging is a passion of mine as I have found that its benefits, when properly executed, can provide huge benefits in personal and professional development.
I know. I need to back up. I lost a few folks with the word "blog." Sounds like a creature from a poorly made horror movie. In fact, when they are mishandled, they can look like one too. "Blog" is short for "web log." In other words, it is a log book, or journal of sorts, that is maintained online. The result typically mirrors an online magazine. The largest difference is the ability for the reader to interact with the writer in the form of comments left on a post (or article). Most blogs have a single author while a few have found great success using multiple authors. However, these authors are often carefully chosen to match the feel and purpose of the original creator. This is primarily due to the fact that blogs can cost money in web design and hosting and often begins as a labor of love for the creator. Did I mention that it is also on the Internet? And you have seen what happens when content goes viral on the internet.
The bloggy beginnings are largely personal and political. Many of the first blogs centered on a diary type method or the political commentary of the writer. In the mainstream, blogging became popular to the masses through social websites like MySpace. However, with the use of a variety of easy to use blog platforms and the low cost of domain registration, many have found that owing their own blog is the way to go. They can have complete control of all content posted, create a marketable identity and interact with the virtual public on their own terms – mostly.
Then a neat thing happened. Bloggers realized that their content was being picked up rather quickly by the search engines. The material on a blog is, by nature, dynamic, content heavy and key word rich. These three things create a virtual trifecta of search engine jazz. Add the ability to link to the pages of others and having them link back to you, and bloggers were zooming up to page one on the steam of their own hard work.
Check out a few of these statistics as reported by the folks organizing the Blog World Expo to be held this year in Las Vegas: 12 million Americans maintain a blog, over 57 million read them, 1.7 million say they make money at it, 87 percent of businesses believe in the importance of the blog growing over the next five years and Technorati tracks over 70 million blogs with 120,000 new ones created daily. Did I mention they also claim that of the 100 most popular websites in the world, 22 of them are blogs?
At this point, I am thinking you probably know where I am going with all this. The ability to have a website move up through the search engine ranks is undoubtedly very attractive to revenue producing outlets – business. It is no secret that I am a believer in the effective business website as a necessity – not an option. Our technical savvy society is growing less patient everyday with being unable to find your attractive spot on the web. They demand to be able to peruse you and your business at an arm’s length on their own terms. However, just because you have a website doesn’t mean anybody can find it or will be impressed with it once they get there.
As many of you know, I could talk about blogging for the next three pages. But I am going to stop with the previously mentioned basics. We will pick up with some other bloggy topics in the future. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you think.
April Groves covers all things business for the Bryan County News. You can send thoughts, press releases, tips and questions you’d like answered to firstname.lastname@example.org