From the Fall 2007 issue of our newsletter, Let's Grow. For a FREE subscription, CLICK HERE

Blogging For Business

How This New Phenomenon Can Help Your Business Grow

Blogs, once the realm of pundits, have matured into tools to help businesses increase search engine rankings, reach new prospects and connect with customers. According to one survey, 55% of corporations now have blogs. Here’s a brief guide to business blogging.

What’s a Blog? A blog is a series of online postings, dated and listed in reverse chronological order. Postings are articles, about 100 to 300 words each, often with web links and images. The blog is hosted either on your own site or that of an outside service, such as Wordpress or Typepad. Readers can view it on your web site, subscribe to receive it by email, or get it in real-time by RSS feed. Most blogs allow readers to post comments on blog entries.

Producing a blog is surprisingly easy.Many services with ready-made templates allow users to publish a blog without special technical knowledge.They range from free to a few hundred dollars per year.The main expense is your time, or the cost to outsource the writing and production.

Benefits of Blogging. An active blog keeps web site content fresh, which the search engines love. Regular blogging can boost search engine rankings dramatically.Not only can new prospects can find your blog (thereby discovering your web site) through traditional search engines, but search engines specifically for blogs also exist.

A blog helps keep your company top-of-mind with customers and prospects.It’s a great way to provide helpful information on a regular basis.And since readers can post comments on each day’s blog, it’s an effective way to learn what’s on their mind.

Integrated statistics packages can tell you how many people visit your blog and which posts are most popular.Between that and the interactive nature of most blogs, it’s a great way to get feedback on new products.

A blog provides an ideal forum for establishing your expertise in a particular subject.And remember, consumers aren’t the only ones reading blogs.They’re also a great resource for journalists looking for new stories and experts to quote.

What to Look For. When choosing a blog service, make sure that it offers a variety of customizable templates.That way, your blog can reflect the look and feel of your company.

Naturally, you’ll want to eliminate any free blog services that support themselves by running outside ads on your blog. Pay the extra and run ad-free.

The ability to add “tags” to your posts makes them easier to find.Tags are categories that blog search engines rely on to group related posts together.

Some blog services help you manage your archives by placing them into categories.

Other features to look for include a statistics package, a spam blocker (to filter out spam posts), and the ability to upload photos.

Best Practices. For best results, it’s important to post weekly at a minimum, if not several times per week.Focus each post on a single topic. And when writing headline and copy, weave in plenty of keywords to attract qualified traffic to your site.    

 

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