What is a Blog?
“Blog” and “blogging” are words that have only recently crept into common use. According to Wikipedia:
A blog (a portmanteau of the term web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).
The emergence and growth of blogs in the late 1990s coincided with the advent of web publishing tools that facilitated the posting of content by non-technical users. (Previously, a knowledge of such technologies as HTML and FTP had been required to publish content on the Web.)
Dictionary.com gives the origin of “blog” as 1995-2000. Originally, many blogs were simply online journals or diaries where people recorded their day-to-day thoughts and activities. Nowadays this is the province of social media, and blogs have, in many cases, transformed into marketing tools.
Why Write a Blog?
As mentioned above, blogs have moved on from simply being online diaries, although there are still many very successful blogs that do take this format – travel blogs are particularly widespread. So why would you need a blog for your business?
There are lots of compelling reasons to set up a business blog. Let’s look at some of them.
- Blogging is a simple way to share content that is relevant to your business and that your potential clients/customers will find helpful. When someone needs information about a particular topic, they don’t go to their local paper or Yellow Pages nowadays. In the vast majority of cases they go to Google (or possibly another search engine) – in other words, they look for information online. A well optimised blog is likely to rank well in search results.
- By its nature, a blog is updated frequently, and Google gives preference to sites that regularly update with fresh content. So blogging regularly will boost your SEO.
- When you blog about your business, you are demonstrating your expertise. Do this consistently over a period of time, and people will begin to recognise you as the “go-to” person in your niche and they will keep coming back to your blog whenever they need information. When they keep coming back, they’re getting to know, like and trust you – and that could well lead to them doing business with you in due course.
- You should look at blogging as a marketing activity. The most successful businesses spend at least an hour per day on marketing. That’s just 5 hours per week. Work it into your schedule just as you do with appointments, phone calls and your other business activities.
- It’s very easy to share blog posts on social networks. You need to include suitable sharing icons / links, but this is straightforward if you use a platform such as WordPress (as I do for my website and blog). When these sharing icons are readily accessible, readers are far more likely to share your posts to their own networks, and their contacts may well re-share. Imagine how powerful that could be for your online visibility!
- You can set up your blog to collect email addresses with an opt-in form (as I’ve done with my free Facebook Ads Checklist). That way, you’re creating a list of people who are already interested in what you have to offer, so it’s easier to send them marketing messages. Think of how that compares to cold calling or emailing to a purchased list.
What Do I Write About?
This is a frequently asked question! I’ll take a look at the possibilities in my next post, so stay tuned!
What do you think? Have you set up a business blog already, or would you like to? If you’re blogging already, I’d love to hear how it’s working for you. Please let me know in the comments below!