A blog is nothing but a journal published on the Web. It is an abbreviation of the term ‘Weblog’. Weblogs consists of short distinct entries, frequently updated and usually exhibited in reverse sequential order; so the most recent post appears first. Blogs are often the work of a single individual, although sometimes it can be created by small groups or be themed on a single subject.
The term was officially coined by Jorn Barger in 1997. The trend of weblogs escalated in 1999, when several companies and developers introduced easy blogging software and tools. Since then, till date the number of blogs has gone from a few thousand to over a 100 million.
Blogs mainly branch out into two general categories:
- Personal Blog — It is a combination diary of opinion posts and research links. It is a personal journal where the author shares her life and thoughts on a day to day basis.
- Business or Corporate Blogs — It is a corporate tool for communicating not only with clients but also the employees. It serves as a platform to share knowledge and expertise.
Business blogs are more popular than personal blogs. Business blogs are sweeping the business community. They are an excellent means of sharing expertise, build additional web traffic, and connect with potential customers. They also play a vital role for promoting and marketing the service of the product of a business association.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of blogging for a small business:
- Blogs are easy to create and are user friendly. All one has to do is write down their thoughts, link to sources and publish it.
- It is an economical alternative to having a website.
- It is ideal for owners that do not have the time to learn web html or the resources to hire a web designer.
- Updating blogs are much faster than depending on the web designer for making changes.
- Business blogs provide small businesses a possibility to share expertise and knowledge with an outsized audience. An influential advantage for consultants and knowledge workers.
- It is a great means of making debut on the internet.
- Easy to update status on Social networking sites.
Having said that, blogging may not be slightly challenging for small businesses. Blogging does not provide the functionality of web pages, has limits for e-commerce solutions. The truth is blogging is time consuming. It demands a serious commitment of being updated on a regular basis. If no person involved in the business can spare a few hours time and again, hiring a professional writer would be the solution for maintain the blog. That would not necessarily be a penny wise option. If the blog is not updated regularly, it would be a mess. This would make a worse impression than not having one at all.
Sure blogs will generate great exposure, but won’t enhance sales unless the owner knows how to. The initial success of a blog might make one delusional about its long term accomplishment. There are thousands of new blogs, being launched everyday but not every blog tastes success. Blogs have to be promoted after a post has been written, for which a blogger requires social media skills.
Some basic, but extremely important must haves for small business blogs:
- It should have an area allocated to the main content only.
- The posts must be regular; content should be arranged in a chronological manner and specific.
- The content should be segregated by category.
- An archive must be maintained for older posts.
- An area dedicated to the people to leave their comments/ feedback.
- It would be ideal if the blog would provide a list of other related links.
- Sure there should be an option like ‘Vote me’ and ‘subscribe’, but it should never be posted all over the main page.
- Comment on other’s blog as well. It will make blogging more than a means of doing business; it will make blogging enjoyable.
Any company’s goodwill will be at jeopardy, if it is represented by a sloppy, typo filled post. Companies can establish a wide writing style that is consistent, keeping visitors interested and involved. Irrespective of the size of the business, a blog needs to be clean, organized and inviting, period.
A well maintained and vigorous blog would make readers come back and take the next step, i.e. subscribe.