In recent years, blogs have gone from being an innovative way to boost one’s business to a virtual necessity. The word blog is simply a combination of the words “Web” and “log.” Peter Merholz Is credited with coining the term back in 1999 when he added it to his site’s sidebar.
A blog is a sort of “one-page website,” although it is really much more than that. Those who create blogs are called bloggers, and their posts show up on the blog’s front page in descending order by date. Special blogging software allows for this as well as for readers comment on posts. So in a sense, a blog is a sort of discussion.
Blogs are a great leveler. Blog creation is equally accessible to users of Macs, PCs and mobile devices such as the iPad. There is even a WordPress app for the iPhone.
A blog can be about anything, but in the early days it was mainly a medium for the blogger’s thoughts, activities and reflections on life. In a sense, it was a type of online journal or diary.
Over time, the definition of the word “blog” expanded, and today blogs are used not only as a form of self-expression but as a way to build one’s business.
The concept of blogs has been both used and abused in recent years. A recent occurrence is the appearance of the so-called spam blogs or “splogs,” blogs that contain little useful or original content.
The vast community of bloggers makes up what is known as the “blogosphere.” The actions of the individual bloggers help to build up (or in some cases damage) the blogosphere’s reputation.
Fortunately, you can build your online business and contribute positively to the blogosphere at the same time. The blogosphere has a set of rules with which you must familiarize yourself in order to become a successful blogger.
The first and most important rule is that your blog must contribute something useful. You should publish valuable content and not just advertisements. This is one of the things that differentiate a true blog from a “splog.”
This needn’t conflict with your goal of creating a business or marketing blog. If you know how to create an effective blog, you can use it to build interest for your product and service without loading it up with marketing hype. This type of blog will help your business and contribute useful content to the blogosphere at the same time.
Of course you are allowed to promote your product as long as you provide value. You can also open discussions and encourage people to reply to your posts.
If you are anxious to participate in all avenues that can help you build your business and gain recognition for your products, then the blogosphere can offer many opportunities. However, improperly handled, it can create problems for you.
You will not be able to fully control what potential (or previous) clients and customers say in comments on your posts, and they might expose issues that you would rather be ignored. Not following up with or reacting to comments or failing to address the issues raised to the satisfaction of the commenters could make you look bad.
There are now many millions of people the world over participating in the blogosphere, which not only gives you an idea of the scope of your competition but of your potential customers as well. However, you want to engender positive feelings about what you have to offer.
It is not necessary to avoid controversial issues on your blog (in fact, blogs thrive on controversy) but only if they are directly related to your business or service. Handle this properly and you can outflank competitors as well as traditional information outlets.
If you gain an excellent reputation in your business thanks to your blog, you can greatly boost its SEO and tap into a valuable resource that puts you ahead of your competitors.
It is quite possible that your blog posts could come up first in many search results for your product or service. However, being a successful blogger requires confidence in what you have to offer. In this way, you can enjoy all the benefits of blogging.
About the Author: Tim Arends is the webmaster of Internet Mac Marketing, a site dedicated to proving that you don’t have to “be a PC” to be an Internet marketer.