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What Are Blogs?

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Having heard the term previously but not having paid much attention most are just to afraid to show their ignorance and ask the question, what is a blog? Lets face it; the term blog does not conjure pleasant images. Blogs are web logs that are updated regularly, usually on a daily basis. They contain information related to a specific topic. In some cases blogs are used as daily diaries about people’s personal lives, political views, or even as social commentaries. The truth of the matter is that blogs can be shaped into whatever you, the author, want them to be.

Where Did Blogs Come From? The roots of blogging can be traced back to the mid 1990′s. Who the very first blogger actually was is unclear, as the art of blogging did not really take hold until 1999. The original “weblogs” were link-driven sites with personal commentaries. The very first blogs were human guided Internet web tours. While initially thought of as diaries or online journals, blogs have evolved into the latest fresh web content.

The Future of Blogs A buzz word in techie circles, “blogging” is the wave of the future. Whether its a fad, or proves to be a new way to communicate with existing and potential customers it deserves at the very least a cursory look.

Why is Blogging Helpful to Businesses or Individuals? Just as animated .gifs were once cool, blogging is the trendy thing to do. That does not mean that it is not beneficial to businesses. Webmasters struggling to keep fresh, attractive content on their websites to lure visitors back, have found blogs the answer. Content is a necessity for online businesses, both for purposes of being found by search engines but also because it gives visitors a reason to come back.

Now that we have established that blogs are not only trendy but also beneficial to businesses, its important to understand how they can be used to your advantage. We currently manage and update three blogs on a daily basis. The first is our new business blog at:

http://www.notepage.net/blog.htm

This professional business blog allows us the opportunity to tell potential, or existing customers industry news, updates, or generally how mobile or paging software can be used in specific situations to alleviate problems. The bottom line is we control the content. Its updated daily, which increases the chances that search engines will spider on a regular basis and it helps with page rank because it’s been submitted to all the blogging directories. Initially started on a whim we’ve found it beneficial to report tips, tricks or make visitors aware of new regulations related to the mobile or paging industry.

The second blog we manage is at:

http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/blog.html

This blog is less formal and contains marketing tips, or promotional advice for software developers or online marketers. We found that we had overflow from our monthly newsletter. Generating a daily blog would require very little effort and would assist us in creating fresh content which our readers told us was of significant interest.

The third blog is a combination of both styles and contains tips for small businesses. The small business blog is located at:

http://www.small-business-software.net

Blogs & Your Business The bottom line is you need to determine how a blog will benefit your business, determine a schedule and adhere to it. Let your readers know what to expect and when to expect it. Blogs provide great supplemental content and direct attention to areas of your business that you want to showcase; you direct the content but let your readers guide you.

Creating a Blog There are numerous online tools that can be used to create a blog. We found that because of security concerns, it would just be best to use a standard html program. In our case we used Dreamweaver and create daily posts. Its really not much more complicated than typing an email. The content is then sent via FTP to a web server. If you want to test the waters there are online web-based tool that helps you publish to the web instantly. The most popular web based tool is likely Blogger http://www.blogger.com.

Other Advantages to Blogs While you may initially create a blog for your existing customers, you may find that you can attract new customers by illustrating your expertise in a specific field. There are numerous websites that act as “blog search engines”, be sure to submit your sites to these websites to increase your exposure. This will also help with your page rank and possibly increase the likelihood you will receive decent ranking with Google. You can also create an RSS feed in order to syndicate blog content and gain additional exposure.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing,
publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon
manages marketing for FeedForDev http://www.feedfordev.com
an RSS component for developers.

What Are Blogs?
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