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What Are Blogs?
by: Sharon Housley
What are Blogs?

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. It's 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. It's 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 tools that help 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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc.
http://www.notepage.net a company specializing in
alphanumeric paging, SMS and wireless messaging software
solutions. Other sites by Sharon can be found at
http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com , and
http://www.messaging-software.net

 



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