According to Wikipedia (one of our favorites by the way), as of Feb. 2011 there were over 156 million of them in existence and according to CNET news, 2 new ones are born every second. What are they? Blogs. What kind of word is "blog" anyway? It's an abbreviated blend of "web log". Ever wonder why your company... any company for that matter... needs a blog? Even the word sounds boring. Blog. Blaaaaahg. Blah-Blah-Blah-g. Blogging takes a lot of thought, needs consistent effort, and... most challenging of all... needs to actually be interesting or useful. This is one case where less is definitely not more. You need to blog frequently in order to reap the benefits. Definitely not for those with commitment issues. So the question is: Why bother? Don't you have enough to do already?
Here's a short list of reasons why you should seriously consider blogging:
It promotes your website through SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Search engines want to see that you have an active website, and a new blog post will be seen as new activity. Without getting all tech-y and boring on you, here's the scoop: The more quality links to your website, the higher the ranking in search engines. So... think: Blog... links... higher SEO ranking... more visitors. Remember: It's all about the links.
It is an opportunity to educate your customers, present and future. A famous clothing retail chain had a very successful advertising campaign based upon the slogan, "An educated consumer is our best customer". That adage applies to every company out there. A blog containing meaningful content (there's the challenge!) can help your reader learn more about your business and his business. A blog should have content that is of interest to your audience, and that helps them in some way.
It can create a stronger bond with your visitors who are not yet customers. Remember: The more pages a visitor reads on your website, the closer they become to making a buying decision with your company. That's no laughing matter; it's a proven fact. So, how many pages does your website have? If you have a frequently-updated blog and if (emphasis on the "if" here), the blog is engaging and useful to the reader, they will keep reading... and that's a good thing.
It can nurture the relationships you already have with customers. Make your blog a warm and fuzzy place for existing customers. Take opportunities to feature customers or endorse partners. Invite customers to write "guest blogs". After all, they are no doubt experts in their field, so your customers can learn from each other. "What's in it for them", you ask? Offer a link back to their website. Remember: It's all about the links (see #1 above). Blog links are a Win/Win.
It can shine a light on your Web store. If you have a shopping cart and sell via the Web, blogging can improve your store's visibility on the Web, establish you as an "expert" in your field, and create new ways for people to find your store. Universal clients using our Web Order Download interface to the Sales Order module have that entire side of the operation down pat. Instead of wasting time manually keying in orders, they use the Order upload function and..Voilà... more time to focus on promoting their Web store. Less time for data entry, more time to blog.
So we've got the "WHY" - we know why blogging can be good for our businesses. Next question: HOW? Is there a "right" way to blog? Stay tuned...