There are lots of different opinions and descriptions of what a blog is, so it would seem sensible to start with a brief overview.

The name comes from a contraction of web log and it started life as a personal online publishing system. The blog would be a place on the internet where the author (normally an individual) could publish their thoughts and opinions on whatever subject they liked. These would then appear in chronological order.

Start Point

A good place to start for some background on blogs is Wikipedia. They describe a blog as:

“The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”.

These are all true and yet only provide half the story. A blog is effectively a special type of website which has allowed people who previously had no real access to publishing on the web to write and express their own opinions. There are also now very important marketing tools for businesses (see below).

Special Characteristics

So what are the special characteristics that blogs have which make them so great both for personal use and for business use. Well, the main ones are:

  • No technical knowledge required: you dont need technical expertise to write a blog. You add pages or articles through a “Windows” type of interface so there is no need to rely on a web designer to update it for you.

  • Readers can leave comments: your readers can respond to your posts so that you can start see whos interested in the same areas as you or as a business open a conversation with potential clients, suppliers or partners. The perfect opener to developing a relationship and a network!

  • Automatically organised: ‘categories’ and ‘archives’ are integral parts of a blog and each post will automatically be placed correctly according to the selection you make. This gives great organisation and structure to a blog which is perfect for visitors and Search Engines alike and allow you to concentrate on the content

  • Search Engine magnets: with regular posts, categorised content and search engine friendly links and addresses, business blogs become ideal places for Search Engines to find the type of content they love and you can rank very highly!

  • Multiple Authors: not only can one person add content but you can allow access to any number of people so that you have several authors contributing to a topic or a series of topics. It also opens up the possibilities for blogs as tools ideally suited to internal communications within a company.
  • Internal and External Links: blogs thrive by links and referring to other articles so that conversations and ideas can be taken up and developed. At its best, this allows a viral effect in terms of promotion and helps develop both relationships and networks.

  • Permalinks: every post and every category has its own individual address, forever! This means that you can refer to them in articles, emails, newsletters etc safe in the knowledge that they will always be found. Another great feature for the Search Engines.

Business Blogs

However, over the past 12 – 18 months, this technology has been adopted to a much larger extent by businesses as a new and very powerful marketing tool which has allowed them to communicate with their customers, enter into dialogue with them and helped to create relationships and networks online. As a result, many companies has successfully used them to help to dominate their niche and market themselves more effectively to customers and prospects alike.

To learn more about Business Blogs and how to use them, you may find our own Business Blogging email course to be useful. It’s free but very good! :)

Personal Blogs

A personal blog is generally set up to allow the author to discuss their views on anything and everything, so the topics change with each post according to mood or inclination. This is where blogs started and it is essentially a personal diary or scrapbook, which can be great fun to both read and write.

There are now tools which are freely available to allow anyone to set up a personal blog quickly and simply – while these are not advised for a Business Blog simply because they offer less control over a tool which will become key to your business. The most well know is Blogger, owner by Google, though there are others which are as good if not as well known.

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