Where did the word blog come from anyway? That’s what I was thinking this morning, and then I remembered, “Ah, yes, weblog!” That was a long time ago in Internet years, but then it got me thinking that although the word has been in our lexicon for a good while now, people, especially small business owners, are missing out on the benefits a blog can bring to their online business.
All this thinking on my part came about because I have been working with a client recently who is still, despite my best efforts, resisting setting up a blog. It’s not a financial thing, it’s a mind-block thing.
I get asked questions a lot like, “What exactly is a blog?” or, “Who came up with the word blog?” and “How do I start my own blog?” So let’s look at these questions because they are basic and fundamental, but they are often stumbling points for small business owners who are not blog savvy enough.
What exactly is a blog? A blog is a standalone website, or part of your website, where you write posts about whatever your heart desires. I’ve noticed that often clients are confused about a blog being on their website, they think it is something separate. It can be both – this site is. I use static pages for company information pages and posts for the blog section.
The benefits of a blog are many – search engines love sites that are updated frequently and blogs by their very nature are updated a lot. Having dated posts staring at your visitors show them how often you blog and they like to come back to sites that change frequently. So, the more you can blog, the better.
Also, blogs are great because they enable dialogue. People get to ‘know’ you through your frequent communication; they can comment back to you and get into conversation. Now that’s a real benefit because when they are dialoging with you they are building a relationship with you, and that helps business.
Who came up with the word blog? Well the original word is weblog, as in logging stuff found on the web, and the credit goes to a guy called Jorn Barger. Barger has promoted anti-Semitic views online so I will not promote his blog by linking to it, just Google him if you are interested in seeing what his weblog looks like.
How do I start my own blog? There are many good services available to get you on a blogging path in less than 10 minutes [see blogger.com and wordpress.com for example] but there is something you need to bear in mind: limitations.
Using a free blogging service means limitations. You are limited to the url you use, widget and template availability. If you don’t want to stand out, or make your blog blend in with your site, then these are good options – you also have the benefit of coming up in searches on those sites’ homepages, thus enabling more people to find your blog. If you like Adsense then know that wordpress.com doesn’t let you monetize your blog that way but blogger.com will.
I love WordPress, not just as a blogging platform, but as a web design platform. It’s got great benefits over Joomla, depending on a site’s functionality, and is not a Content Management System in the same way Joomla is, but it allows a small business owner great flexibility and ease of use when editing their site.
Using WordPress on your own server isn’t a free option because you need to pay for hosting, but it allows you greater freedom to have a custom website design made, the addition of any widgets you like, thus adding more interest to your site, and the knowledge that your site might not disappear overnight because you are not complying to another’s terms and conditions.
If you are thinking about blogging but don’t know where to start, just remember that blogging has allowed millions of ordinary people to be heard amongst an inordinately large crowd and is responsible for poor grammar and a lowering of communication skills never before thought possible! However, blogging connects, and it connects in highly effective ways so get a blog and start blogging, your business will thank you.
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