Recently, I've been thinking more about blogs and blogging, with some surprising results. While most folks appear to support the idea of using blogs in business, if you already have and active business website, right now, I can still see serious drawbacks if your blog is not an actual physical part of your own website. By that I mean created as an internal section of your website design, not as an add-on from Blogger, WordPress, or any other third-party blog software provider. Here's why.
First, let's explore some basics about blogs and blogging.
What Is a Blog?
To recap, a blog can be defined as a web publishing solution that contains the following characteristics:
- A web log, interactive journal or online diary.
- The blog author regularly publishes blog topics that he or she thinks is important or relevant to the goal of the blog.
- Relevant web links may also be included in a blog.
- A blog may include calendar and event listing functions.
- Blog visitors are often allowed to add their own comments.
The Key Component That Makes A Great Blog
Even though a blog can offer a simple, low-cost, basic way to at least set up a partial web presence, I've never really hit off with the idea of having a blog in addition to an existing website. Right now, I just can't see strong enough benefits. I'm sure many may disagree - and that's OK.
Having evaluated quite a few blogs, some awful, some amazingly good, perhaps the most important limitation, at least as it seems to me, revolves around an idea that we don't often here about.
Many blogs look so similar to each other that most simply not seem to have their own "personality". Why is blog personality important? To connect or make an impression with others at a sufficient level that a relationship is formed, as a blog provider, you have to find a way for your blog to appear as though it is written by a real, likable, human being rather than some faceless software. Blog users don't necessarily have to like a blog author, however, I believe they do at least have to feel some level of respect for the writer of a blog, in order to continue to "connect" or read a blog.
Key tip: two traits above most others that can help you "win" on the web are character and individuality. The Internet is already drowning in anonymity and "corporateness", so do all you can to avoid appearing like what I refer to as a "gray or beige website".
Gray and beige are of course the kinds of background colors that blend in with most foreground items. That's why you definitely don't want your website or blog to merge in with the millions of other blog sites currently on the web.
On the commercial web at least, having a business "face" that seems similar to most everyone else around you, is a fundamental error. You absolutely, definitely don't want to look like your competitors, or appear in that same "group" in the eyes of your visitors, clients, customers, buyers and potential buyers.
The glass bottles tip: imagine 49 ordinary plain glass bottles sitting on a wall, then add one made of colored glass. Doesn't matter where you put the colored glass bottle, of the 50 in front of you, which one immediately stands out?
Key tip: those that create a favorable first impression always have an edge over events that follow. Your web business is like that. You must be perceived differently from the crowd - and if you've done your market research homework for the market you serve, you'll have a willing, hungry crowd waiting for you to serve them.
The Biggest Drawback Of A Blog?
Most functional features that a blog may offer are already available in a smart web Content Management System (CMS) such as the platform we use here at http://www.internettips.com/. That's why if you make a blog part of a modern website, then your blog can work for you with minimal effort.
Key tip: by having a blog built in to your website, you may also secure additional search engine benefits. Why? When you link to a blogger, WordPress, or other provider blog, search engines know that you're going to a different website, so the blog provider gains some benefit. When you keep your blog "in-house" on your own website, and provide a link to your blog that includes the words "Blog", "Web Blog" or "Blog News" within the link, search engine software knows that you have a blog inside of your own site, that it may contain important news and may therefore assign any additional benefits to your own website, rather than any outside party.
Yet even though an "outside" blog can make a useful companion to an existing website, in that scenario, surely your blog deserves the same level of important consideration as you would give to your main website? That brings me to the real sticking point that I have with "outside" blogs: setting up and managing a blog significantly increases your overall website workload, so you have to be sure that the benefits gained do ensure the extra work of setting up, running and maintaining an "outside" blog are justified.
That's why, if you're serious about building a web business, apart from the benefits of getting additional back-links to your main website from a blog, you may be better off simply investing in a web business platform that already comes with blog features built in, and then using those to add valuable content more often and more effectively, instead of adding an "outside" blog and potentially doubling your workload.
An internal blog can mean:
- Less work for you (no outside website systems to learn).
- Similar standard benefits that are part of any blog.
- Perhaps additional search engine benefits when using an "internal" blog (as outlined above).
- Less scattering of available resources.
- Tighter focus on your core website promotion methods.
- And so on.
Key point: a admirable goal is become more profitable thereby having the choice to work less, not more, should you decide that option. Working too hard can kill you; smart work habits simply give you more choice in how you want to live your life.
A Particularly Interesting Insight - From A Blogger
Some time ago, I read an interesting, amusing tongue-in-cheek definition of what a blogger is from venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki. He thinks a blog is for "... someone with nothing to say, writing for someone with nothing to do."
Such a blunt, poignant description offers another superb example of someone "shaking things up" said or written at the risk of upsetting or offending some readers. The idea is to "say it differently". If we say the same thing, share the same message, as everyone else, who's going to pay any attention.
Nevertheless, perhaps therefore, if we provide a blog, make sure that the content we make available is not trite or pointless, instead is worthy of our readers' time taken to access our blog.
I'm reminded of reading somewhere that within in every comedy, lies a hidden truth. Clearly, Guy Kawasaki is one blogger who by not taking himself too seriously, has created a particularly successful blog: a lesson for us all. His sensible, moderate, sober and yet often hilarious style earns instant respect, whereas a web loudmouth is almost guaranteed to have me clicking away through the exit door.
Reading from high caliber blogs can offer a welcome interruption. This is one blog, of many no doubt, that actually contributes something worthwhile to our world. What do you think? You can read more from Guy Kawasaki's blog here: http://blog.guykawasaki.com/