Blogs are websites with dated items of content in reverse chronological order, self-published by bloggers. Items – sometimes called posts - may have keyword tags associated with them, are usually available as feeds, and often allow commenting.
Traditional websites have pages as their main building blocks, with an address link (URL) for each page, and menus to provide navigation between them.
Blogs are websites where the items of content - for example text, photos, video, audio - have URLs plus other ways of identifying them by keywords - known as tags. This means you can search for individuals items on the Net, and also pull items out of their sites and remix them through feeds and aggregation.
Blogs are generally designed in journal format, with most recent items at the top of a page, and written in a conversational, personal style, giving the author an authentic voice online.
Blogs can offer readers the opportunity to comment on, and link to items. Because blog items can be made available from the site in a stream of content - known as an RSS feed - you can subscribe to them and read them through a newsreader or aggregator.
That means you don't have to visit a blog site to read it - you can pull the content to your desktop or a single website aggregator.
Blogs are easy to set up, and update.
There are many free blog creation sites. www.Blogger.com and www.Wordpress.com are the biggest and most used.
Their disadvantage is that items can get buried under the growing heap of new content unless the author provides some signposting.
Research shows that more people are reading blogs, those people expect your company to have a social media presence, and blogs influence their purchasing decisions. Those sound like very compelling reasons for companies to start blogging or to improve their existing blog!
"Sixty percent of Americans use social media, and of those, 59 percent interact with companies on social media Web sites. One in four interacts more than once per week.
According to the survey, 93 percent of social media users believe a company should have a presence in social media, while an overwhelming 85 percent believe a company should not only be present but also interact with its consumers via social media. In fact, 56 percent of users feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment.
“The news here is that Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” explains Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone, “it isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion.” (Quoted from Cone: September 25, 2008)"
Should Your Company Have a Blog?
Yes and no. The benefits of blogging seem to be fairly clear; however, these benefits are only achieved when the blog is updated regularly with great content. Unfortunately, this can be a significant time commitment. For companies who are not willing to put in the time and effort, it is better not to have a blog than to have a blog that hasn’t been updated in months.
Here are a few things to think about:
- Can you commit to at least one post per week? (2-3 is better)
- Do you or do you have people who have interesting things to say and with good writing skills?
- Can you or is someone available to manage the process and make sure that the blog never gets neglected?
If the answer to any of the above questions is no, this might not be the right time for you to start a blog.
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