Blogging is an easy way to place your viewpoint on the internet. You login and you type, maybe add an image or two, press a key and wow in seconds your work is on the web and can be read by potentially millions of people throughout the world.
Many write a personal blog telling the story of their lives: their family life; their fight with an addiction; their battle with cancer; their life as a policeman or doctor or teacher or sex worker; people talk of their personal life; their political life; their view of politics; their view of religion or their love affair with computing, gadgets or cars.
The small business owner, the freelancer, the web designer, the person with something to sell, the big corporation, the news collumnist, the technology producer, the campaigner, the charity all use the blog to increase the number of visitors to their website, boost awareness of their interests and to communicate with their potential clients, customers, followers, subscribers and friends.
So what is a blog?
In a nutshell a blog is a software system that allows someone to quickly and easily write an article, called a post, which can then be published onto the web. Traditionally blogs post their posts consecutively in reverse order, so that the most recent post is displayed on the front page.
The blogging software packages managing the users’ text, images, videos and sounds are growing more and more sophisticated. They allow the writer to promote their blog, themsleves and their business, their hobby and their concerns and their issues. A blog allows the user to link to to other sites, place advertisements and sell products. New plugins allow blogs to be turned into closed membership sites, picture galleries or shops.
The humble blog has now moved into the world of sophisticated content management systems the only true definition of a blog is a web based information system that is often updated. A secondary characteristic is usually the ability for readers of the blog to add comments. A growing trend is for a blog to broadcast its posts to feeds and to send titles and some content to social media, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Blogs can be updated by a group of people updating a site several times a day, such as Huffington Post; regularly updated blogs, Daily Blog Tips, to blogs that are updated on an irregular basis, when the writer just feels like writing a post, or the business blogger that issues new posts only when there is a product update or important news item.
So why should you blog?
A blog can be one of the best methods of building up a presence on the web for an individual, to promote a website, business or service. The blog posts build a bigger target for the search engines, such as Google, to hit. The regular postings tells the search engine that there is a constant stream of new content, which in turn improves the site’s search engine rating.
A blog builds up a network of contacts through comments, links with other bloggers and through social media. As the blog grows in popularity it builds up the authority of the writer, which could improve sales, reputation or public awareness . In quite a few cases the writer becomes an acknowledged expert and becomes a consultant, a speaker or develops the blog into an ebook or even a published book.
From a personal point of view writing a blog not only improves a person’s ability to write but helps them to think clearly about their chosen subject. This also improves their general communication techniques and boosts their self confidence. For many people a blog demonstrates their skill at handling internet technology, which can boost their career or would look on their resume when applying for another job.
OK there are a number of negatives to being a blogger. It does require quite a lot of commitment. It can distract the writer from doing other work. It can distract from other marketing techniques, such as directly phoning potential clients. A blog needs to be more than just written – it must be regularly promoted to be successful.
Over to you
Use Google to search for business blogs, technolgy blogs and personal blogs. Look at a couple of sample blogs from each type of blog and read a few posts from each blog. See how they are structured. Examine the blogger’s writing style.
Tell me your thoughts.