One of our tips earlier this week for jump starting your online presence is to start a blog. But why would you want to add yet another site to update when you already have your own website and a Twitter account to funnel out your thoughts through the day?
We knew you were going to ask that……………
1 – The personal touch
Blog is the abbreviation for weblog, which more or less started out as online journals for individuals to record their thoughts and opinions. Although the medium has developed a much broader form as more professional organizations have adopted it, blog readers still accept (and often expect) a more personal style of writing and content. Websites are generally designed to communicate information more formally and Twitter, while frequently informal in style, emphasizes short, snappy communication, often as a jumping off point to other sites with more detailed content. A blog fills that space very effectively, providing an opportunity to write and engage your audience as an individual while still spreading the word on your desired topic, product, or service.
2 – Two (or three, or four) heads are better than one
Having established that injecting personality into your blog writing is a requirement, it follows that having a variety of personalities contributing will keep content fresh and entertaining. The more you keep readers on their toes and offer a variety of insights into your particular world, the more they will want to check back and engage with your blog and, by extension, your organization or group. Again, a website is generally expected to be more functional, with a standard tone and style adopted throughout. A blog offers you the chance to involve employees, other group members, friends, or anyone else you believe might have a valuable and entertaining insight to share.
3 – Optimize yourself
Even more than social media, the online world has an overwhelming obsession with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and climbing ever higher on that first page of Google. Though not a standalone strategy to do so, starting and regularly updating a blog will healthily contribute to that overall objective. Blogs encourage link sharing to your other online media, as well as creating reciprocal links in the form of trackbacks, blogrolls on other sites, and any number of unseen connections beyond that. Even more so, if your blog is so well written that it inspires readers to comment and build a form of community. This again helps with return visits and potential link exchanges, all of which contribute to your all consuming desire to make friends with Google (and, yes, Bing too, despite its slightly-too-chipper name).
4 – Simplicity breeds frequency
Why do people tweet so regularly? The cynic in us all would certainly offer a snap judgment as to whether they have anything better to do, yet the real key lies in the simplicity of the tool. Type, link, send. Often there should be a ‘think’ stage before the final action but this ease and speed of use breeds regular content nonetheless. Though a blog has more complexities than Twitter, it offers a far simpler platform from which to broadcast your message than most website interfaces. Both WordPress and Blogger have a very similar feel to standard word processors in their appearance and use, meaning that anyone familiar with the likes of Word is able to jump into blogging with little difficulty. Furthermore, sites like Tumblr add an extra layer between Twitter and the main blogging platforms, emphasizing brevity and speed but retaining the ability to post more detailed content like photos, video, and music.
5 – Unleash the creative design in you
Most effective websites require some knowledge of HTML or other technical savvy to get up and running, hence the huge number of freelance web gurus living here in Brooklyn (and elsewhere, we just notice them a lot more here!). Although we have no wish to hinder the business of these skilled individuals, it should be emphasized how uncomplicated it is to switch and tweak the design elements of your blog. Themes in WordPress and templates in Blogger both provide relatively simple ways to amend your layout elements for free, with little risk of damaging the site beyond your ability to repair it if you implement something you later dislike. This makes it easier (and cheaper) to create a distinctive looking presence for yourself on the web without the need to trawl through code that makes learning Latin look like a more appealing alternative.
Are you convinced? A well written, regularly updated blog can be a simple, cost effective way to enhance your online presence in so many ways, but we would love to start some discussion around this point and the pros/cons of blogging for a small business, organization, or group.
Do you write a successful blog that others can visit and learn from?
What other benefits are there to blogging that we have yet to cover?