It's fair to say that blogging has taken the Internet by storm over recent years. And it's no surprise that today there are hundreds of thousands of new blogs being launched every day.
But as a home-based business owner, should I have a blog?
To put it bluntly, if you conduct any part of your business over the internet, then Yes, you should have a blog.
So what is a blog?
Wikepedia describe a blog as . . . . . a weblog (usually shortened to blog) is a web-based publication consisting primarily of periodic articles (normally in reverse chronological order). Although most early weblogs were manually updated, tools to automate the maintenance of such sites made them accessible to a much larger population, and the use of some sort of browser-based software is now a typical aspect of “blogging".
You might be thinking that to set up a blog is far too advanced for me, but that is furtherest from the truth. Blogger.com is a Google-owned hosted blogging platform that is 100% free to use and literally takes only minutes to set up and start posting.
Secondly, you might be thinking it's going to cost too much. Wrong! The only cost is your normal web hosting. You don't even have to purchase a new domain for your blog. It can be easily attached as a sub-domain to your current business website eg: http://blog. MyBusiness.com or as a directory: www.MyBusiness.com/blog/.
So why should your home-based business have a blog? Will it benefit me?
The truth is, a blog is just one part of your marketing strategy, although it can quite easily end up being the most valuable and cost-effective way of marketing your business to new and existing clients.
Come to see your blog as a means of getting closer to your intended market.
With a blog, you are giving your home business a personality. You are chatting informally with your market and building that much sought after long-term relationship and trust.
With credibility and trust being what separates successful home business to those that fail, a well-delivered blog can help build a strong rapport with your customers, via you offering insights into your business and your industry. In a low-pressure setting (ie: there should be no hard selling at all), you are networking with your customers in a way that humanizes your business.
So how can a blog work for my home business?
Let's take an example. Your business (which by the way, you run from home) sells PDA add-ons.
By including a blog as an addition to your e-commerce site you could deliver news, facts, figures, views . . .in fact, anything to do with your industry.
You can have your rant and raves on topics close to you. You could offer inside tips on using PDA's. You could provide links to other sites of interest that your customers would appreciate.
Your market will love you for your openness and willingness to chat informally, and in time you become perceived as an expert in your field.
But a word of warning. Don't start up a blog just to push sales, offering little but mere “buy from me now" posts. This is a sure-fire way of actually losing credibility.
If you view a blog as a way of communicating better with your customers (ie: talking ‘with them’ rather than ‘to them') then you are well on your way to blogging success and more importantly . . . business success.
Martin Neumann is publisher of HomeOfficeVoice.com . . . for the internet-savvy home business entrepreneur, HomeOfficeVoice offers news, reviews and commentary in the world of online home business.