A blog is a “journal" that is available on the Web. Done well, it can generate interest in a business (due to increased search engine visibility) and popularize the writer as well.
Definitions you need to know:
* Blog. Slang for (weB LOG) on the Web.
* Blogging. The action of updating a blog.
* Blogger. Someone who maintains a blog.
* Blogosphere. The information available in blogs on the Internet
* Log. A record of an undertaking: a computer log; an excursion log.
To improve search engine visibility, a blog is best updated regularly-daily if possible but at least 2 to 3 times per week. Software is available at no or low cost for people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog. Additions to the blog (called postings) are almost always arranged in date order with the most recent postings at the beginning, which is the most prominent position.
Think of a blog as an easily (and we do mean easily) updated personal website, ideally updated daily and expressing the viewpoints of the author. Blogs have become an important tool for Internet marketing strategy and public relations.
What is the plus side to starting a blog? You get to tell your side of the story just as you wanted to-no gatekeepers, no editors to convince that your story has merit and should be published. And reporters and editors have cottoned on to the wealth of news being published in the blogosphere. They have started to tune into blogs so they don't get scooped! Many a news story in newspapers or magazines started in a blog.
Another very important plus is that search engines (Google, MSN, Yahoo) love blogs. Search engines read text-they are content-hungry. Blogs are mainly made up of words (no fancy graphics here) and have links to other sites. A blog that uses keywords (words that people use to search for goods and services on the web) in the text, along with links is a winning combination.
The result should be increased search engine visibility and more traffic to your business, which should make your cash register ring.
The bad news is that anyone can start a blog and if they have a bone to pick with you, they can trash your reputation in a heartbeat.
A blog is not a corporate brochure. “Corporate speak" will not cut it. A good blog (i. e. one that gets a lot of attention) should be well-written, but in a conversational style. A sense of humor also helps to make it interesting.
A blog can level the playing field-opening up opportunities for small companies that they only dreamed about in the past. So ignore blogs at your peril. Smart marketers will incorporate blogs into their Internet marketing strategy and public relations campaigns.
Because blogs are more personal than other forms of marketing, they are an integral part of building relationships, which helps you form trust with your prospects and turn them into customers. Not least of all, they will improve your site's search engine visibility.
Sally Falkow is President of Expansion Plus, Inc. , and author of Website Marketing Strategy Ebook. She is an authority on Internet Marketing and search engine optimization strategies. For more information, visit http://www.expansionplus.com .