For many people the word ‘Blog’ is synonymous with unwelcome rubbish – just as Twitter is often (sometimes understandably!) viewed with contempt for its 140 character mini outpourings.

Indeed, it is probably fair to say that most ‘serious’ business people would dismiss Blogs without a second’s thought. After all, who really wants to read the views of some rambling, illiterate fool who is sounding off from his cyberspace ‘soap box’?

Horrible!

But are Blogs valuable – and can they be used in business?

Well, the straight answer is: yes.

In fact, Blogs can be a vital and incredibly powerful marketing tool and one that should never be dismissed out of hand whether you are in the business of selling goods or services or simply need to raise your personal profile (as an academic, for example). Equally, they are as applicable to a law firm as they are to someone selling scrap metal.

In reality, the word ‘Blog’ is not altogether useful, as it has connotations that are not positive and I prefer to describe a Blog as a ‘publishing facility within a website’. This makes the concept easier to understand and more acceptable to the ‘serious’ businessman. It also more accurately describes what a Blog is about and gives some idea of its real function which is, of course, to publish material onto the Internet.

But why, you may ask, would I want to publish material onto the Internet, particularly when I have a website that functions well and that has all the pertinent material about my business on it already?

There are actually many reasons why you need to have a publishing facility beyond your existing website, if you have one:

  1. Google ‘loves’ information and quality information that is unique, up to date and original.  It ‘loves’ it so much that it rewards a website producing this type of material with ‘authority’, which helps hugely in the search result ranking of the website concerned.  This, as we all know, is critically important if your relevant target market is to be able to find you easily.
  2. A publishing facility allows you to get your messages over to your target market (your customers and potential customers) almost instantly – whenever you want.  If you have a new offer or promotion then you can publish this straight away without changing the structure of your site or having to go to a techie to alter anything.
  3. It allows you to make your website ‘sticky’.  This means that you can make your website interesting to your target market, who will come onto it frequently to see what you are up to and what you think about current events pertinent to your industry.  This means that you are able to ‘farm’ your customer base rather than endlessly hunt for it – as they are often present and are therefore easy to market to.
  4. Relationship marketing is vital to any business, as people tend to do business with people who they like, respect and trust. A good Blog that is personalised and well written allows people to get to ‘know’ you and feel comfortable with you in a way that a purely objective, inert site makes impossible.

In short, a website that allows you to publish material is one that allows you to engage with your target market – whilst ‘pleasing’ Google which, in turn, greatly facilitates you getting in touch with your target market.

How should you go about Blogging and what package should you use (one of the best is free!)?

Well, that is something that we show you in The Laptop Entrepreneur together with the importance of Twitter and integration with social media – all of which can make your presence on the Internet incredibly powerful and effective…

Nick Snellingweb master of Culture Spain and co-author of  The Laptop Entrepreneur (only £14.99): the book that shows you how to make a living on the Internet.

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