Many consider writing to be an art. If that is the case, then, blogging must too be an art form. Why? Because, it is one particular way of using words. Blogging is all about ‘expressing’ yourself. Anyone who has read another blog, must agree with this. People seem to be more open on their blogs. Its a kind of ‘unreal’ world. So, people use words to express themselves, and it can be a very high form of poetry or art. You get the whole lot: feelings, dreams, wishes, sentiments and desires.
So, what is a blog? A web-log. You remember on Star Trek, “captain’s log – star date….” That was a log. But, obviously one very much inferior and less use than a web-log. So, web-logs became, by nick-name, blogs. They first appeared as web-logs, refering to a “server’s log file.” That started when web-logging first hit the virtual market in the mid-1990s. Since then, web-logging gradually saturated the world wide web, making the Internet a viable source of greater and greater information.
However, there is a big difference: with web-logging, you still need a web site and domain names, but you don’t with blogging. In fact, you do not need anything really, appart from an account with a blog provider. The good news is, in most cases, these kinds of blogs are totally free of charge.
What blogging meant was that for the first time, an ordinary person could be known all over the world. Despite this, blogs are generally created for personal use, and are, quite frankly, for fun. Like an old fashioned diary, anyone can write of their daily adventures, their likes and dislikes and, most importantly for them, their opinions. Bloggers can get their ideas across to a multitude. They can, very quickly, get quite a following.
This is tremendously powerful. This is what you need to understand. Blogging really is – power to the people!
And this is where blogging and business meet. The Internet has provided a business opportunity for anyone. That is an absolute truth (that does not mean to say that it is easy, quite the reverse). But, where the Internet has made the difference, is that anyone can get into business themselves. Plus, bloggs have provided a great opportunity for an existing business to add to their profits.
So, of course, business blogs are created for a different reason. This is serious! Though our experience of business bloggs, is that they are fun too. People put them up on the web to do many things: advertise their own products and services, or, by way of affiliate marketing, those of other companies that fit well with their own product or service profile.
Something else that we should consider, is this happy fact that, business blogs are a great way of promoting the company. This means that readers of their web-site, will know more than they could normally. Think about it – you can have a giant catalogue online, one that would take thousands to print, never mind distribute. With a business related blog, you can reach more people with more information. That, as I said before, this powerful. With their very own blog, a business can establish a name for themeslves in the virtual on-line market. It really is a great opportunity for small and young businesses. For example, through publishing articles, anyone can put up information very useful to the reader’s life.
So, how do you get started?
Here is a six point plan:
1. Have an aim:
Captain Kirk existed in a 3-dimensional world. We, mere mortals, are subject to only 2, here on the Earth. The Internet might be a ‘virtual’ world, but its more real than Kirk’s ship and fellow space travellers! But, it can be considered to be 3-dimensional. You can, literally, go in any direction you want. There are very few limitations. So, this demands discipline. Have an aim, and you will get more from your blogging.
2. Think about your target market:
We call this a niche. What do they need? What can you provide that nobody else can? You need to get into the mind of your readers. What interests them? Or, more importantly, what will they pay for? If you can provide great information for your readers, you will succeed! After all, the reason for anyone to enjoy blogging is to be on a voyage of discovery.
Let’s explore this for a minute: people writing bloggs are not just after in formation. Remember the personal motives behind blogging. Most bloggers would love to be “heard” by someone. They love to have their ‘ideas’ read by others, and to see a response. Basically, they would love to be ‘known’. Its a basic human need which the Internet, in particular, is able to meet. Therefore, it is very important for you to come up with material that everybody can understand easily. Maybe not so much that these people can relate to it, but that they, at least, can understand it.
3. Use pictures and images:
They say, “A picture speaks a thousand words.” Its very true. You are aiming to attract visitors, turn them into subscribers, and finally into buyers. (I prefer to call them clients – but that is just a personal thing). So, to make your blogging efforts worthwhile you must make it worth your visitors’ time. Time is precious. It takes effort to browse. So, make it worthwhite to your readers. One great way to do this is to put in some pictures. Not necessarily a picture of yourself, but, any photographs will do, as long as doing so does not pose any danger to anyone. Neither should you indulge in insulting anyone.
4. Make your visitor’s experience memorable:
The point here is to provide blogs that are both constructive and beneficial to a large number of people. You want them to come back – again, again and again! A danger of blogging is that you can truly say anything you want to the world! That is not always wise, as a minimum. Who is interested in your own personal quirks? Remember point one?
Write-ups, beneficial to your readers, make great web-content. Remember, you are dealing with state-of-the-art 21st century technology here. You don’t want to come across as a crank indulging yourself in mere entertainment. You don’t want people to think that you are quirky.
5. Keep it simple:
There is an old saying, “Keep it simple stupid.” KISS! That has been the tenet of sales years. So, bring it up to date – make sure that you avoid making multifaceted and over-complicated blogs. You can have too much technology. Videos take a long time to load. With flash graphics, it’s the same thing. Yes, you can have video. Yes, you can have gizmos. But, keep it to a minimum. To make an interesting blog, is great! But, keep it simple. And, more importantly, keep your language is simple. You are dealing with ordinary people here. It’s best to stick to simple facts and figures. Also, keep your blog posts short (this one, in particular, is not a good example).
6. Give them something to do:
If possible, make your blog interactive. You can do this very simply. You don’t need flash graphics to do it. One way is to place video or audio clips onto your blog. Or, how about a flow chart? All you need is one simple question, and a couple of links for different answers. Each link takes the visitor to a different page. You can provide a series of questions, leading the visitor to a certain conclusion. Use your imagination!
You could have an area for visitor comments or for feedback. That way, you can get reactions from other people and you know what impresses them. You might even gain some new friends just by making them feel like they have a friend in you and are totally at home on your web-site.
So, remember that blogs are not created just for the shear fun of it, there is a serious side. In fact, it is that side – the sharing of information – that really has all the potential. That is not to deny the value of fun. Not at all, if you can give serious information in a way that people enjoy, then you have won!
So, blogging is the 21st century way of getting a message across, sharing information and staying in contact. No-one can imagine them taking over completely from newspapers, etc. But, they have a great contribution to make. Indeed, its becoming an art form….