What are business blogs?

The word ‘blog’ comes from the combination of the two words, web and log.

Blogs are online diaries or journals created by individuals or companies and stored on the Internet. Blogs generally consist of text and images appearing in chronological order with the most recent entry shown at the top of the page.

The word blog acts as both a noun (the name of the online diary) and a verb (the act of blogging).

According to technorati.com, a search engine dedicated to blogs, there are some 71 million blogs worldwide including more than 250,000 in Australia, and 175,000 new blogs are being launched daily.

Why blog?

For individuals, blogs can be a way to express views, build a social community with a similar hobby or interest, keep a travel diary or keep family and friends updated with all your news and photos.

Here are some examples of personal style blogs:

Snippets of Life by Karen Cheng is the online journal of Karen from WA who writes about life, art, partying, shopping and being a mother of two.

Trevor’s Travels is an online travel journal with stories and photos of Trevor’s travels in Nepal and Thailand.

Craft Gossip is a blog for craft enthusiasts to share ideas, projects, suppliers, websites and so on.

For business, blogs can help you build stronger relationships with important target groups such as clients, the media, the general public and/or shareholders.

Here are some other ways blogs can be used:

  • Simple, low cost PR. Blogs are a simple and fast way to put information online.
  • Establish expertise. Position yourself and your company as the expert and raise your visibility with your target market.
  • Extend communications and customer relationships. Blogs enable companies to present a human face and voice to the public. Blogs allow you to join customer discussions, respond to concerns, provide tips and insights or receive feedback.
  • Build community. Use blogs to grow group support around a cause, political issue, technology or hobby related to your product.
  • Test ideas or products. Because blogs are informal and conversational in nature you can publish an idea and see if it generates any interest or buzz.
  • Higher search engine rankings. Google and other search engines reward sites with a lot of content that is updated often and have many inbound links.

Here are some example of business blogs that take advantage of these uses:

Telstra’s blog Now we are talking aims to communicate with shareholders about new technologies.

Queensland politician Andrew Bartlett uses his blog to express his views and opinions and encourages feedback.

Realestate.com.au has several blog topics setup for the different target markets they communicate with from home owners, to real estate agents, to shareholders, to property investors, to shareholders.

Major corporates using business blogs include:

And it doesn't stop there. Examples of more novel blogs include:

If you have an existing website and are prepared to add something at least every week or two, then adding a blog to your site is probably a good idea. A good blog can help you build traffic, communicate and, importantly, build trust with your visitors.

Many businesses choose to host their blog separately from their main business website. This can be useful as it separates the formal from the conversational and prevents these two styles from conflicting. But don’t be surprised if your blog starts getting more traffic that your main site!

I would love to hear from any Flying Solo readers who already use a business blog and have found it a useful tool in their business.

“ For individuals, blogs can be a way to express views, build a social community with a similar hobby or interest, keep a travel diary or keep family and friends updated with all your news and photos. ”
 
Melissa Norfolk

Melissa Norfolk is an Internet expert who speaks to business, school and community groups about online marketing, email newsletters, effective use of the Internet, finding what you need online and Internet safety.

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