Marketing on the web has evolved from the days of simple websites and e-mail communications, to a complete interactive experience for prospects and customers. Not only is it important to attract visitors to your site, but providing valuable information on a regular basis is a goal of many entrepreneurs and web-based businesses. Even offline businesses are learning about the value in having an online presence, and establishing a website or blog is a part of this process. This eBook identifies the critical components of blogging, and how a simple blog can help you launch your business marketing program. Internet marketing is becoming easier and more efficient with free and low-cost tools readily available, and setting up a blog is one of the easiest ways to get started. More people turn to websites and the Internet to find information and products and your business can benefit from having an established blog and website presence. After launching your blog, you‘ll need to work on marketing and promotions. Even though you may have extremely valuable information on your sites, making sure people are actually reading it on a regular basis will help you build traffic.
Building traffic is the first step in increasing your sales potential. Think about how valuable it would be to have a steady stream of traffic to your website; the more often people are visiting your site and browsing, the higher the chances of making a sale. You can start to earn revenue from your blog both directly and indirectly; directly form a product purchase or online sale, and indirectly through ad revenue and building up a network of affiliate products. Some business owners choose to make their blog an extension of their current website, while others create a standalone entity instead. Whatever the case may be, it‘s important that you distinguish and identify what the goals of your blog and website are, and how you plan to create something valuable for your target market.
Blogging can be used for a variety of purposes, but when you have a specific goal in mind, the entire process can be much easier, efficient, and more productive.
The word ‗blog‘ was first coined in 1997 by John Barger as a shortened version of the ‗web log.‘ Since then, web logs, or blogs, have quickly become an effective journaling method and information-sharing opportunity for dozens of industries. Independent website owners, small online retailers, mid-sized e-businesses, and even corporations are jumping on board the blog revolution as a new way to reach out to customers. Blogs are a simple journalistic style of sharing information on the web, and are set up in a similar way as a basic website. Most of them are made in a standard template, and you‘ll notice that even though the basic layout is the same for most blogs across the internet, many are also customized to mirror a website or create a unique entity of their own. In either case, simple journal-style entries are common across all blogs, and many are filled with pictures, video clips, and even pod casts.
Blogs are designed in this simple format so that they can deliver a small and concise piece of information. They are sometimes considered to be online journals, although a business blog is generally not so personalized. Consider them to be snapshots of information, providing key news, updates, or insights on particular topics. For a
business, this type of online presence can be especially effective for providing visitors with a unique point of view. Blogs consist of a few key elements that make them stand apart from traditional websites, and each segment of the blog is designed for easy reading and simple navigation.
Each blog entry is the piece of content for a given day, and this is usually time stamped to let readers know when it was published. The entry title is the key area that will draw your readers in, and can be followed by an excerpt that leads to further reading, or the entire post can be presented below it. Blog entries can have multiple links within the entry, and these are usually added to keywords and tags. It‘s an effective way to lead readers to additional information, or simply direct them to another entry on the blog.
The date of each entry is hyperlinked to the calendar on the website, and this can be accessed as an archived collection of all of your blog entries. The permalink is a permanent link to that blog entry that can be bookmarked in one step. If you or another reader is interested in linking to your site, they can use this permalink as a source. ―Real Simple Syndication‖ or RSS feeds and XML icons are usually found on the sidebar or bottom of the blog, and these can help you syndicate your content. Syndication means that you can send your information to web aggregators where people can read the information with a newsreader or content aggregator. It‘s an effective way to help avid readers get your information in their preferred format and delivery. Instead of visiting your blog directly for information, these readers will subscribe to the RSS feed so they receive a headline every time you publish something new on the blog. The archives section of your website is important for maintaining a steady record of all entries, and make sit easy for readers to catch up on previous posts. This is also an indicator of how often the blog is updated—always keep in mind that many blog readers are looking for timely and relevant content on almost a daily basis; building up an archive can help you create interested and continuous readership.
Blogrolls are another important element of a blog as they can help drive traffic from other sites. Blogrolls are most effective when your blog is listed on the other blog‘s own blogroll. The easiest way to get listed on somebody else‘s blog is to simply make a request, and let them know that their site is already on your own.