What’s a Blog ?
A blog is a web site which facilitates easy publishing to the Internet. Content—photos, text, video, documents—published instantly. If you choose, people can comment on your content. Blogs are easily expanded in any direction. As many pages and/or posts as you wish. They are code, like any web site. A blog is a special web site though …
Why are blogs Internet darlings ?
Blogs are hot because they enable anyone to publish to the Internet. It’s super easy to make your own Web site, journal, portfolio, video broadcast channel or blog and it’s free. In fact, many of these are revenue streams.
Not only can one easily publish Web sites and blogs that include both pages and blog posts, these Web pages are indexed in search engines (like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) automatically. So people will find your content faster and more readily. Search engine optimization is built-in with most blog software.
So, what does that mean ?
That means you can type something about your new product at 1 PM today, and by 2 PM today, you may already be in the top position with Google with that post. Wow ! That’s fast. Search engines find blogs so people find them.
This is the basic functionality that defines a blog.
- Easy to set up and host (using WordPress on your own server or using it’s or another hosted product, such as blogger)
- SEO out of the box
- Content management built in
- Completely expandable, with posts and / or pages, hosted material such as video (some caveats here … ) and length of these posts and pages (watch your page / graphics sizes so you don’t lose people waiting for stuff to load)
Updating regularly and having lots of words and pictures increases the search engine shine. Populating your blog (or Web site built upon blog software) with content helps your search engine rank and score. Meaning you come up more often and higher in the results.
Other ways to increase rank include links to and from your site. Attaching high traffic links like Facebook and LinkedIn help a great deal. Tweeting regularly will also boost your reach and rank. And, a slam dunk easy one … get yourself and your business a Google + profile and populate it. POPULATE IT. Put stuff in the spaces they have built for you. Not just one photo, ten. Twenty. The more the better. Use the proper designations when building profiles and pages … for example, Facebook doesn’t want you selling real estate on your personal FB page, they want you to have a ‘business’ or ‘group’ page. They do shut groups down regularly, it appears, for violating these rules and they have been reported to move in chunks—real estate agents, dog rescue groups, baby and pet pages … that’s another post …
Not all blog software will provide everything you might want … such as suitable themes but HotDiggityBlog uses and loves WordPress. It’s free. It’s completely customizable, and it’s what we’ll be talking most about here … when we discuss How To Blog.
You can also build your own themes, for any of the blog platforms. More work, but can be the best option for more complex functionality.
No rules here. Make it your own.
Blogs can be incredibly freeing outlets. They broadcast to the world. Or to yourself. Which is very powerful. Take this page for example. We can write anything we want to. Change it at will. My real estate. The only real estate I own.
Do I need a blog ?
Joan Didion made a comment about blogging. She said something like, it’s too much like talking. And—she’s right. A blog for many is a dialog. But, it can do so much more. Transformed, it can market your band, a product, your brand or your service. It can be a letter or a journal, counting calories or cataloging achievements. It can be a storefront, a gallery … a blog can generate income. It can keep track of your Christmas list and generate ecards. You can blog for a cause, adopt artful blogging, or build digital scrapbooks for your family or just for you. Web sites and blogs can be private or public, by page or site-wide.
Have an idea, a product or service you want to try out on a live audience ? Have a business that has stalled, due to the economy, boredom or some other very common resistance ? Blogging will kick-start creativity. Or re-start it if you are in the middle of a long block. Your voice, or that of your team, can give life to a tired path. It will add meaning to what you are doing. Whatever that is.
Use the platform for collecting data, be it marketing materials for your sales force, or a show and tell for your hat pin or hotrod collection. Bring it on. The new tv is you.
Do it. Start now.
Whether you plan to support a business or simply document your journey through a cookbook, put it down.
Decide on topics. Or, don’t. The voice will develop. Personality will emerge. To what audience do you write ? You don’t have to know just now. (I don’t.) Breathe.
I have a web site so I don’t need a blog.
You do. Don’t limit yourself to the customers you already have. Branch out. Use the internet. Leverage this period of rapid social growth. Step outside your comfort zone. Find authentic. Share frequent posts about things you care about. Things your company cares about. Use video, another search engine favorite. Or keep it all to yourself. A personal journal. Don’t worry about how perfect it is. Evolution is more certain than impulse. Authentic beats rehearsal.
Suspicious ? Want to try it ?
How do I start ? To do it yourself, simply begin a blog or Web site of your own, here. WordPress is a powerful platform to build a Web site or blog, free. They’ll even host it for you. And for a small fee you can use your own domain name. Using WordPress.com is free but carries limitations to themes and plug-ins you can upload.
To access the full functionality WordPress has to offer, download the software free at WordPress.org. You’ll need a server and you’ll need to know how to set permissions to add images and allow updates. If you’d rather we do it for you, email us and we’ll make it happen. firstname.lastname@example.org or just click here.
hotDiggityBlog posts on How-To here.