What is a Blog?
Lets look at the background behind this technology, so we can understand where it is coming from.
Research into the history behind blogs suggests that it was Pyra Labs is the company that adopted the word Blogger, and made the service a big success (now known as Google blogger/ blogspot).
The people that were the co-founders of Pyra Labs were Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan. “Pyra” was also the name of the company’s first product. It was a web based application which combined a simple project manager, contact manager, and to-do list.
In 1999 the product, while still in beta, were re-engineered (changed) to become an in-house tool which eventually became known as Blogger. The service was launched to the public in August of 1999.
It is believed that the term is actually weblogs was originally coined by Jorn Barger in 1997.
The rapid adoption of weblogs started in 1999 when several companies & developers made easy to use blogging software and tools. Since that time, the number of blogs on the Internet has exploded.
Blogs or weblogs are usually one of two forms:.
Personal Blogs: a mixture of a personal diary, opinion posts and research links.
Business Blogs: a corporate tool for communicating with customers, potential customers or employees to share knowledge and expertise. Blogs that are internally available are increasingly being used as knowledge management ‘pots’.
For a blog to be an effective tool to small businesses we need to understand the nature of weblogs, a definition if you like. Here are almost as many definitions as there are commentators on social media. For a weblog or blog is a social media – it is used by people for people. An effective blog article encourages interactions and collaboration, even if at a basic level.
There are many features which make one blog distinctive from another (apart from the basic design)
- Personality – people write blogs – formal, informal, facts or opinion biased?– not the corporate engine
- Voice – each contributor will have their own style
- Links – what are the nature of the links – internal, external mixed?
- Conversations – are the contributions tell or engaging, do the authors encourage discussion?
- Frequency – how often there is new content, is it from the ‘personality or owner’ or is it a collection of personality-less rss feed provide data
The only real difference between an individual and business based blog is the goal. The purpose of the business blog is to support the goals , aspirations and business plan of the host organisation.
Blog at your web domain or not?
It’s a difficult one – the new and varied content is valuable to your visitors and to the search engines, but it will limit what you can say as you will need to protect the ‘brand image’.
Some business have several blogs – the main one on the site is more about “giving value”, off site blogs may be the personal views of key insiders, views on the industry. This can then link to your site. One advantage of this is that because it is not seen as “your site” you reduce the risk of people perceptions if they dislike or disagree with the content of an individual post. – It is also valuable for search engines if you point your blog at the company site every now and again!
So a blog is a less formal vehicle for communicating information – facts and opinions to your current and potential customer base, as well as being a key part in your marketing strategy and a vehicle for increasing web traffic.
This is part of a mini-series on Blogs for small business, trainers and freelancers