What All Businesses Must Have in 2007

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In November of 2006, Technorati, the leading blog search engine, was tracking nearly 60 million blogs. With blog software like Wordpress, Blogger, LiveJournal, and Movable Type, anyone can setup a blog and begin posting articles, stories, and comments almost instantly.

The power of a blog incorporated into your company’s website can be your most substantial and valued marketing tool by incorporating organic search engine optimization elements throughout every post. A blog can also serve as an important medium to reach out to potential clients where your ordinary website would normally fall short. Through social networks like digg, del.icio.us, and reddit, you can publish your news and services, which can then be syndicated throughout the Internet.

Effective Marketing

Companies that have successful websites and blogs typically attribute a large portion of their incoming clientele to the blog itself, ranking closely behind referrals. One reason that blogs are so effective is simple: getting the media to notice your business can be a daunting task, but a blog can serve as a valuable vehicle where you become the media. You begin by establishing a “voice,” then you can publish any information you deem valuable to your client base.

The distribution of your RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed can allow you to syndicate the information on your blog to multiple outlets. You no longer have to wait for users to return to your website for new information; you can bring the content to them. You can add unique functions to your website where users can subscribe to your RSS feed through specific RSS readers. You can pre-install your feed into these readers and as soon as the user clicks on the reader of their choice, your feed is automatically installed. This feature will allow users the ability to read your news or services when it’s convenient for them.

Building Credibility

Clients typically have many questions about specific areas of your business. Often, however, they feel that these questions are too minor and won't contact you about them. A blog will allow you to interact with your users and create relationships. If you find yourself getting a lot of the same questions, write a post or distribute articles pertaining to the information. Just like in school, if one person has a question, it's likely that other people have the same question, and because blogs are a much less formal setting, users are more likely to raise their hands and bring up their concerns.

Remember, though, that users want answers to their questions from a trusted and informative authority. The Internet is filled with information, but finding the correct answer to solve your problem can easily turn into a long ordeal. As you write posts and articles that answer your clients' questions, you slowly build a reputation as an authority. Additionally, if you give users the answers they're looking for, you pass along more than just information; you begin to implement an effective viral marketing campaign.

Improved Search Engine Results

Blogs are typically updated more frequently than websites; therefore, search engine spiders or bots crawl and catalog them more consistently. Blogs that are crawled regularly have the most up to date information catalogued and indexed on the major search engines, and there's no waiting around until next week when Googlebot finally comes to your site to index your breaking news story. A blog allows you to maintain the sense of urgency that draws the immediate attention of your readers and clients.

Another huge advantage to blogs is that they are dynamic and archiveable, which makes them searchable. Users don't have to know the exact article name; they can simply search for a relative term or phrase to find results. Not long ago, in order for a website to be considered dynamic, developers would have to spend many hours on custom code that would end up costing thousands upon thousands of dollars. Most of the time the search feature, which was the complete magic of a dynamic site, wouldn't even work properly. We've all been to sites that had a search feature and scratched our heads in confusion either over the results that it did return, or over the results that it didn't. Fortunately, blog software is developed on a solid foundation that works. All of the features that you would need to create a user-friendly, dynamic structure are already installed as soon as you download the programs. Additionally, the uncomplicated URL structure allows the search engines to easily crawl through all of your content, giving your blog the best possible chances to rank for your particular keywords and begin to develop organic search engine optimization results.

Blogs are the new keys to a positive and effective online presence. Website marketing strategies for small business development begins with a blog. If utilized properly, your blog can promote your business faster and through more avenues than a regular website. Any business can take advantage of a blog. In many cases businesses that felt they were too small for a website can easily utilize the blog platform to begin to establish themselves online. 2007 is the year to build your business with one of the best viral marketing tools: your blog.

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