Introduction to Weblogs for Professionals and Small Businesses

What is a weblog?

A weblog is a type of website that is easy to update and organized to display regular updates in an organized fashion. By creating a weblog on your website, you will have the ability to turn your site into a news, information and discussion resource that represents the focus of your company. Further, weblogs use a distinct set of resources and tools that distinguish them from normal websites.

Why would I want a weblog? How would my small business benefit?

Weblogs engage your visitors and encourage them to come back. By having a weblog, you can provide a resource that informs, educates, and builds relationships with people who may become customers or refer customers to you.

By updating the site often and focusing on your niche’, weblogs allow your website to become the “voice�? of your company; a way for people to feel a connection with you and your company.

Weblogs are cheap and easy to implement. The most popular platform is called “Movable Type�? and it costs $150 for business use. Once it is installed, you’ll be able to post to the website in about the time it takes to write an email.

Weblogs can increase rankings in search engines like Google. Because weblogs are updated often, focused on particular topics and linked with other web sites, they are attractive to Google. See Case Study

How does a weblog make money?

There are a couple of ways in which weblogs can contribute to your bottom line. However, you will find that the biggest impact of a well managed weblog will be increased connections with potential clients- sales opportunities. Think about weblogs as a new form of marketing and PR that builds relationships with potential customers.

In terms of direct revenue, weblogs with sufficient traffic can sell advertising space. Further, weblogs can contribute to the bottom line by reducing website management costs.

What does it take to be successful?

A weblog is a tool -- its value is linked to how it is used. The level of success you achieve with a weblog is linked to your goals and needs. Common success criteria may include:

  • Higher search engine rankings
  • Increased page views/visits
  • Increased sales opportunities
  • Increased newsletter subscribers
  • Reduced web site management costs/resources
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Increased referrals

Across the success criteria above, there are a few strategies that can help you ensure success:

  • Focus: Define your target audience and list the subjects that would most interest them. Then, focus your weblog on those subjects.
  • Experience: If you are thinking about creating a weblog, find weblogs that interest you and start reading them regularly. You can use PopDex to search for related weblogs.
  • Human Resources: You will need to have at least one person who is the “bloggerâ€??, the person that posts regularly and becomes the voice of your weblog and company.
  • Community Participation: Weblogs are most effective when a member of a network of related weblogs. By finding and participating in a weblog community, you’ll find a rich source of news and information related to your niche’.
  • Usable Design: Like any web site, your weblog should be designed so that visitors can use it easily. Clear headings and labels, intuitive navigation and a simple and organized design will improve the perceptions of your site among visitors.

What are the risks?

Relatively speaking, weblogs are low risk. They cost very little, take little time to implement and are easy to use. The biggest risks are related to legal consequences of what is posted to the weblog. Webloggers should have strong understanding of copyright laws and take special care not to make false claims or misleading statements.

How can Common Craft help?

Common Craft can help you start on the right foot and ensure that your weblog contributes to the accomplishment of your goals. Common Craft will help you:

  • Evaluate and implement weblog platforms and related tools
  • Understand weblog style, form and function
  • Define your target audience and primary subject matter
  • Design your weblog, including the integration of your existing pages, links and resources
  • Identify a community of related weblogs
  • Develop an appropriate voice
  • Develop a long term strategy for your weblog

If you are interested in using weblogs or learning more, contact Lee LeFever via email or call 206.323.1041.

See Related on Common

Introduction to the Common Craft Weblog
RSS Described in Plain English
Blogrolling Described in Plain English
TrackBack Described in Plain English
How I Would Implement Weblogs in Business (Originally posted August of 2003.)