There has been a lot of talk about blogs lately. Politicians and businesses alike are entering the blogosphere at a surprising rate. Why? Currently, more than 57 million American adults read blogs. For many years, the blog – a term coined by contracting “web log” – was conduit for personal expression by individuals who opened on a wide range of topics. Blogs did not appear to offer real application for business. This popular misconception has since been discredited. Blogs are in fact, websites. They are hosted on a server, built on the same programming languages, and most importantly, indexed by major search engines like Google and Yahoo. The significant difference is that blogs give businesses a personal voice, and can be built and launched for far less money than it takes to build a website.
The Power of Search
Internet penetration has now reached 73 percent of all American adults, according to Pew Internet, which is an authoritative source on the evolution of the Internet. Internet users search for products and services by entering specific keywords into search engines. These keywords produce immediate results that introduce users to many different companies vying for business.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engines place a significant amount of importance upon fresh, keyword-rich content, and the more relevant the content that businesses put online, the better. Blogging software helps publish this information easily and frequently. Search engines also create value through their capacity to link. Companies will find online conversations based around what their company has to offer. One blogger links to another blogger because he or she finds value in what the other has to say. This progress continues until multiple bloggers and websites are linked back to the original creator of that content.
Differentiation and Demonstration of Expertise
Consider for a moment that a potential customer is shopping online for a particular product or service. The customer types in specific keywords and several competitors appear in the search results. By clicking through the websites, potential customers can analyze products and services offered, as well as price, benefits and presentation. They repeatedly return to the search results to compare one competitor’s products against the others listed. After a few more click-throughs, the potential customer has likely been unable to find any distinguishing differences.
But then, they find your company’s blog, which demonstrates a personality with a voice and a willingness to share information to further empower customers to make the right decision about what they want to buy. Instead of representing an impenetrable and impersonal corporation with no direct connection with its customers, your company is viewed as a personable and interactive business that actively seeks to engage customers.
Bringing Businesses and Customers Together
Blogs not only help with search engine optimization and differentiation from competitors, they also offer a way for companies to better understand their customers. Blogs are a chance to establish ongoing dialogues with customers, and receive useful feedback that empowers a business to continually improve.
Blogging requires a time commitment, and is not for everyone. Blogging offers a powerful tool for attracting new business, creating loyal customers, and developing a deeper understanding of what can make your company even more successful.