February 22, 2006Volume 5 Number 08 Issue 95
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Blogs

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Blogs

I have been reading a great deal about a new phenomenon, and have finally set one up. I decided to write this article about this relatively new Internet tool – the Blog.

Blog (also known as Weblog) is traditionally a Web page where a blogger “logs” all pages he/she finds interesting. In other words, it is a Web page that contains brief, chronologically arranged items of information. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.

Weblogs provide a series of annotated links to items such as news stories, and often include personal raves and rants. They are usually maintained by one person, most commonly someone who is involved in Web design or some other tech-related field.

A blog is often a mixture of what is happening on a particular website and what is happening on the Web. A kind of hybrid diary / guide site, although there are as many unique types of blogs as there are people. Blogs can be used for personal objectives, fun and frolic, or more serious business objectives such as to introduce products to potential customers.

People maintained blogs long before the term was coined, but the trend gained momentum with the introduction of automated publishing systems, most notably Blogger at blogger.com. Thousands of people use services such as Blogger to simplify and accelerate the publishing process.

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Blog as a marketing tool

Blogs are highly strategic tools that can strengthen relationships, share knowledge, increase collaboration, and improve branding. They offer huge marketing potential and with a little thought and planning, blogs can represent the real voice of the website.

A weblog can take the form of a diary, a news service (or summaries of and links to current news items on a topic), a collection of links to other Web sites, a series of book reviews or products, reports of activity on a project, the journal of an expedition, and much more. Businesses can use this tool to effectively advertise their products or services.

One of the most interesting ways to use a weblog is by allowing it to function as a discussion forum for customers of your products or services. In this case, the webmaster can give posting rights to other people – visitors and customers, and their posts may or may not be reviewed before they are published to the Web page. Customers, in such a way can post favorable comments about the websites offerings. Some weblogs are set up in such a way that only the owner or the owner and certain other people have posting rights, but anyone else can add comments to the posts.

Weblogs when used with newsletters present immense marketing opportunities:

  • Articles within newsletters can be linked to a blog, extending life and creating a massive conversation.
  • You can offer a bidirectional forum to customers to get true, personal opinions on your products and services.
  • Company experts can start a blog and become industry experts, helping your company edge out competition and, through this interactive forum, draw customers into another exchange of information and thoughts.

The beauty of this interplay is you can layer your blog with editorial controls.

How to create a Weblog?

The majority of weblogs are now created using software or services designed specifically for this purpose. Some of the software is free - and some of the organizations that provide weblog software will also provide free server space to house a weblog so that it is publicly accessible on the Internet. There are also commercial versions of some of the free software; these commercial versions often provide more features. Some weblog software is available only as commercial software. Alternatively, bloggers can create and maintain their weblog using free software or a free weblog service, but use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to load the resulting weblog to their own Website.

The most common blog today is created using web based applications that allow you to go to a web site, click a few times, and bingo, you have an instant weblog. If you want to add blog posts or edit your template, you simply got to the web site and edit it right there in your browser. All your data is stored on the website - and your blog is published on the Web site at http://yourname.theblogprovider.com.

My new blog - barely operational, can be found at: http://ideazine.blogspot.com

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One of the most popular weblogger is “Blogger” which can be found at Blogger.com. Most webloggers simplify the process of Website creation. You can create a basic blog with no special skills or software other than your browser. However, a basic knowledge of FTP, Web site structures, a few technical terms, and HTML will allow you to create a professional looking, full-featured Blog.

So get out there and start your own Blog…it’s free, easy and can work seamlessly with the rest of your website or newsletter.

Until next time…

warmly,
Jim Green

P.S. Click HERE for a Blogging Toolkit that lets anyone create their own blog and make a profit from it.

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