Clearing up the blog fog
Blogs are everywhere on the Web these days. There are millions of them, in all shapes and sizes, with no real rules. Just what is a blog, you ask? Let me fill you in.A blog (short for “Web log”) is a journal or personal diary available on the Web. Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to maintain them. The activity of updating a blog is called “blogging,” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.” A blog can be whatever the author wants it to be, as it gives individuals their own voice on the Web. Think of it as a daily pulpit, political soapbox, collection of links, someone’s private thoughts or memos to the world. In simple terms, a blog is a Web site updated regularly. New information shows up at the top, so visitors can read what’s new. A blog allows a person to collect and share thoughts that he or she finds interesting, whether it’s political commentary, hobbies/interests, or sports reviews. Many people use a blog to organize their own thoughts, while others command influential, worldwide audiences. Professional and amateur journalists use blogs to publish breaking news, while personal journalers reveal inner thoughts.Blogger.com (owned by Google) offers easy to use software that hosts blogs. Other options include Blog-City (www.blog-city.com), MSN Spaces (spaces.msn.com), pMachine (www.pmachine.com), TypePad (www.typepad.com), and WordPress (wordpress.org). Serendipity (www.s9y.org), sells software that allows users to host a blog on their personal server.Blogging is not only about putting thoughts on the Web; it also facilitates communication among like-minded people. Blogs let readers from all over the world give feedback on what is shared in the blog. What makes this different from a chat room is that the blogger can choose which comments are shown on a post-by-post basis. This, ideally, keeps the blog reputable.Group blogs can be excellent communication tools for small teams, families, or other groups. Give your group its own space on the Web for sharing news, links and ideas.Why would you use a Blog professionally?– A blog can be create and manage content relating to your business. — It is a place where your clients can interact if they choose. — Search engines reward blogs with traffic; a content-rich blog can be a component of a search engine marketing plan. — A blog is a good way to target a niche within your business.A blog might make sense for your business if you:– are already doing pay-per-click, SEO and e-mail marketing. — have the energy and commitment to produce content daily or weekly. — have knowledge and passion about a specific topic within your industry. — want to bring return visitors to your Web site. — want to provide increasing amounts of content to your Web site visitors. Whether you are surfing the Net, shopping for a specific product, getting ready to pick your next vacation destination, or researching your business products, you are sure to cross paths with some type of blog. Next time you have the impulse, go ahead … post your intelligent and worthy thoughts!Heather Austin is the marketing director at Blizzard Internet Marketing Inc., based in Glenwood Springs. Blizzard writes a technology column once a month. For more information, visit http://www.blizzardinternet.com.
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