A blog is a blend of the term “web log” and refers to adding logs; more commonly know today, as posts to a Web site. Posts are short articles made of text and may contain images and video as well, and can be found on any topic. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular input of entries. Blog posts are normally displayed in a reverse chronological order; this provides the most recent entries on top of the list of posts in front of the visitor’s eyes. Blogs are commonly interactive with its visitors, allowing people to leave comments and interact with the site. This interactivity is what distinguishes blogs from other static Web sites. Blogs can be stand alone sites or an integral part of a Web site. The term blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to add information or posts to a blog.
Blogs originated with simple updates to components and articles on Web sites. The evolution of tools to facilitate the production and maintenance of Web articles and posts made the publishing process easier to a larger, less technical, population. This resulted in the online publishing of applications that produce blogs that are easily recognized today. The use of Web browser based software is now a typical application for producing and maintaining blogs. This software principle allows people with no programming skills to contribute and maintain a blog. Almost anyone with basic computer skills can add content to a blog, giving small business owners the ability to communicate information about the products or services they offer. Blogs function in the same manner as a standard Web site, the files and graphics reside on a Web server computer provided by a hosting company. There are companies that provide free services to start a blog, as with free Web hosting, free has its limitations and any company serious about its Web presence should have premium Web hosting services.
Marketing methods and strategies have changed since the introduction of the Internet. With the use of high speed Internet, now common to almost every household, businesses have the opportunity to reach many more potential clients. The traditional methods of advertising consisting of print ads, radio broadcasts, and mailers which usually blanket an entire geographic area. The traditional methods may be preferred to Internet advertising because the technology is relatively new to most business owners. The owner of a small business usually does not have the time to learn a new technology to implement into a marketing campaign and hiring an Internet marketing company is normally out of the budget for a small to mid-sized company. These methods, however, are not without problems. They are more harmful to the environment by producing an excess waste of materials needed in the production of the print advertisements. A large percentage of print advertisements are considered junk mail and end up in the garbage or become litter in society. Print advertising also requires the use of chemicals and ink which further adds to the negative effect of this marketing strategy on the environment.
Using the Internet as a vehicle to deliver information to specifically targeted audiences makes a marketing strategy and budget more effective. Placing advertisements on specific types of Web pages can help target potential clients. Using pay-per-click advertisements can allow marketing to focus on specific search terms customers may be using. Another powerful marketing tool has become the use of social networking Web sites. Social Web is the means people share information using social networking sites and other community sites. Blogs have become one of the most powerful social media tools available to a business. Many companies are taking advantage of social media and online community Web sites for advertising their products and services. Providing customers with discounts or coupons available only through online sources such as blog posts or the company’s Facebook page is a great strategy to keep customers intrigued. Adding a blog to a company’s marketing strategy and maximizing its effectiveness will help reach a target market in new and exciting ways. Businesses that choose not to participate in utilizing articles, blog posts, or social networking for client relationships and advertising, will be at a great disadvantage in the near future.
The way people use the Internet and social networking has changed rapidly over the past few years. People do not normally look in the phone book for a local company or service. The phone book will soon be obsolete, just as the pay phone is now because of the invention and availability of the cell phone. People use the Internet Search Engines to find everything from products, local services, directions, information, and much more. Search Engines are directory listing Web sites that list millions and millions of sites on the Web. Part of a company’s marketing strategy is to be listed near the top of a potential client’s search inquiry. Blogs increase a company’s online presence. Search Engines love blogs because blogs are continuously putting out new and fresh content for its readers. A blog has a much higher ranking of quality, as seen by a Search Engine, than an old, static, and stale Web site that produces nothing new. The more a business puts into its blog, the easier the company will be found by someone searching on the Internet. This can be accomplished by regularly projecting its service, products and knowledge.