Key features of blogs – Part 3

Please note: This is the fourth post in a series of posts on the general topic “What is a blog?”  The series includes the following posts:
Blog or website – what’s the difference?
Some key features of blogs : Part 1 : Creation; Structure and technical aspects
Some key features of blogs : Part 2 : Content; Community and relationship building
– Some key features of blogs : Part 3 : Blogs and websites sometimes overlap; Advantages of blogs; Some concerns about blogs
Some key features of websites : Part 1: Creation; Structure and technical aspects; Content;
– Some key features of websites : Part 2 : Authority; Website and blog overlaps; Advantages of websites; Some concerns about websites
– Blog or website?  Your conclusions!

Blogs and websites sometimes overlap:
Blogs may be part of a website.  A company, for example, might have one (or several) of their members talk about news, developments, and even more personal viewpoints and such, in order to provide up-to-date information to website viewers, and to give the company a more “human” feel, as the blogger gives the company a “face” on the internet, and gives viewers a chance to interact with the blogger.  On the other hand, blogs often include some website-type features, such as a number of static pages that contain that kinds of information you’d expect to find on website pages.

Advantages of blogs:

  • blogs are an inexpensive (often free) way to get started publishing your own work on the internet.
  • because they are easy to operate, you can generally add to your blog or change the content any time you like.  You don’t have to wait for a techie webmaster to help you.
  • you can build a strong community and following with subscribers who enjoy keeping up with your constant new information.
  • you can do easy SEO (search engine optimization) with plugins and keywords in your titles and content, instead of having to know how to use html
  • search engines (like google) love blogs.  Because blogs have fresh content on a frequent basis, and readers like to visit often, the search engines tend to rank them higher than websites.
  • blogs are also a doorway to social media
  • blogs give companies, brands, and individuals “voice
  • blogs are quick and easy to use.  When you have an idea, write it down, publish it, and people can read it and comment on it.

Some concerns about blogging:

  • it takes time to build up readership on a blog.  It make take 3 to 5 years (or even longer in a crowded niche) to become a top blog
  • blogs require daily, consistent work, if your aim is to become a top blogger.  You must post quality content regularly, sometimes even daily.  Some top bloggers post several times a day.  Darren Rowse, one of the world’s top bloggers puts it this way:*** “Can you write something of high quality on a daily basis on your chosen topic for the next 3 years?”
  • there is more to serious blogging than just writing.  To become well known and have a large community you will need to moderate comments, work on improving your design, make and offer products and/or services (free and for sale), create a regular e-mail newsletter, do a lot of marketing, etc.  You need to count the cost of this, either the time it will take you, or what it will cost to have someone else do some of these things.
  • while blogging can build your reputation it can also hurt it.  One you post something, even if you quickly delete it there will be a record of it somewhere online.  You need to be thoughtful about what you post.
  • as a blogger, you are a conversation starter – and it’s up to you to keep the conversation going, and keep it on track as well.  Is this something you are comfortable with?

Larry Brooks, in his article “Why Professional Writers Need A Blog. Or Not” ***, sums up a blog this way:

A blog is about your niche, your field of expertise, your message.  Your blog is, in essence, a gift to your readers.
In effect, your blog is where you give away what you know.
It’s your chance to demonstrate and validate your claim to authority and expertise.
Your blog is, in every essence and fact of the word, content.
Whether you have an agenda attached to that content – you want them to hire you or buy your books, courses or published work – doesn’t change this truth.
If your blog content is valuable, then they’ll buy your ebooks, products and services.

And, oh yes – blogs are constantly evolving!  As the andrewkeen blog  *** puts it,

When blogging was invented in the late Nineties … it represented an easy self-publishing tool, a simple way to publish dirty great lumps of one’s own static text.  But just as the Internet has dramatically evolved … from a self-publishing into a real-time broadcasting platform, so blogging is transforming itself with equally dramatic vigor…
The old static blog is indeed dying.  But it’s being resurrected … as a real-time social media personal portal.  The blog is dead; long live the blog.”

Question : With what you have learned so far in these series, what are 3 important reasons why creating a blog will be useful for YOU?  Why might a blog not work for you?  What do you need more information about?  Share your answers in the comment section below!

Tip of the Day : As a new blogger, don’t overextend yourself.  Start small and build your way up.  Focus on content!  You can add other things later.

Put it into Action :   To help you understand more about blogs (and how they compare to websites), and to help you decide if a blog is for you, check out the articles linked in this post.  These links are indicated by a *** beside them.

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