Over the years, as the internet has become a part of every American’s life, most have developed fairly steadfast opinions about what is fundamentally wrong with the web. You know the type, the ones that either love or hate Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc. There’s rarely any middle ground and there’s rarely any changing anyone’s mind. As a web developer, I’ve talked to many people about what they want in a website; how it should express their business, what it should look like, what kinds of people will be visiting the site. Usually, people sort-of-know what they want, but for some strange reason, they always know exactly what they think about blogs.
So I decided to write a blog about blogs…
There’s Always Something to Blog About
I always get one of two answers. It’s either a definitive “Yes, of course I want a blog”, or a starkly dismissive “We’ve got nothing to blog about.” The latter is always nonsense. There may be a couple of reasons why you wouldn’t want a blog on your website; you have no interest in writing, you don’t have enough time to update it regularly… but banishing the idea of a blog because there’s not enough to say, is never one of those reasons.
When it comes to the purpose of a blog, to each is truly his own. The past few years have seen a transformation in the culture and use of blogs in general, and have become one of the most efficient ways to distribute content to the world. If you haven’t noticed, it’s probably because most people don’t even call them blogs. Your favorite news site… pretty much just a blog. That hilarious website you go to when you’re bored… a blog. Sports stories, movie reviews, financial newsletters, event announcements, anyway you get it.
My point is that a blog is what you make of it. Use it to share company news, broadcast promotions and sales, provide details about upcoming events, comment on current events, announce new products or expound on existing ones. How you use it is up to you, but a good company always has something to say.
Undoing the Stigma of the Blogger
Granted, the conventional practice of blogging is to offer long winded opinion pieces, such as this one, without regard for who is offended or agreeable. We see them in movies, TV and even commercials. This stereotyped idea of the blogger usually taking the form of a hipster or a foodie or a struggling writer, sitting in a coffee shop just hoping someone will come over and talk to them about what they happen to be writing about.
These characters do exist in real life. I’ve met them and some are actually pretty talented writers. But the vast majority of bloggers out there are not pecking away on their iPads about what they had at that new Moroccan restaurant last night while sipping their triple espresso macchiatos. No, they’re sitting at their desks (as am I right now) editorializing about the state of their industries, offering late-breaking news and opinions to their highly loyal reader base. Company employees introduce new products to their customers, proving that there are real-live people working behind the scenes.
The most important distinction however, is that today’s blogger does all of this, in between what they would call their “real job”… talking to vendors, building websites, shipping orders, and so on. For most, “blogger” is not a career path, it’s just another bullet point in the job description.
Put it on the Homepage
A few months ago, a customer came to us after much internal deliberation and provided us with content for their new website. It was well written, nicely edited and meticulously organized… but some of the content just didn’t seem to fit. For example, this company wanted to show off their participation at a local charity event. Now, I’m all for supporting local charities, but a 5K run sponsored back in 2011 doesn’t really belong on the homepage along side a list of services, does it? Needless to say, convincing her of this was a bit of a touchy subject, but we had a solution.
In my professionally humble opinion, this is where a blog can be an organizational godsend. Every company has things they want to share with their current or potential customers, many of which are particularly time sensitive. A blog on your website can allow you to showcase those things while they’re relevant and move them automatically out of the spotlight, when they become obsolete.
So in the end, we both got our way. We agreed to set-up a blog and to put the most recent blog posts on the homepage. They got to highlight their 5K… at least for a little while, but eventually it will be replaced by newer, more timely events.
What’s the point?
Communication has always been a major driving factor of successful companies. Every good business always has stuff to say and a blog is a fantastic way to say it. Make it a point to stay in touch with your customers and your could-be-customers; and keep an eye out for the next “Blog About Blogs”, as we’ll be discussing the incredible SEO benefits of constantly adding fresh content.