Few people can dispute the power of blogs. We saw how they affected
the U.S. presidential election of 2004. When used correctly, blogs can have
an amazing effect on your Web site. In fact, I would go so far as to say I
believe every business site needs a blog . . . if used properly and in the
manner in which they were designed to be used.
What are Blogs?
Blogs are online journals that can be used in a variety of
different ways. In a personal sense, families can keep track of each other
across the globe by posting to a family blog. One family member posts, then
another member adds their comment underneath the post, and so forth.
Businesses can announce new products and services, discounts,
discontinued items, or holiday promotions in their blogs. I'll cover
additional ideas for the use of a business blog further in this article.
The biggest challenge is to get your target audience to read your blog.
That's why you need a “blog with a purpose.” You need a reason for your
audience to visit your blog on a regular basis. What would make your blog
special to your audience? Why would they want to bookmark your blog? Why
would they want to link to it and tell others? That should be your
Think about your own site, and let's start talking about “blogs
with a purpose.”
Bayard Fox of Equitours Worldwide Riding Vacations has a unique way of
using his blog. After one of his horseback riding vacations, he writes an
online journal, complete with pictures, and posts them to his new blog.
The guests who attend his vacations can visit his blog and link to it,
and then tell their friends and family members to visit to read more about
their recent vacation.
These vacations are in very exotic places, like Africa, India, and
Uruguay. In other words, reading about them and seeing the pictures
certainly makes you want to take a riding tour as well.
Why do people want to visit his blog? If you had taken a horseback riding
tour in Africa, wouldn’t you want to visit a site that had pictures of
your trip, as well as a journal that documented the whole thing? Wouldn’t
you want to link to it?
What good does this do for Bayard and his company? It’s obviously a
perk for his customers, and we always want to take care of our customers.
Plus, as the site gets more exposure in the search engines, more and more
people will visit, outside of his existing customers.
His existing customers will pass along the link to friends and family
members, and he’ll pick up new customers that way. He’ll gradually build
link popularity from the blog as time goes on.
Tip: Be sure to link to additional pages of your site from your blog
posts, so potential customers can read more information about products or
services you mention on your blog. Use absolute links with keyword phrases
in the link text. On your product pages, link to the blog. In Bayard’s
case, he would be linking to each riding tour’s page.
If you have a newsletter, promote your blog through the newsletter. Be
creative! Ask your customers to post their opinions about a new product line
in the blog. Offer a 10% discount to those who post.
In Bayard’s case, he could mention a recent riding tour, and give the
URL of the blog where newsletter readers could see the pictures and journal
For this category of “blogs with a purpose,” I wanted to list a blog
that serves a purpose similar to that of an online forum. Numerous ones come
to mind, but none more appropriate or effective than Threadwatch.
The owner takes great pride in his site, and it shows. What makes it
different from other blogs of the same sort is this twist:
“Finding the signal amongst the noise of internet marketing media takes
too much of what we all value most: TIME. Threadwatch.org cuts through the
chatter and produces a clear signal for the time starved professional
In other words, he distills information from other forums and posts that
he feels are the best and most useful posts. Rather than your having to sort
through mountains of information yourself, go to Threadwatch and let them do
it for you.
What’s in it for the visitor? You don’t have to run all over forum
land to learn SEO and Internet marketing information. It’s all
consolidated in one handy place: Threadwatch.
What’s in it for the owner? He’s has an extremely popular site now
with a very loyal following. His link popularity is excellent, and I’m
sure his visibility is as well.
Robin Nobles is a professional writer. SEW recently launched localized SEO training
centers across the country through the Search Engine Academy.