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Are blogs hot? (or not?)

Trends on the web change quickly. Are blogs hot today and gone tomorrow?

A recent Pew survey revealed that the popularity of blogging among teens and young adults has declined dramatically from 28 percent to 14 percent from 2006 to 2009.
http://gigaom.com/collaboration/the-future-of-blogging/

What is a blog?

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org) describes blogs as:

“The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called “blogging”. Individual articles on a blog are called “blog posts,” “posts” or “entries”. A person who posts these entries is called a “blogger”.

What is the difference between a website and blog?
Blogs can be used as an extension of a website, or as the entire website (countylive.ca is a sample of an entire website that is managed using blog software.) A blog enables you to create a dialogue with your audience through features such as “Post a Comment”.

What’s the problem?
There are many factors that could have contributed to this decline in popularity, such as the availability of real-time social media platforms like Facebook, and online games. A larger problem may be the shrinking attention span of readers/viewers.

While this doesn’t mean that blogs will go the way of the dinosaur, it does indicate a period of adjustment. Consumers have access to an overwhelming amount of information and they are becoming more selective in their choices. If your blog doesn’t catch and hold the attention of your audience– they will not return.

Should I have a company blog?

Opinions on this topic vary.

The Top 10 Reasons your Company Shouldn’t Blog
http://www.whatsnextblog.com/archives/2010/09/top_10_reasons_your_company_shouldnt_blog_redux.asp

10 Big Benefits Of A Busy Business Blog (And How To take Advantage)
http://www.webreference.com/authoring/bus_blog/

Like any tool, blogs can be effective if used appropriately. That includes:
• setting goals and policies for your company blog,
• understanding how your consumers use social media, and reaching them in a way that will appeal to them,
• regularly posting informative and accurate content.
• monitoring the feedback and making adjustments accordingly.

If you’re in the process of researching blog use for your company, spend some time reading blogs to gain an appreciation of what can make a blog successful.

Are there benefits to using blog software?

Absolutely. Blog setup is relatively cost-effective. Blogs are easy to update (if your page layouts are simple – see caveat below). Blogs are amazingly versatile and interactive.

Caveats and Tips on Blog Setup and Maintenance:

Use of free blogs: There are online tools ie. Blogspot.com which are freely available to allow anyone to set up a personal blog quickly and simply. For a Business Blog, it is better to use a blog platform over which you have greater control. A professional blog also establishes more credibility.

IMHO Blogs are best suited to simple page layouts ie. text with an image. Adding rich media (video, audio) and cool plugins is fairly easy. However, the page editor is not well suited to page formatting functions such as controlling line spacing, alignment, columns etc. Scripts like interactive weather icons, Google maps etc. are often stripped out when you update the page. Each new version of blog software will hopefully improve on these features.

Blogs are a target for spam: The comment feature on blogs is a target for spam email. If set up correctly, these nuisance comments will not appear on your site but you still must deal with them in the back-end administration. Strategies to deal with spam include turning off the comment feature unless feedback is an important component of that post, and there are paid programs that will filter the incoming comments for spam.

Blogs are a target for hackers: Blogs are somewhat vulnerable to hackers due to the popularity of this open-source software. Care should be taken to ensure a secure setup, software updates need to be made regularly, and there should be automated backups in case of an issue. As well, caution should be exercised if installing plugins or widgets – these components are often the Achilles heel for security.

More tips on blogging or business at … http://myinfolink.ca/web-marketing-articles/blogging-for-business/


Located in Prince Edward County, InfoLink Website Development has served small and medium sized business clients in Eastern Ontario since 1996, offering affordable full-service website development, e-commerce, web hosting and integrated web marketing solutions, on budget and on time. Visit our website at www.infolinkweb.ca

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About the Author: Anne is the owner of InfoLink Web Site Development in Picton. In her former life, she taught at Prince Edward Collegiate in the areas of computers, information processing, marketing, and communications. The satisfaction of seeing others learn and succeed is an underlying facet of her business endeavours.

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  1. Patsy says:

    Blogs are still hot. The ones that are not hot are ones that are not well written, or not kept up-to-date.

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