What is a Blog?

I just came back from our neighborhood’s fall festival. I had a chat with one of the local merchants about his product, about his website, and about his marketing. Given the kind of product that he sells, I was surprised to find that he didn’t have a business blog.

Even now, at the end of 2009, many people still don’t know exactly what a blog is. Maybe that’s because there are so many ways to define a blog. But let’s see if we can agree on what a blog is so we can get to the business of getting one built to help build your own business.

The word “blog”, which is short for “web log” is “a website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order.

And that’s usually true, but it is not nearly half of the story.

Consider a “regular” website for a moment. More than likely, you have one, and if you do, you know that you probably went to some web designer. The two of you talked a bit about what you wanted your website to look like. You gave him some words to use, and some photos to put up on the site.

Then he or she went to work doing the magic that only web designers know, and came up with what amounts to several pages, all connected with links and probably a menu.
If you’ve got a printed brochure for your business, it’s likely you went through a similar process for that.

The difference between a printed brochure and your traditional website is that the content on the brochure is pretty much “locked” once printed. Your website is not locked in that same way, since it can be changed at any time. But to do that you’d likely have to contact your web developer so he can make the changes you request.

And every page of your website is filled with all of this HTML code that he has to get just right for the page to display on the site.

In other words, there’s work to be done, and you can’t do that work because — unless you’ve received training in HTML coding — you just don’t know how.

If only there were a way to allow you, the marketer/owner/author/businessperson to update your website without having to deal with all that stuff that those techies spend years learning!

Enter the blog.

Strictly speaking, a blog is a kind of a “content management system” — a program that runs on a web server. It allows you to log in, add a page, put words and images on that page, change other pages, delete pages, and more — all without having to know how to build a website or even a single web page.

The system publishes your content to your visitors when they visit your website.

Blogs typically also have a way for your readers to comment or reply to what you’ve written.

Think of a blog this other way, too: There is power in having the means to communicate your thoughts, ideas, and marketing messages. This power has always belonged to the owner of the means of communication. Ever since Gutenberg’s printing press, the power of the press has meant “who ever has the press has the power”.

Blogs are the newest incarnation of the printing press.

And now YOU can have the power.

Of course, once you’ve got one, you’ve got to know what to do with it, and how it can help your business. And that’s what this month’s Coaching Club is all about — blogs and how they can build your traffic and increase your sales.

If you’ve a member, log into the coaching club to download your “Blogging for Marketers” ebook.

If you’re not yet a member, join now. Your investment is just a dollar, and you’ll get my $47-value ebook for free, as well as hundreds of dollars more of marketing tools you can use right away.

To Your Success,

–Mark Widawer

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