What is a Blog?

Image of Fiona Storey, website and graphic designer and member of the Grapevine networking group in Milton KeynesThe following paper formed the basis of my 10-minute presentation at Grapevine last week.

During our recent discussions on increasing Grapevine memberships, it was agreed that we would ask members to contribute to the blog on the Grapevine website. But what is a blog, what sort of thing should it contain, and what are the benefits?

What is a blog?

Blog literally means “Web log”. The Google definition is “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”

i.e. a blog consists of a series of individual articles or “blog posts”. It typically displayed in reverse chronological order, and now they are generally interactive, so visitors can comment and there can be a discussion.

What sort of information might it contain?

Below are some ideas, with an example that might be relevant for me to include on a blog.

  1. How to? e.g. how to resize an image
  2. Useful information e.g. Reasons why your business should have a website
  3. A discussion of different viewpoints, collating posts giving various opinions on the same topic e.g. evaluation of different website platforms available
  4. Newsjacking e.g. on Tuesday “Donald Trump owns thousands of websites featuring his own name, including ‘Trump Fraud’ and ‘Trump Scam’ ” – article on registering web addresses
  5. Article about an aspect of your business linked to a particular date/event e.g. London fashion week – article about use of colour in a website, April Fool’s Day – Don’t make foolish mistakes with your website
  6. Something that says something interesting about you that may be unrelated to your business but enables the visitor to get to know you as a person – “people buy from people”.

A suggestion that was put forward at the meeting was information on a new product or service. This is certainly a good idea, however the best blog posts offer information and advice that helps the reader find a solution to a problem. So if I was an electrician launching a new checking service for smoke detectors, an article on the benefits of having your smoke detector checked and what might happen if you don’t would probably be more widely read than an article on the service you are offering. This should be on your website and you can then always put a link from the article to the relevant page at the bottom of the post.

Whilst they should include a call to action at the end, blogs should be more informative and not just a sales push for your business. Your aim is to show knowledge, understanding and personality.

What are the benefits of blogging

  1. It helps drive traffic to your website. Particularly new contacts. No cost! More content for Google. Content for social media.
  2. It can help convert traffic into leads. Contact form at bottom. Could offer free-be in return for contact details to add to newsletter database.
  3. It establishes authority. Answer common questions. As well as driving traffic you can point people to your blog to find answers to their questions. Promotes trust and greater understanding of the market.
  4. Provides a legacy – as well as immediate impact search engines will continue to drive traffic.

How to write a blog post

…to be presented and discussed at a future Grapevine meeting!

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