When I start talking to business owners about the benefits of blogging, I talk about the three faces of blogs. By using a blogging platform such as TypePad or WordPress, you can extend and leverage your content and experience in (at least) three different ways.
The Blog as Web site. This is often how most people discover a blog: they visit the URL or Web site address. The blogging platform generates Web pages and directories to host all of your writing, and organizes it by date and category.
Since the content is served up as a Web site, search engines can find and archive your material. Most blog platforms generate search engine friendly material with tons of links and focused copy. Other sites and blogs can also link to your copy, generating more traffic and PageRank.
The Blog as Newsfeed. More sophisticated blog readers–you know, the ones who have raise their pinkies when mousing around–tend to read many blogs. However, visiting dozens of Web sites a day to see if there’s an update is a waste of time. Instead, people can subscribe to the feeds of these blogs and have them delivered to one central place: their newsreader.
A newsreader is to blog feeds like an email program is to emails. You can organize feeds into different categories: Maine News, Small Business, Tom Cruise Crazy Watch, etc., to create a virtual newspaper tailored to your interests. A newsreader can be a standalone program like NetNewsWire or a Web site like Bloglines.
Visitors can also get your posts to show up at their My Yahoo or My MSN pages as well. Reviewing my blog traffic I often see referrals from My Yahoo pages; in other words, people who have carved out a little of their personal page to receive updates from flyte.
There’s no additional work you, as the blog owner, need to do. Blogging platforms will create the newsfeed for you automatically.
The Blog as eZine. Most of the population still doesn’t "get" newsfeeds. However, everyone "gets" email newsletters. With a little extra work, you can add an email version of your posts so that people can get your posts via email. This of course extends your reach as well.
Even if your readership is savvy enough to understand newsfeeds, adding an email newsletter component is a great investment. I’ve found that sometimes I’m overloaded with the amount of unread posts in my newsreader, but I almost always skim the blogs I’ve subscribed to via email.
So, if you haven’t added blogging to your Internet marketing toolbox, you’ve got three new reasons to get started.