If Howard Dean's failed political campaign accomplished anything, I would say that it brought to the mainstream the use of something called a weblog or "blog" as it known in cyberspace.
A blog is really nothing more than a diary uploaded to the Internet and until about the last 12 months was the realm of the individual who saw it as a way to publish there random (and sometimes disturbed) thoughts. The great thing about weblogs, and the growing set of software that is being created to publish them, is that they are a tremendous business tool.
Weblogs allow you to create content and contact.and that is what your clients crave more than anything.
I use a program (there is a free trial version) called PMachine to publish my weblog at DuctTapeMarketing.com/weblog.php. This program allows me to simply make many entries and updates and also allows readers to add comments. Better still, now seemingly random articles can be sorted and searched by content or subject. My weblog is more like a content management system and my readers seem to love it.
Another great reason to explore the use of weblogs is that search engines seem to love them. Within 30 days of launching my weblog it became the most visited page on my fairly high traffic website.
So what is it about blogs that those little spiders love so much?
Here's a little secret, search engines crave content. Okay so maybe that's not such a secret but to look at many websites you would think it so. The fact is that too many websites just sit there doing nothing that the search engines admire. Providing content, not to mention fresh content, is one of the toughest chores of anyone who maintains a website. But when it comes to generating traffic it is the most important job.
Blogs, by their very nature, are all about content. In a commercial environment every blog entry is fresh content. Get in the habit of making two, three, even four entries a week and you've got a content building bonanza on your hands. Everyone knows you need new content to give visitors a reason to come back; blogs just make the task so much easier.
Another advantage that blogs seem to currently possess over traditional web pages and sites is lack of competition. While the number of bloggers grows daily, there are still relatively few commercial blog sites. When I created my blog I found that it showed up in the number 3 spot in Google for the term "Marketing Weblog" within about 3 weeks of launch. Not bad considering I did nothing to make it happen.
There are a couple of other things you should do to make your weblog a traffic magnet. They aren't really that different than tradition SEO tactics but the names and faces are unique to the blogging world.
Use targeted keywords in your entry titles
No rocket science here but this tip can't be stated enough. Forget cute.go for titles that fit your targeted keywords and phrases.even if they seem a bit awkward. (You do have targeted keywords and phrases don't you?)
Register with Blog Search Engines - Search engines that specialize in blogs
Register with Tracking Services - These services note when a blog has been updated and publish an ongoing list. They even keep track of the most updated and most visited weblogs. Plus you get to learn what pinging is.
Trade Some Links
You don't need to get out of control on this one but a few "relevant" swapped links to related blogs can boost your traffic.
Syndicate your content
This one is way to technical to cover here but do some research on the term RSS and you may discover ways to have your content and entries fed to sites that are hungry for the type of stuff you write. Many of the popular weblog software packages have this capability built right in.
Copyright 2004 John Jantsch
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant based in Kansas City, Mo. He writes frequently on real world small business marketing tactics and is the creator of "Duct Tape Marketing" a turn-key small business marketing system. Check out his blog at http://www.DuctTapeMarketing.com/weblog.php