The Evolution of the Blog
Though very different from current blogs, the very first iteration of the blog began in 1994. It has been 25 years already! The term “blog” wasn’t used until 1999. In the year 2000, 23 blogs existed. The Huffington Post, Gizmodo and other blogs began in 2001 and are still present today.
Blogs experienced a growth stage around the turn of the century. WordPress, the free platform used by so many present day bloggers had its inception in 2003. In 2004, bloggers could use video and generate revenue by putting ads on their blog sites. By 2006, there were 50 million active blogs. By the end of 2010, that had tripled and there were over 150 million active blogs online.
Microblogs, or tumblogs as they were also known, were established during this time as well. These allowed short posts to be created, add images or video, comments on posts and send blog content to others. Tumblr is one example of a microblog which is still used today with millions of active users.
At one point, blogs were the only source of content and communication for internet users. But with the increase of social media use, social networking emerged as a popular source of information instead.
However, that didn’t stop the blog trend. Blogs remain very, very popular today and every indication is that they will continue to grow and be more popular than ever with approximately 500 million active blogs today.
The Modern Blog
Blogs come in every size and flavour. Some of the most popular blog types are: fashion, food, travel, political, how to, health and fitness, sports, finance, lifestyle, gaming, entertainment, etc.
Blogs are written by companies and by individuals. Blogs vary from very large blogs with paid contributors, lots of advertising and earning millions of dollars in revenue to an individual running their own blog with no advertising and earning no revenue. Some individuals earn part-time or full-time incomes from blogging by selling ads on their site, being paid to mention companies or products in their blogs, becoming affiliate marketers receiving a commission on sales of products or services purchased through links on their blog (e.g., Amazon has a very popular affiliate program), selling digital products like e-books or e-newsletters, selling physical products like books, and selling their services as a consultant or as a speaker at an event.
Blogs for a Small Business
Virtually all small businesses now have their own website and usually have one or more social media platforms that they use. So, should a small business incorporate a blog into their website? The answer is a definite yes. There are many good reasons why a small business should invest in writing a blog:
- To improve website ranking – A blog with useful content on a business’ website will help improve a website’s ranking in search results. How? Google’s algorithms will rank sites with better content higher. Rankings also increase with link backs to the blog spurred on by the great content written.
- To establish credibility – When potential customers read a business’ content and they can see value from it, they are far more willing to frequent the business.
- To become known as the face of the business – Rather than buying from a business they know nothing about, people want to know about the individuals that own and run the business. Posting stories about the owner of the business, their employers or suppliers, will help customers get to know those behind the business and will translate into increased traffic for the business.
- To increase loyalty – A business has written a great blog with amazing content. By enabling comments on the blog posts, a business can engage with its customers (or potential ones). This allows the business and the customers to know one another better. This will lead to increased loyalty, allow the business to gain more knowledge about its customers and ultimately to increased revenues.
- To lead to other opportunities – Once a blog has been established and has a good following and is known for valuable content, it can lead to other opportunities for the business.
Suggestions for a Small Business Blog
Here are some suggestions to follow for a business blog:
- Blog consistently (i.e., decide the amount of time you have to create a blog, determine its frequency, and stick with it).
- The blogs should be quality pieces and it should add value to the reader. Ensure you know what the reader is going to get from reading your blog.
- Longer blogs (1,500 to 2,000 words) rank best in search engines, but quantity does not trump quality.
- Aim for a minimum of six to a dozen words for the blog title for best search engine results. The title should be enticing to draw the reader in.
- Write in an informal way like you are talking to someone. What you say and how you say it are both important.
- Use pictures, video and diagrams. Nobody wants to read word after word without something to draw the eye to. This will increase the chance the whole article will be read and help in information retention.
- Be sure to entertain. It’s not like being a teacher giving a lecture.
Need Some Ideas?
Here are some ideas of what to blog about.
Have you written a blog for a small business? What kind of results did you get? What kind of blogs do you like reading for personal use?
Small Business Blog to Start a Dialogue: Hotdog! #smallbusiness https:www.bit.ly/2K5Fe2o
Small Business Blog to Start a Dialogue: Hotdog! https://www.bit.ly/2K5Fe2o