To Blog or Not to Blog

When college student Justin Hall created the very first blog in January 1994, he was making history. In eighteen years blogs have become an online staple. Some blogs are personal diaries or links to websites about similar topics much like the first blogs were, but others have adapted to become much, much more.

Many people viewed blogs as a fad when they started, but blogs have evolved into a growing industry. Today blogs are used by everyone from people who want to document their lives and share their thoughts with the world to Fortune 500 companies who use blogs to tell people of their company, products, and build a community of consumers.

A good business blog can add value to your business, boost customer loyalty, establish you as an expert in your field, and attract potential clients. On the other hand, a bad business blog can negatively impact your business and your reputation. So, the question is: Is a business blog right for you?

When deciding to start a blog for your business, there are a few things to consider. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? How much time do you have to commit to a business blog? What kind of legal liabilities might arise? Luckily there are thousands upon thousands of resources on and off the Internet.

I’ve been researching this topic for an article I’m writing, and it amazes me the impact a blog can have on a company or individual. Some companies have used blogs to greatly increase their customer base and improve their standing with the masses. Others have crashed and burned. What’s the main difference? The blogs that have been successful offer quality content, are genuine in nature (i.e., not just a glorified commercial), and listen to their readers, responding accordingly.

While having the opportunity to blog, doesn’t necessarily mean a person has to blog. But those of you who are trying to decide whether to start a business blog, do your homework first. Read everything you can before starting, then dive right in. If you are sincere, offer value, and give a place for people to discuss your topic, people will forgive any mistakes you make. It’s an evolving field. Who knows, maybe you’ll start something new in the blogosphere.

According to the article,  “Blogs Will Change Your Business,” by Stephen Baker and Heather Green in BusinessWeek OnlineBlogs are a phenomenon that you cannot ignore, postpone, or delegate…blogs are not a business elective. They’re a prerequisite.” Blogs give business more marketing bang for the buck. So why not give it a try?

I’d like to hear from anyone who blogs for their business. What tips or advice can you give to those of us who are new to the business blog community?

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