By Lee Sykes
The word blog is short for web log. Blogs can be used as an online diary or journal. They are an easy way of publishing content online due to their easy content management systems.
The content in a blog is organised by date. The latest entry is presented at the top of the main page.
A blog post generally consists of:
- Title - the subject of the blog post
- Content - the actual content of the blog post
- Date - the date when the blog post was created
There are many software options for creating a blog. There are free blog hosting providers, such as www.blogger.com
- simply create an account and start blogging, and there are options for installing blogging software with your hosting provider, such as www.wordpress.com
In DotNetNuke, there is a free blog module available as part of the core modules. Visit this page to learn how to use the blog module.
Blogs and Marketing
Over the past year, blogs have become popular with businesses, they are no longer just a simple web diary. Blogs are useful to businesses because of the potential for search engine marketing. A business can ask members of staff to regularly add posts to their staff blog. The posts are not general diary entries for the members of staff, but, for example, useful tips on using the businesses products.
Content is added regularly to the staff blogs which the search engines index. This means that a user who is searching for information on a particular product is more likely to find details on your product because you have a portfolio of blog pages indexed by the search engines discussing your product and its various uses.
As well as the search engine benefits, these product blog information pages can be a valuable resource to the businesses customers as they provide an additional level of support.
What should I blog about?
Personal blogs: may consist of entries in the form of a diary covering the authors feelings, thoughts, family life etc. or they may focus on a particular topic, such as a hobby that interests the author.
Business blogs: are more focused. They will discuss a particular topic and will generally not discuss feelings, thoughts and family life etc. Content can include product reviews, articles, tutorials, tips, testimonials etc.
One thing to consider before creating your blog is the topic(s) that you will discuss on your blog. If you are going to discuss several topics, you can create categories in your blog. This makes it easier for the readers of your blog to find the content that they find interesting.
RSS Feeds and syndication
If a reader finds your blog to be of interest, they will want to regularly keep up to date with any recent posts in your blog. A reader can do this easily by subscribing to the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed of your blog. If you have created categories in your blog and created an RSS feed for each of your categories, this allows the readers of your blog to keep up to date with the specific topics that they find of interest.
We have covered RSS feeds in detail in issue 3
, but here is a quick overview of how they work in blogs:
- A reader subscribes to your RSS feed and places the link to your RSS feed in their RSS aggregator
- When you create a new blog post, it adds the post to your RSS feed
- The next time the reader opens their RSS aggregator, it informs them that you have created a new blog post and displays it in their aggregator without the reader visiting your site
This is a powerful way of keeping in touch with your blog readers. For more information on RSS and how it can benefit you, view issue 3
Have a look at this blog directory to give you some inspiration and examples of blogs: www.technorati.com