OK --- we've had enough of a hiatus --- time to get back to work in this real world and make some money. Sleeping til noon, entertaining friends, tracking sand in and out of the home office --- it's finished for this year. We've only got 3.5 months left in 2007 to get you organized and set you on the road to making your first million. So let's get busy.
As most of my clients are aware, I am currently encouraging the use of BLOGS rather then websites for marketing purposes. Unless you are an expert at building and manipulating websites, you must hire someone else to develop and maintain your web pages. This means every time you update or change content, you have to pay someone to do it for you. Good for the those in the website business; bad for those solo entrepreneurs who function on the proverbial shoestring. Blogs offer you, the business person, an opportunity to convey to your target market those aspects of your service and experience which set you apart from the crowd.
Business owners sometimes establish blogs alongside their existing Web sites, but blogs can also substitute for Web sites, says author and blogger Patricia Gundry. "A blog will give you a Web presence that is much more reader- and user-friendly than any ordinary Web site can be. It will also be much less expensive for you to create and maintain," she says. "It will do almost everything a regular Web site can do, and more, and one of the best things is that it can create a more personal relationship with your customer."
By changing content frequently (and at any hour of the day or night the Muse may hit), you give potential clients a reason to revisit your website. There is nothing worse then following a bookmark to a website loved on a first read through --- only to find nothing has changed 3 months later. The various blogging opportunities currently available on the internet are fodder for a blog of another day. However for today, let's consider one aspect of this potential marketing medium --- traffic!
If You Blog It, Will They Come?
Over the last few days I've received numerous emails about a new phenomenon called BlogRush. At first I thought it a joke. But I finally decided to check it out. BlogRush is a syndication network aimed at sending more traffic to your website. It's a path to your door -- or so they want you to believe. While it may be the Internet equivalent of leaving the light on for Trick-or-Treaters, it may also just direct traffic to the neighborhood block party! Currently in its beta days, the BlogRush website offers little insight or information. Sign-up is free --- you enter your blog's name, the URL and feed, and then select a category for your blog. This is what appears to separate BlogRush from the traditional traffic-sharing programs. Utilizing categorization and proprietary content matching, BlogRush selects headlines for the widget on your website which relate to the content of your blog. In theory, this should work like your porch light on Halloween --- an open invitation to those interested in the candy you are offering to pay you a visit. In reality, it may merely signal a week-long free-for-all in the cul-de-sac out front of your house. Only time will sort this one out.
How It Works . . .
Once you complete the sign-up process with Blogrush, you receive code for a Blogrush widget that you place on your blog. View the widget on your blog page and you will see it contains headlines from other blogs within your category. Accordingly, not only will your blog posts show up on other blogs (via BlogRush widgets on THEIR websites), but related content will be added to your blog. When people click on your headline in the BlogRush widget on someone else's page, they will be automatically directed to your Blog, where (hopefully) they will find your prose compelling and your ideas irresistible!
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!
As with all things in life, there are good points, bad points, and some which may fall in between. For the sake of argument, let's look at a few of each.
- BlogRush is free! Not a bad deal in today's market if it does what it purports to do. Services like PayPerPost exist solely to bring blogs to the attention of the search engines more quickly. Needless to say, the search engine companies don't necessarily appreciate the fact that you can buy your way to the top. As a matter of fact, neither do we. Score one for BlogRush.
- Then there was 2000 Bloggers --- the scheme where you linked to a ton of other bloggers in the universe in an attempt to get your share of attention. Since there was no rhyme nor reason to the linkages, the highly inflated link counts undermined the whole link value system and brought little worthwhile traffic to your blog. Eventually , in a move to save its reputation, Technorati (and perhaps others) found a way around this system. However, its vestiges remain and force those of us truly interested in analyzing our page stats to spend an inordinate amount of time doing so.
- On the opposite side of the fence, the BlogRush system can also be abused. If BlogRush counts on "click-throughs" rather then on the number of times YOUR blog is "viewed," the stats will be more accurate and the value of BlogRush as a marketing tool will soar. We have yet to learn the actual basis for their statistics will be.
- Other issues must also be considered: Where a widget is placed on a web page will be a determining factor in the number of click-throughs it receives. Since BlogRush currently makes no demands on page placement, this may contribute to the success or failure of the BlogRush
- Increased loading time for a website that is heavily anchored with widgets may also be cause for consternation. If BlogRush is on a roll and the widget is slow to load, it could delay the loading of your web page --- something we all work against.
- And finally, as with most of these operations, those who get in on the ground floor may reap the initial benefits of BlogRush Fever.
Will this marketing tool succeed where others have failed? Who knows. But hey, it's free! I'm game for most anything that's legal, honest, and at least mildly useful. Once the hype passes, we'll get down to the nitty gritty and find out how well it actually works. In the meantime, it's worth a try to see if traffic to your blog increases over time. Why not give it a shot?
Today's Assignment:Got a blog? Go sign up for Blogrush. Don't have a blog? Contact me about getting one. I can quickly set one up for you. I'll teach you to maintain it --- or I can do that for you too. What are you waiting for? Blogs are sweeping the internet! If you have a business, you should have a blog. If you don't have a business, consider setting up a blog for other reasons: highlight your favorite cause, share a hobby, keep family members informed, organize and share family photos, help a non-profit get the publicity it deserves. There are as many reasons for a blog as there are raindrops in the sky. Just one MORE way to organize your life -- see you soon in Organizationville!!