As a developer and trainer advocating the use of blogs for business – by far, the most common questions I get everyday is “How? In what way can blogs be used for business? Do you mean that you sell things on your blog? Do you mean that the blog replaces the company website totally?”
I think it is a question really worth discussing, and here is my take on it.
In my opinion, blogs are just another genre of websites… and blogs are actually just a tool! And just like any other tool, what is important is really not the tool itself, but how it is being used. Tools make things easier for humans – just like a hammer makes it easy for you to get that nail into your furniture, but tools by themselves are useless the human knows how to use it, and use it correctly.
Consider an air tight container. If a person uses it to store the potato chips and crackers, can you be sure that it will always keep your chips crispy? Not necessarily! What if the person didn’t seal the cover properly? This is an example of having the right tool, for the right reason, but a case where the tool might not be used effectively.
Consider the same container. What if a crazy guy comes along, and decides that he is going to use that to keep his pet hamsters? If this crazy guy is going to seal that container well, you can be sure the hamsters are going to be a goner! In this case, the tool can be used effectively, but not for the right reasons!
I once wrote about ten ways you could use a blog. Again, blogs and blogging platforms are just tools, and in order for it to give you results, you need to use it for the right reasons, and use it effectively.
Blogs by themselves don’t help you sell your products, and studies have proven that most bloggers make only enough from advertisements to cover their webhosting costs. But let me just illustrate how a blog can bring in more sales for an online business.
Say, you have a company website. This website is just a “regular” e-commerce site, so you have your shopping cart, your about us page, contact form and things like that. You can go ahead and buy traffic, or do some marketing for your site like posting articles and submitting them to directories – these techniques work, frankly, and they work well.
But consider what happens when you attach an search engine optimized blog to your site and regularly update it with interesting content. People now come to your site for another reason – to read about your thoughts! They find your blog through the search engines, because Google loves blogs due to their frequency of updates.
Then, on your blog, you need to think of how you can collect leads using an autoresponder, like maybe giving a free report or something like that. You collect leads.
The next time you feature a discount item on your e-commerce site, or put something new up for sale, you now have the option for “push button income” – you have the permission to email this list of prospects about your new item.
That is how you get your additional sales.
True enough, it is a long haul strategy – it might be a little tedious, but consider the relationships you build with your blog. How valuable is that? Blogs help you build crediblity and relationships – well managed relationships bring you the sales.