Starting a blog can be a daunting task, as this tongue-in-cheek Kuro5hin article shows. Dave Pollard says that business is not embracing blogs because they don’t address immediate needs (e.g. in this fiscal quarter). Dave provides good pointers on how and why blogs should be used in business, and he describes his own adoption journey. His is similar to my own experience – heard about blogs, tested out some free stuff, started using a feed reader, and then added blogging to my static website. I don’t like to talk about blogging for blogging’s sake [too many instances of the "b" word in this post], but let’s face it; once you’ve tried it, you’re hooked. You don’t have to write a blog, as there is a heck of a lot just to read.
After an intensive year online, these are the tangible benefits to my business:
- Using a feed reader (via RSS), saves a lot of time and bookmarking.
- The information I get from bloggers is usually weeks ahead of the mainstream press. Call this competitive intelligence.
- By blogging, I have raised my profile on the web and increased visits to my site by a factor of 1000 in less than one year. This is cheap marketing.
- I use my database of posts when preparing reports, proposals and presentations. It helps to have a searchable system like Drupal.
- Blogging forces me to think and reflect in order to write, so that what was just an idea in my mind becomes more concrete.
- The underlying technology of easy posting and RSS to keep track of things, makes a lot of sense for collaborative learning and collaborative work – two areas of interest for my business.
- Through blogging, I have met a number of business partners.
- Blogging keeps me in touch with a lot of interesting people and expands my view of the world, providing new ideas for my business.
- When I have a problem, especially a technical one, I post it on my site or someone else’s and usually get an informed answer within 24 hours. It’s like a large performance support system.
- It allows people to get to know my opinions before they engage me as a consultant; saving time and potential frustrations.
Like e-mail, blogs are practical tools for everyday business. There are abuses of both (spam) but I think that blogs are one more tool that give the small business operator a real competitive advantage.