There are lots of viewpoints about blogging and business.
There are those (the ‘fire your web developer’ school) for whom blogging represents a liberation from the thrall of web designers. I would not go so far at this stage, but there is a story there.
There are others who suggest you should just have fun blogging and not stress over whether you will one day make any money from blogging.
No doubt there are bloggers who are appalled by having ‘business’ and ‘blogging’ in the same phrase or sentence.
There was a time when a lot of netheads were appalled at the ‘intrusion’ of business into the Internet space – and no doubt many still are.
From what I read, there is still quite a bit of disagreement among people much more knowledgeable than me about how blogging fits – or doesn’t – into the world of business.
For me, ‘blogging for business’ does not constitute a contradiction in terms.
Blogging has a strategic role for my business in a couple of ways – neither of which is likely to bring me instant income, but as part of the mix for the longer term, esp in terms of my online marketing –
a) getting known on the web as someone who knows a thing or two about the fields I’m interested in (e.g. home based business) – what internet marketer and blogger Paul Colligan calls the ISYOT (“I’ve Seen You Out There”) effect – and this having a positive effect in turn on traffic to my websites that are more focused on selling
b) learning the potential of blogging by actually doing blogging, which I believe is becoming a very influential technology – see refs below.
I recently took an excellent teleclass course on blogging and RSS with US based Andy Wibbels, who runs the Easy Bake Weblogs course. He has a preview of the course on his EasyBakeWeblogs site and some info on blogging and commentary about how it might be useful in business. Andy is a great communicator and has a born teacherâ€™s determination to keep chunking information down until his students get it â€“ then checking back to make sure. He definitely delivers more than people expect.
I posted the other day about the Blog Business Summit in Seattle next January – there are some good links there and some quite current commentary about the role of blogs in business. By being connected to that event I anticipate being more in the loop about what the current crop of experts are thinking/saying about blogging. And I want to contribute a perspective of home based business to the evolving discussion.
A few other sites where I’ve found some interesting stuff about blogs and business:
Paul Chaney’s Radiant Marketing site is very good and he has a ’14 steps to a business blog’ entry there, which in turn has some links to other interesting sites.
As to getting into blogging from scratch, the beauty of it is that all you need to invest at first is some time. You can get excellent technology at Blogger – www.blogger.com – (now owned by Google) and have your own free of charge and ad-free blog up in 10-15 minutes. You can go to Typepad, which I use and believe is more advanced technology than Blogger but still friendly to non technical people. And try their system out for 30 days free.
Even if you sign up for the paid Typepad it’s extremely reasonable for the functionality you get at the three levels (I would start with the Plus version as Basic is pretty Basic). And with most of these blogging tools you can make your blog, or individual posts, private or public.
Microsoft are finally getting into the act with their MSN Spaces blogging tool, but I would suggest that non technical people stick to the more mature software platforms, like Typepad or Blogger, until they can make their own informed assessments. Not everyone in the blogosphere is thrilled with the MSN move, especially with regard to some of the copyright implications. See reference to this in the item MSN bloggers try to foul up censorship tool.