The Greatest Myth about the Internet
One of the greatest myths of all time regarding building websites and the Internet, is the belief of “You build the website, and the visitors will come“. This myth, unfortunately, has resulted in individuals and companies spending countless hours and a lot of money developing websites that just sit there and do nothing. Some of these websites are really run on high end servers in the back end, to support for high volume and secure transactions.
But they lack one key aspect of the whole picture – the one key piece to the jigsaw.
So then came along the notion of Internet Marketing – the focus on the marketing aspects of the website. Internet marketers realised that the utmost importance of any web promotion strategy, and the bottom line, is the return on investment (ROI), so something need needs to be sold on the net, or rather money has to be made some way or another on the Internet.
The strategies used by Internet marketers to generate traffic to their sites are plentiful – everything from search engine optimization (aka SEO; optimizing to rank high in search engines for certain keywords), advertising on pay per click search engines (i.e. they put up their ads on search engines like Google, so they will need to pay Google for every visitor Google sends to their website), email marketing (collecting email addresses so that they can build a relationship with the prospects through email), developing viral content or software that people will pass on to each other, to leaving links to their websites in the online forums.
With the evolution of blogs, blog marketing has become one terribly good way to drive traffic to websites.
What are blogs anyway?
I hear that! So, what are blogs anyway? I understand that many who are enrolled in this course would be totally new to the Internet, so here is just a (very) brief history about the evolution of blogs.
What we call blogs today evolved from personal online journals. Blog is the short form of Weblog.
It started when the earliest computer geeks wanted to post their daily diary entries online. Initially, everything was done manually – that means that for every entry that was added, the pages have to be manually edited on their own system, and then transferred to the Internet server, before it became viewable by the public.
This process is terribly inefficient, and as always, humans tend to make errors, and the resultant website was full of broken links.
So, back in 1999, a website by the name of Blogger was set up and it offered a systematic solution to that problem. What it offered was an easier method to update their journals, and everything was done using a web interface. The links were automatically maintained as the size of the blogs grew, so the authors can focus on the content, rather than be frustrated over broken links. Blogger gave out blogs for free.
Slowly, it evolved. Today, while Blogger (now owned by Google) remains as one of the major players in the blogging arena, we have seen a lot of other blogging platforms which are arguably more powerful in terms of the features provided.
People have also realised that this blogging system need not be used only for personal journals, but also for anything else. It is simply put – an instant publishing platform.
Some people whom I’ve talked to ask me – why blogs? I mean, there are so many traffic generation strategies out there, but why do you focus on blogs?
Blogs are slowly becoming the mainstream media for Internet related news, and I forsee, with more and more people embracing technology and the Internet everyday, blogs will eventually become the mainstream media for all kinds of news.
In fact, the Technorati State of the Blogosphere report in October 2006 (never mind now if you do not understand what is Technorati, and what is Blogosphere) reported that there are over 57 million blogs, and the number is doubling every 236 days!
For me, blogging came natural to me, because I love to write – I love to write in my own voice, and you will soon find out that using a personal voice is one of the best ways to get readers to come back again and again.
However, in my own research, I have also found that using blogs to build traffic does have some distinct advantages.
I’ve come to realise that there are two ways to interpret the phrase blog marketing.
The first is “using a blog to help to market a website”. In this perspective, the blog is mainly used as a traffic generating strategy. Your focus in on another website – so you are using your blog to gather traffic to that site.
The second is “marketing your blog”. Many blogs are not standalone websites like blogopreneur.com – they are part of a bigger website that belongs to an entity interested to increase its publicity and public awareness, so in this case they may really just want visitors to come and read the content posted on their blog, and then hopefully surf around and get an impression of what they are doing.
It is important to note that whether you are using blog marketing as a means or an end, we still need to do one thing – that is to get traffic to your blog! It makes sense, does it? Even if you want to drive traffic to another site using your blog, you still need the traffic to come to your blog first, isn’t it?
So that’s it, your first dose of blog marketing. In the next session, we will cover some of the terminology involved in the blogging arena.
As mentioned – the first three sessions will cover the preliminaries – and I understand that to the more experienced people, this information is really the basics, but to others today’s session might already be overwhelming. I’ll do my best to strike for middle ground. If you have any feedback, comments, or suggestions, do drop them in the comments box below, or check out my bio page where you can get in touch.
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