Blogging. Kids are doing it. Your neighbor is doing it. Academicians are doing it. And now businesses are doing it, too. If you take "Web" and "log," and put them together, you get a blog.
At its most basic, a blog is a frequently updated, timed and dated online journal with a good dose of links involved. That may not sound like much to get excited about, but it has gone beyond fad to become a full-fledged Internet phenomenon.
Blogging expert Peter Scott is a consultant to Internet service company Northern Lights Internet Solutions. His Weblogs Compendium (www.lights.com/weblogs) is a premium resource for entrepreneurs seeking an introduction to all things blog. "For a small business, the beauty of using a Web log is that you can promote your business and you can also get other people to work with you on your business," says Scott.
The elements of interactivity, community and collaboration will be key as growing businesses adopt blogs for customer relations, advertising, promotion and even internal communications. One well-known business example is software company Macromedia's use of blogging to keep customers updated on what's happening with its products.
It's hard to narrow down good uses for business blogging because the possibilities are enormous and the whole area is relatively new, but it doesn't stop with Macromedia. Scott sees blogs becoming a mainstream feature of business Web sites. "There are new services coming out that can go beyond just a blog and turn into complete information management systems," he says. With a blog, you can answer questions, post business updates, link to similar sites and receive commentary from users. A collaborative company blog could give your employees one place to go to keep up on business happenings, memos and announcements. Get a feel for the community and tools available by visiting popular software provider Blogger (www.blogger.com).