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Build business relationships with a company blog.

By Laura Tiffany

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Blogs have gone from fad to phenomenon, so it's notsurprising that blogging has made its way into business. "Mostbusiness owners who use Web logs [want] to communicate withcustomers while preserving a human voice," says Mena Trott,26, co-founder of San Mateo, California-based Six Apart Ltd.-whichoffers blog publishing services Movable Type and TypePad-with herhusband, Ben Trott, 26.

Before you allow customers, partners, investors, employees andeven competitors a glimpse into your company via a blog, it'scrucial to determine what you want your blog to accomplish. Alsothink about how you can develop a relationship with your readerswithout being too marketing-oriented or too personal. "Keep itprofessional, but with a strong personal voice," Menacounsels. If the words on-screen sound like a conversation,you're on the right track. And since Web pages can live foreverin cyberspace, Mena advises you don't post anything youdon't want on your company's "permanent record."Make sure the design is professional, and edit for spelling andgrammar. Mena also suggests doing practice posts for two or threeweeks before going live so you can work out any problems.

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