I've blogged about blogging before here, and here. A few people recently asked me about the differences between blogs and web sites. There's tons of discussion on the web already on this, but for me, the critical difference is captured in the words static and dynamic.
Web sites are static. They are electronic brochures which are designed to be updated infrequently. Sure, many web sites have tickers and lists of press releases and "What's New?" areas, but that's not enough. Much of this content is often buried one or two levels deep in a site. Who has the time or the attention span to delve into your website to find this information, other than prospective employees?
Blogs are dynamic. They can change as fast as you can post and as fast as comments are made. The neat thing about blogs nowadays is how companies are blurring the lines between blogs and static web sites. For example, Tom Peters Company is a blog, but the usual company information is available on the left. Note that the blog comes first! Burying a blog in a website will not work, but the opposite will. I think this venture capital firm's blogsite is another good example. The static information is along the top (and easy to find) but there is no doubt that this is a blog first, and a static site second.
But is having a blog enough? Clearly the answer is no. The prospective audience still has to learn that the blog is there. I have found that blog marketing and advertising is often overlooked. When it is recognized, the emphasis seems to be on general popularity-based metrics. The reality is that general popularity is usually a poor goal for a blog. After all, a blog is usually discussing a very specific subject, e.g., a company, an industry, a profession, a book, etc. A blog lends itself to targeted marketing to the desired audience. So is a Technorati ranking that relevant or important? Not really. There are simply too many blogs out there. What is most relevant is whether your target audience knows about the blog. If not, then the focus must be on developing ideas for marketing the blog to the target audience.
This may all sound fairly obvious, but it's surprising how many people abandon blogs because nobody is reading them, yet they make no effort to market them! Ask yourself:
Is my blog address on my personal or business card? Email signature? Stationary? Postcards? Brochures?
Is the blog address one that is easy to remember?
If the intention is to be a "professional" blog, is it filled with personal topics? I think some overlap is ok, but personal information (e.g., I went to a great restaurant yesterday) should be kept to a minimum. If the blog is a personal one, then by all means blog away.
How often am I posting? I strive to post at least twice a week. Short posts with links to interesting articles are a good way to maintain that dynamism.
How does the blog look in an RSS format? Is there critical information that is being lost via RSS? If so, do you post some of this information occasionally?
More on this subject later....