While many thought blogging was a passing fad, it's now obvious that blogging is a practice that is here to stay as a powerful Web 2.0 marketing and traffic-generation toolset - and marketers are definitely profiting from their blogging efforts. Blogs are especially attractive to Internet marketers, for a variety of reasons.
First, installing and operating a blog is very simple. There is no need to learn HTML, and you can have a blog set up and operating in a matter of minutes. For popular blog software, such as WordPress, there are numerous templates available all over the Internet to help you make your blog attractive. And most professional hosting sites offer almost instant WordPress installation through Fantastico in your cPanel options.
You can blog even if you don't have your own website, by using a hosted blog such as that found at Blogger. However, you should ideally set your blog up on its own domain, with a professional domain name and webhosting.
Blogs are especially important for search engine optimization purposes. When you add a blog post to your blog, simply include a link or two to your main website that your blog pertains to - over time link to both the homepage and at least a few of the main interior pages of the site. This adds inbound links for your website, and may help to boost your rankings in the search engines. Be sure your blog template includes an appropriate robots meta-tag or use a 'Do Follow' blog plug-in though, or you may be wasting your time.
The important thing about marketing blogging is that you provide content that is of interest to your niche - not to the industry that your niche is in. You must stay tightly focused on your niches' concerns, problems, and desires and ignore the rest of the market as a whole. You can't please the entire market, and that isn't what you are trying to accomplish anyway.
If you have various areas or sites to promote that aren't tightly targeted to that same niche, set up a separate blog for each one. For example, an Internet marketer may have one blog for mainstream marketing, one for affiliate marketing, one for niche marketing, etc. Or an Internet marketer targeting the golf niche, as another example, might have one blog that discusses golf swings and how to improve them, one on golfing equipment, and a third that discusses and rates golf courses around the world.
Always keep in mind that the more tightly focused the blog, the tighter the targeting of the traffic it attracts - and highly-targeted traffic is the lifeblood of your sales process and list-building online. In the previous example, all 3 blogs might lead to the same web site - but one would lead to the page where you're selling golf instruction videos and e-books, the second to your section on golf equipment, and the third to a page promoting golf vacations and packages.
That same example shows how easily blogging can benefit affiliate marketers as well - each of those three blogs might send traffic to two or three links each, tightly targeted to that blog's subject matter. Yes, all 3 deal with golf, but by handling it correctly you could be tightly targeting 6 or 9 different affiliate opportunities within the golfing industry online.
It is also important that you blog daily, or several times per week at the very least. Don't worry about how many people are reading your blog. The more you update it, the more popular it can become in the blog directories and search engines. Over time, you should be able to build a good readership, and you will make sales to those people as time goes on. Add a sign-up form for your opt-in mailing list and you've created a really powerful marketing & profit center for yourself, one that can generate an ongoing influx of new traffic into your sales funnel.
To ensure you get maximum exposure for your blogs, use as many of the Web 2.0 services as you have time for. Use the 'auto-pinging' function built into WordPress to maximum advantage, list your blogs with services like Technorati and MyBlogLog, and use the online ping services like Pingoat and Ping-O-Matic to update even more directories each time you add another article (post) to your blogs.
Of all the Web 2.0 methods open to marketers, the combination of ease of use, low or no cost, and potential returns available makes blogging a must-have tool for Internet marketing, and it's especially well-suited to those just entering the field. In fact, we're seeing more and more fledgling Internet marketers beginning with, and sometimes staying exclusively with, blogging instead of traditional site building. Get YOUR Internet marketing blogging going today!
Doug Champigny is a recognized expert, author and speaker on the subject of driving highly-targeted traffic using Web 2.0 technologies and sites, and has assembled the Massive Traffic Bootcamp to help Internet marketers, bloggers and affiliate marketers to do the same.