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November 2008

A new hobby horse: Web 2.0 for community building or growing your business?

Web20 Coming back to a recent article on the Kiss2 blog-site: Calling a spade a spade and some recent blog posts I read from well-known A-list bloggers.

To most bloggers, specially those who are deeply involved in social media communities, a blog should mainly be used to create a community. Conform to the expectations of Web 2.0

As a ‘brick and mortar’ company director and owner of various blog-sites I have a very different idea about what a blog can be. In that recent article mentioned above I consider any accessible entity on the world wide web as a ‘web-presence’, also those created on a blog-platform.

A web-presence build on a blog-platform is an effective marketing tool – a very simple, self-manageable tool that so easy gathers visitors to it – due to its embedded search-engine friendliness – and drives qualified traffic to your (if you have/need one)  ‘static’ website and/or webshop.

For small businesses – be it "brick and mortar" or services – it is not specifically about building a community that Web 2.0 advocates have in mind; it’s about growing your business by building trust.

Building trust by writing articles about your products, services. Written with – if I may be so bold – an educational value in mind: explaining to your web presence visitors in all honesty when, where and why your product/service might be the most suitable for them at that specific moment in time or later.

Educational because that’s what the world-wide-web is used for too: searching for information, specially when looking for new products/services to purchase. Perhaps that’s the most significant reason most ‘surfers’ (or is that a too much out-dated term?) start up their browsers for: looking for information.

And write in all honesty, because that’s nowadays also a very significant feature – if not the most significant for most of us - of the world-wide-web: almost every statement about your product, service you make can be checked against other statements, reviews by users or respected web journalists. Tell a porky nowadays and you’ll be ridiculed/told off/slapped on the wrist/loose credibility in no time at all! There are many global brands out there who know how true – and painful – it is by not taking this aspect of the world-wide-web for granted.

Building trust, because no matter how much information is out there on the world-wide-web, everyone will still look up to the ‘expert’, to the one who turns information into knowledge – and is very willing to share his/her knowledge to all who come looking for it.

And using a blog-platform - that self-manageable, search-engine friendly, simple to set-up, use and edit to your own likings, plus enormously interactive if you choose so – to establish all points mentioned above is IMHO the best ‘invention’ the Web 2.0 brought us as one of the most effective and powerful marketing tools any small business could ask for.

It is a rather low-instep media also. Anyone who is able to create a Word-document can write and publish an article on a blog-platform. A media that doesn’t need extra hosting, specific web-design or HTML-coding knowledge (if you do have those it can only work to your advantage but it is absolutely not a pre), can be edited by yourself without having to spend extra money (and time to explain your ideas to) a web design business.

It’s like using follow-up messages to any of your prospects and existing clients: if you don’t use this honest and effective marketing tool you’re definitely leaving money on the table. In these economical different times perhaps even more than ever.

Yes, I know. This is turning into a kind of ‘hobby horse’ of mine, but as managing director of a small brick & mortar business and owner of 7 blog-sites I see the positive results of using a blog-platform to grow your business on a daily basis.

I definitely plan to write more about this particular ‘hobby horse’ of mine in the near future and have already written other articles on using blogs and webmarketing to grow your business in a simple, effective and honest way. If you like you can pop-in your name and email address in the top right corner to subscriber to the free and ever growing number of articles. They will land in your inbox at regular intervals, so you can learn and use them on your own pace.

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)