Using a blogging platform for your major business website is a fairly new concept: up until recently blogs were considered a smart supplement to a business website but that was as far as it went.
If you are thinking of making the changeover to a blogging platform instead of a static website to promote your business you're in good company. There are dozens of examples of successful online businesses using a blog as their primary gateway on the Net.
Let's take a look at what's being said about using a blog for business:
Andy Beal of Marketing Pilgrim is enthusiastic about the use of WordPress:
Using a blogging platform such as WordPress allows businesses to bypass the typically slow process of asking a web development team to make changes to the web site. By using a blogging platform as the back-end, anyone in the company can quickly make changes to a web page, create new pages, or even add new functionality thanks to the many freely available blog plugins. In essence, WordPress brings efficiency and cost-savings to any size business.
First, as Andy says, blogging platforms are easy to use and the search engines like them. Second, a blog tends to be the perfect way to display your content, and the very nature of the setup encourages you to add fresh content all the time. Somehow the same incentive just isn't there on a static website.
Ian Lurie of Conversation Marketing had this to say:
Blogging software is really a specialized CMS. If you adopt a versatile blog tool, like WP, you can easily run your site with it.
To sweeten the deal, there are many powerful blog directories where you can submit your site for valuable incoming links as well as the possibility of more traffic.
And let's not forget social media: While you can submit all of the pages of a static site to StumbleUpon, for example, there just isn't the scope for getting your pages stumbled that you get with a blog where you can have pages submitted several times a week if you wish. And the number of pages that can be indexed in social media sites is limitless. Can you say backlinks?
Technorati Top 100
If you look at the Top 100 Blogs on Technorati you'll see a lot of very impressive sites . They are all main business platforms: Not one of them is a supplementary blog, although they may have started out that way.
Most of the current blogging platforms are great, but WordPress beats the others hands down in terms of ease-of-use and choice of themes. TypePad which was huge a few years ago, is still huge, but just doesn't seem to have kept up with the WordPress pace of advance. Drupal is coming up fast though, and you might want to consider that. Back to WordPress: Perhaps the main reason it's so popular is the truly wild selection of plugins, which are scripts or applications that enhance the functionality of your blog.
There are WordPress plugins for SEO management, Social Media linking, monetizing, photo galleries, site maps, contact forms, tag clouds, security, stats and a lot more. The beauty is that you can decide you want a plugin and literally three minutes later it can be on your site, fully-functional. Compare that with a static site where you have to select and then hire a programmer for any enhancements you need.
WordPress has a huge amount going for it to please the picky user, such as a vast choice in free themes so you can get just the right look for your site at no cost, and the support is fabulous: there are forums and lists galore to help you should you ever get in a fix. And if you give a shout to your friends on Twitter for WordPress help, nine times out of ten someone will offer you friendly, free advice to sort you out quickly. But more important than all of these, you can have a professional-looking site with loads of add-ons and features without having to learn code.
WordPress is an SEO-friendly content management system and as such perfectly placed to act as a framework for often diverse business interests. This does not include regaling prospective clients with your trivial and boring private life however. While a business blog can play an important role in helping a client get to know you and feel comfortable dealing with you, there is a very fine line beyond which it all becomes 'too much information' or as they say, TMI!
Back to what I was saying: Why is WordPress SEO-friendly? Primarily because Google simply approves of it.
WordPress Dos and Don'ts
It creates a bridge so that you can convey your expertise in a conversational tone while carefully crafting content to include your primary and long-tail keywords
Allows you to create a database of goods or services offered as well as input from happy customers
Keeps your information fresh and up-to-date both from a business perspective and from an SEO perspective
Provides a platform for you to keep a finger on the pulse of your particular niche so you can stay abreast of your client's needs and wishes. This is potentially a huge boost to your business.
What you should not do:
Allow an air of negativity to creep in. Far too many bloggers use this informal mode of communication to air grievances and even attack others. This is not businesslike and be very aware that it will cost you dearly if you give in to such urges. Potential clients will always be more inclined to engage with you if they feel that you're a pleasant person: they need to feel safe with you and seeing you let off steam in an aggressive way is not going to do that.
Don't feel that just because you are using an informal business platform that you don't need to perform online business tasks such as monitoring your traffic and carefully research ing your keywords. It's all still very important.
You can read the follow-up to this post here: Why WordPress Can Help Your Business
Patricia Skinner is co-founder and Search and Social director at Mideast SEO and spends her days doing what she loves best; cooking up winning strategies for business branding, social media marketing and organic search. Her original blog, Wellwrittenwords is also sporadically maintained.