A lot of websites out there today are very static. They offer the viewer the general information about their product or niche market, offer a service, artwork commissions, or physical product(s) and then just leave it. Now, this isn’t to say a fully static site can’t be a good thing. For some people that’s all they need. But a static site for others isn’t enough for what they are trying to accomplish, so they indeed need more!
One way of giving your static site a bit more interest and interactivity is to add a blog to it. Some kind of journal, or perhaps a news feed to a journal to give your viewers something more to look at!
First thing’s first, you need to ask yourself – why am I doing this? Do you want to merely update the site and keep it’s content fresh? Do you want to share something of related content to your site? Perhaps you want to find a way to make a little bit of side-cash by blogging.
Why Add a Blog?
Some of the more marketing-savvy folks know they have to find ways to promote a site in order for it to deliver sales. A site alone will not bring in sales unless you are a known entity!
Traffic = Sales.
If you are doing this for more personal reasons, adding a blog gives the site a personal touch. You can even link to what ever online journal / blog you already have if you don’t want to integrate it into the site. But from a business perspective, try to make it related to your site’s content and keep posts generally centered around your art and/or services!
Either an on-site or off-site journal /blog keeps the site updated in ways that general adding to your “Gallery” or “Products” doesn’t offer. This keeps people sure that your site isn’t just sitting there gathering dust, and that there is in fact someone alive behind the scenes!
Added to that the bonus of site-traffic-draw. What better way to help drive site traffic then to add a small blog or other “news section” to a website? This keeps people informed, up to date, and enages a reader to be more then a reader. It thus allows them to comment, ask questions, and get responses from the site owner as well as other users.
Even if you use an .rss feeder to take your Livejournal, WordPress, Blogger, or other such online journals to feed into your site’s “news” section, you are still blogging! Linking directly to these sites also helps you to help yourself by increasing your reader subscriptions!
The ‘cons’ of blogs
Not all blogs get the same kind of attention. There are hundreds of thousands of them online, and many of them about art. So no matter how much you write or update, very few folks will see it unless you put forth more effort to get it seen. A blog / journal will help your web site, but the blog needs its own help. This is where you need to ask yourself that all important question again – Why am I doing this?
Blogs will get spammed by people who are not interested in your content. Just like email spam, postal spam, phone spam, forums spam, network spam, and more, you’ll get useless stuff that is trying to sell something many people are not interested in at all. This is not going to just go away, but there are things you can do to reduce it. [link tba]
Online journals will draw trolls only interested in trying to get your ire up, and thus ruining your reputation! Don’t fall for this. Always, always, act with professionalism and decorum. Don’t let the less mature and more aggressive types get the better of you.
Pros to Adding a Blog
First, writing about something you love to do is beneficial to your sense of self and inner self image. I don’t know about you, but talking to others about the things I love really gets me happy an excited. Then again I’m very much an extrovert in some ways!
Secondly, letting people know you’ve updated your site helps them to keep track of what’s going on.It keeps the site fresh, new-feeling, and let’s people know you are alive. It also lets people know what’s going on in your life, generally speaking, that is effecting your work, services, and products. If you share articles that are of related content, it helps them keep up to date with what’s going on in the world.
Sharing ideas, tutorials, insight, on the topics related to your site draws people of the same mind-set. Or, when posting these ideas, you might also post problems you’ve had with a particular medium, code snippet, or bit of design. People generally like to be helpful, so you may end up with a random critique, or a suggestion! Talk about useful!
Also, one of the key concepts of Web 2.0 is user interactivity. People want to know who you are! They want to talk with you! People with similar interests may even hang around and check out your site semi-regularly to see what you’ve posted!
If you blog about your art or products, you are promoting it! For Free!
A blog itself can become a money maker as well, and bring you in extra income. This is true whether you want to Blog for Money, or if you want to just share your thoughts.
Blogs can make money?
Yes. But! Yes the infamous “but”. There is a right way and a wrong way to do this.
The wrong way can hurt your search page rankings. This equals decreased traffic. Remember, traffic = sales! The wrong way can make you and your services look fake! This equals decreased sales. No sales, no money! The wrong way can cause others to blog about you, your site, and your blog in a bad way. This can hurt your reputation! In business one’s reputation is important not only to sales but to client trust. Client trust = repeated business. (Not to mention good Karma!)
The right way can bring you in small trickles of extra income from different sources. Don’t expect to make a LOT of money from just one source! That doesn’t always happen. The right way can offer your site more hits, or more interest from viewers. They see that you’ve tried something or are reviewing something, and want to know more themselves. If you’ve set things up the right way you can bring money in from those products! The right way may well give you and your site a bit more credibility and a better reputation!
An example of this can be found right here! We offer a blog as a tool for others’ education, as well as a site updater. Articles on related content, reviews of useful products, and more can be found here. We also offer articles on products that we do not produce ourselves, but as a rule we don’t blog about products that we don’t support in some way or form.
Drakenhart Studios doesn’t write reviews unless we’ve tried it, because that is what a “review” is.., you’ve seen it, read, it or tried it and then want to tell people about it!
So how to make money from your blog? That is another article entirely!
Ways to add a Blog to your site.
Keep an eye out for more detailed tutorials on various tricks and techniques on how to add a blog into your site. Below are a few short tips to get a blog into the site.
- Off-site Journals / Blogs: Some of them offer <embed> codes so you can add your journal to your site. Be a ware not all of these codes are SEO compatible, as they use <iframe> tags.
- .RSS feeds: This is a “cheat” in some ways, and some off-site journals / blogs won’t like it. But some online services (like Feedburner) offer you the ability to post your journals / blogs to your website.
- On-site Blogs: Some CMS programs offer the ability to post threaded pages (ie. others can comment on them). Were as some Blogging software can be used as a CMS instead, yet still retains the ability to blog!
- On-site Blogs: There are some online services that offer very basic blogs, or blog-like codes for free. These aren’t always 100% reliable or safe for sensitive data, but some are pretty good.
Generally some CMS programs offers you the chance to add .rss feeds or blogs directly to your site. Either of these is a good way to go, especially if the .rss feeds allows for comments from viewers!
How to Bring Attention to your Blog
Attention to your Blog brings attention to your site and thus your product! So how do you get your blog the attention it deserves?
There are several ways to go about it.
- Get friends to link to your blog as well as site.
- Don’t baddger random people you don’t know, even if their sites, blogs, or forums are of simialr content! That’s spam!
- Ask politely to have people who have used your services to blog about you, your site, and blog! Testimonials are a wonder!
- Check out the various online “help sites” like the ones we’ve listed here or written article about! [tba link]
- Go to other blogs, sites, forums, and such community centers and put you site and blog link in your profile!
- Some such communities have areas where you can self-promote by adding your site links, online Gallery links, other community links, and more. Make sure you use these!
- Web 2.0 is really about community and the networking done within those communities. Go be a part of a community, help out, offer advice, be sociable! People will want to get to know you better! This creates traffic.
Online journals, blogs and others of the same type have cropped up in the last 10 years and people have jumped on it with a passion. Why? People like to communicate, talk, chat, etc, and journals have been part of our lives since we learned how to write as a species. Add those two together and you have a wonderful communication medium.
Add to that the ability of some journal-sites to promote community by allowing one the ability to post to communal blogs! Amazing! There is even the ability to share your content with other sites in a similar way that a cartoonist can share their artwork with different newspapers!
But it is a choice of the site owner, to blog or not to blog!