The Internet has become an increasingly pivotal element in society. The Web has brought email, instant messaging, online shopping, and various other sites that provide instant access to information. The Internet has also simplified global communications; therefore, expanding the possibilities of marketing strategies. Most recently, blogging has become a growing component of the Internet. There are many types of blogs on the Internet centering on photos, videos, and audio just to name a few. People write or maintain blogs about almost every topic. People blog about business or products when it becomes a very useful tool in marketing a business. For business, blogging encourages conversational communication with its customers, which provides a personalized relationship and customer loyalty.
A blog is a blend of the term “web log” and refers to adding logs; more commonly know today, as posts to a Web site. Posts are short articles made of text and may contain images and video as well, and can be found on any topic. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular input of entries. Blog posts are normally displayed in a reverse chronological order; this provides the most recent entries on top of the list of posts in front of the visitor’s eyes. Blogs are commonly interactive with its visitors, allowing people to leave comments and interact with the site. This interactivity is what distinguishes blogs from other static Web sites. Blogs can be stand alone sites or an integral part of a Web site. The term blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to add information or posts to a blog.
Blogs originated with simple updates to components and articles on Web sites. The evolution of tools to facilitate the production and maintenance of Web articles and posts made the publishing process easier to a larger, less technical, population. This resulted in the online publishing of applications that produce blogs that are easily recognized today. The use of Web browser based software is now a typical application for producing and maintaining blogs. This software principle allows people with no programming skills to contribute and maintain a blog. Almost anyone with basic computer skills can add content to a blog, giving small business owners the ability to communicate information about the products or services they offer. Blogs function in the same manner as a standard Web site, the files and graphics reside on a Web server computer provided by a hosting company. There are companies that provide free services to start a blog, as with free Web hosting, free has its limitations and any company serious about its Web presence should have premium Web hosting services.
Marketing methods and strategies have changed since the introduction of the Internet. With the use of high speed Internet, now common to almost every household, businesses have the opportunity to reach many more potential clients. The traditional methods of advertising consisting of print ads, radio broadcasts, and mailers which usually blanket an entire geographic area. The traditional methods may be preferred to Internet advertising because the technology is relatively new to most business owners. The owner of a small business usually does not have the time to learn a new technology to implement into a marketing campaign and hiring an Internet marketing company is normally out of the budget for a small to mid-sized company. These methods, however, are not without problems. They are more harmful to the environment by producing an excess waste of materials needed in the production of the print advertisements. A large percentage of print advertisements are considered junk mail and end up in the garbage or become litter in society. Print advertising also requires the use of chemicals and ink which further adds to the negative effect of this marketing strategy on the environment.