Blogs As Marketing Tools For Small And Medium Sized Businesses Why Affiliate Marketing Program Is Internet S Incredible And Powerful Magnet Choosing A Web Hosting Provider By Their Customer Service

Times are changing. In the highly competitive marketplace, small and medium sized business entities (SMBs) veer away from the traditional to more creative and interactive approaches to doing business. Opportunities now spring from new markets, new consumer segments and new marketing tools exemplified by websites specifically business blogs.

Understanding Business Blogs

A blog, short for weblog, is a website in which journal-like entries called posts are written on an ongoing basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. New posts appear at the homepage so visitors can read what is new. It is an easy, frequently updated online journal, focused around a topic, industry or personality. Authoring a blog or adding an article to a blog is called blogging while the person who posts these entries is known as a blogger. Typically, a blog is composed of hypertext, images and links to other web pages, audio, video and other files. A distinct feature of a blog is that it allows readers to write their reactions or comments to what was written in the blog post. Another wonderful thing about a blog is that a blogger can update his blog thru a special type of blogging software called a blog tool instantly from any Internet connection on any computer. He just types his entry into a simple online form and the entry is readily available on the web for worldwide readers to see.

Over the years, blogs have evolved from simple, personal online journals to effective tools for augmenting business communications. Along the way, search engines like Google and Yahoo were displaying popular media blogs produced by journalists, in most cases, appearing above other search result rankings. Propelled by this discovery, companies started writing blogs to provide relevant information about their business to potential customers to visit their sites.

What then is a business blog? It is a blog about a business. It is an organized journal about a company’s products or services. A business blog provides specific news, statistics, product releases, and other relevant information related to the company to prospective customers starting a business blog and providing these information give potential customers enough reasons to visit a company’s website. Just imagine prospective clients visiting a company’s blog periodically without the company having to spend hefty amounts of money on advertising and promotion. As they say, give readers valuable pertinent information and they will come. Moreover, customer service issues may be addressed using a blog.

A business blog is best viewed as an addition to a website. If a company has a website, a business blog is just embedded in it. For small and medium sized businesses, business blogs help put a personal touch on an otherwise bland business site. A business blog can be an excellent marketing tool to support a main business, to provide value, build healthy relationships with potential clients and thus create personal brand and image.

Blogging as a Marketing Tool

Business blogging provides a way for companies and readers to meet on common ground and discuss ideas, products and services in the hopes of building an audience that can become customers. A business blog provides a cost-effective alternative to having a website. For small and medium sized business entrepreneurs without the time and the means to set up a website, business blogging offers an inexpensive tool to herald the company’s presence on the powerful Internet.

Business blogs provide SMBs with an avenue to share their expertise and knowledge with a bigger audience. Both online and offline small and medium sized businesses can use blogs to take their products and services to a wider audience increasing web traffic and boosting sales. The fact is business blogging is fast becoming a sustainable marketing strategy for any online marketer. There are numerous ways a business can benefit from a blog.

An effective business blog can help give a human face to a business. Blogs bring a personal dimension to the web. Blogs make business sites more personal. Since blogs are updated by individuals, the “voice” of the blogger will resonate through. This will assure potential customers that there are real people behind the blog engaging them in real conversations. Blogs can be opinionated, informative, at other times infused with humor thus eliciting better response from target audience.

A business blog if used productively can improve customer service. It provides instant customer feedback through comments. It allows one’s audience to comment on a post and create a dialogue with them. A blog can act as a question and answer forum. Customers can post questions and receive instant replies. An effective business blog functions as a central knowledge base of articles, tutorials, product development status, and other relevant product or service information. This is good customer service.

A business blog keeps an archive of older posts organized by date and categorized by topic. This gives the target audience easier access to information. With business blogs, it is also easy to add new information on a regular basis. Frequent updates in the form of fresh new posts mean visitors will have all the reasons to keep coming back thus building loyal readers – best potential clients.

A business blog can increase the chances of prospective clients to visit a company’s website. For a start, visitors to a business blog can be redirected to the company’s main site through links and special offers. Use of relevant keywords and popular links to specific sales pages improve search engine ranking of both the business blog and the main website. Just like the main website, top search result rank equals traffic. With more and more people turning to the all-powerful Internet to search for products and services, it is essential for small businesses to be easily crawled by search engines. Since search engines thrive on new content, the more likely the search engines are going to visit the blog and share it with the world.

Regularly posting valuable content on a business blog builds company credibility and creates sound business reputation. A business blog can help project a company as an expert in a chosen business area. Customers feel more comfortable transacting business with a reputable company.

A business blog can be an avenue to introduce company products or services. Ideally, a blog is not about selling. A blog can be used to mention new products or services and direct visitors to the company’s main website in the process generating more sales. Interestingly, several advertising programs such as Google Adsense allow companies to monetize their business blogs and generate extra revenue.

However, a business blog is not urgent but important for small and medium sized businesses. A business blog alone is not enough to market a company product or service. But it is good investment for startup businesses to have conversations with customers and prospective clients. Business blogging is an effective way to start conversing with visitors interested in ones products or services but it is in no way to be viewed as a stand alone strategy. Yes, business blogging can do wonders. But it is not going to work on its own. A business blog is most effective when it is used in conjunction with other online communication tools such as e-mail, press release, pay per click, company websites, to name a few.

Setting up and maintaining a great business blog that visitors will find useful and relevant is just like having an effective built-in public relations staff that will spread the word about the business.

As a final thought, starting a business blog is easy but transforming it into a marketing tool that drives traffic and sales to a business takes time, dedication and consistency.

The Affiliate Marketing Program is one of the greatest boons the Internet has bestowed on the business opportunity seeker aspiring to make money but lacks the financial resources. The popularity of an Affiliate Marketing Program is because of the ease with which you can get started unlike a brick and mortar business. Additionally it also gives you the opportunity of working from the comfort of your home with your computer.

The Affiliate Marketing Program is today becoming a powerful magnet in the Internet world attracting Affiliates from all corners of the world and from all walks of life, irrespective of language, race or religion. Furthermore affiliate programs have provided remarkable opportunities to people who otherwise would never have started a home based business. Who then are these amazing range of affiliates jumping on to the affiliate marketing bandwagon?

1. The Part-Time/Full-Time Affiliate Marketer.

Most people who have the desire and urge to make money from home are jumping on to the affiliate marketing band wagon. Since there are thousands of programs to pick and choose from, you can choose your niche affiliate product, start promoting it and earn your due commission. You could always start on a part-time basis, establish your home based business and become a full-time affiliate marketer over a period of time.

2. Stay at Home Mom:

Many stay at home moms are today on the look out for various avenues of earning extra money for their families without going outside their homes. They want to stay at home with the kids but are anxious to start a home based business. The affiliate marketing program is a heaven sent opportunity for them to do just that with very little investment and without having to strain themselves physically.

3. The Young College or University student:

Most if not all College and University students are today quite competent to handle the computer. A large number of students work part time to earn an income to help them pursue their education. The affiliate marketing program is a temptation to many of them. Though it might not produce any monetary benefits immediately to help them solve their financial problems fully, nevertheless they are attracted to it hoping to establish themselves as Affiliate Marketers in the near future.

4. The Retiree/Senior Citizen:

A large percentage of the people who have retired from active service are generally quite fit and energetic to start a business and work from home. Since their retirement income will be much lower than their working income many of them would like to earn an additional income without straining themselves physically. An affiliate marketing program is just the thing that can easily fit into their lifestyle. A couple of hours a day at the computer will keep them mentally alert and financially rewarding.

5. The Handicapped /Disabled Person:

The Affiliate Marketing Program gives a wonderful opportunity to the disabled people who are otherwise mentally alert and active to sit on equal terms with other affiliate marketers. No longer need they feel that they are a disadvantaged lot. They have every opportunity just like anyone else to earn an income big or small and feel proud and happy about their work.

6. The Rural Business Opportunity Seeker:

One of the big disadvantages of living in rural areas far away from city centers is that the chance of starting a home based business is very remote. Even if started it would end up in failure because of the sparse population and logistics. No longer you need to feel disappointed. An affiliate marketing program is just the business that can inspire and motivate you to achieve your goal of being an entrepreneur. With a suitable affiliate program your products can be marketed nationally and globally.

The Affiliate Marketing Program is today not only an incredible magnet but also a beacon of hope to an amazing spectrum of people who are longing to start a business of their own.

When choosing a web-hosting provider, there will be tons of questions you need answered before settling on the service that is right for you. Most often, when dealing with customer service, there tends to be a conflict of interest. Of course, they are trying to sell a service to you, so their ultimate goal is to make their web hosting features sound much better than the next choice.

Some companies will even stretch the truth just to attract business. For these customer service representatives, it is all about securing the deal and achieving a sale. But, what about the customer? In the long run, it is actually detrimental for businesses to lure a customer under false, misinformed or vague pretenses. If customer needs are not successfully satisfied or the company doesn’t deliver as promised, consumers are sure to place negative feedback and spread the word about their experiences.

Customer service is put into place to help customers make the decisions that are right for them. Just because a company offers low prices, doesn’t mean it will provide the proper services that a particular customer needs. They may need specific features to achieve all of their Internet goals and desires. It is the responsibility of customer service to make sure that all inquiries are answered with customer satisfaction in mind.

As a customer, familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of web hosting providers and services is quite beneficial. Arming yourself with relevant knowledge will help you pinpoint the type of questions you need to ask a customer representative when searching for a service. How will you be able to comparison shop if you don’t even know some of the basics of web hosting? There are numerous aspects of choosing a web-hosting provider that you should take into consideration. Below you will find a few areas of web hosting to keep in mind when researching web-hosting companies:

Email: Having access to more than one email account through a web hosting company is quite desirable. Good questions to ask customer service regarding email is how many accounts you will receive. Will they provide a catch-all account? Will there be any limitations to the space per account or the size allowed for attachments?

Disk Space and Bandwidth: The answers to questions pertaining to these topics will determine your limitations regarding website space and Internet traffic. Ask web hosting customer service reps how many sub-domains are allowed. How much hard disk space will you receive? How much maximum bandwidth?

Information Protection: For some, backing up information is extremely important. A potential customer will want to know if a web-hosting provider has any backup policies. Will it cost additional fees to retrieve these backups, if offered? How many times during a week, month or year are files backed up?

Knowing a little bit about related web hosting topics before approaching customer service allows you to get the most out of your questions. In the end, with the help of a reliable customer service rep with good intentions, you may or may not choose a particular web hosting company for your business.

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