Blogging, Search & Site Maps

 

 

To Blog Or Not To Blog

The word Blog comes from a combination or web + log. Blogging can be thought of as an online public (or private) journal of thoughts. Blogging in its simplest form is really nothing more than writing about a topic and allowing others to read and possibly contribute to your rambling words of wit!

For a small business person, blogging about your field of interest can be an effective way to start a conversation with your potential customers. Of course in order to have a conversation with your potential customers there needs to be a way that your readers can actually let you know what's on their mind. A comments section at the end of each 'blog article' is the typical mechanism to allow your customers to jump into the conversation.

Creating compelling content and an atmosphere that encourages conversation is the trigger to get readers to interact.

The ability to allow/restrict anonymous comments or requiring comments to be pre-approved before posting and some sort of human verification (like CAPTCHA) are typical elements of consideration for your blogging software. Most content management systems like Joomla! or WordPress have some level of built in blogging capabilities.

To Blog or not is a personal business decision. It really depends on your business model. Blogging can help position you as an expert in your field and the comments or customer interaction can provide valuable feedback to let you know if you are on the right track or not.

If you are considering Blogging as a worthwhile activity for your business, then the following questions might be good ones to ask your hosting/website provider:

  • Does the hosting/website solution support blogging?
  • Are anonymous comments allowed?
  • Can anonymous comments be restricted? (typically requiring an email address)
  • Can anonymous comments be prevented? (typically requiring a user to create an account on your website)
  • Can comments be moderated before posting? (You get an email with the new comment and then, like Caesar, you give your thumbs up or thumbs down)
  • Can comments include pictures, links, video etc in their comments? (This may or may not be a good thing depending on what you are trying to accomplish)
  • Can comments be screened in a way to prevent computers or automated systems from entering comments? (typically implemented with some from of CAPTCHA)
  • Can comments be filtered through some sort of profanity or word filter?
  • Can a spell checker be applied to customer comments?
  • If you have other suggestions/ideas for comments, please join the conversation by leaving a comment down below!
 

Site Search

If your customers can not find what they are looking for they will go somewhere else. Many will try and search your site if you have a search mechanism. This is pretty standard on a content management systems like Joomla! or WordPress, but considering that some charge a premium for this service you will want to ask the question just to be sure.

 

Site Map

Like a Site Search, Site Maps help your customers locate what they are looking for. If you're not sure what a site map is, click on this link to see the site map for this site. Our site map is also located at the bottom right hand menu underneath the privacy policy.

Site Maps are also a necessary element to help search engines understand what's going on with your website. Webmaster Tools (both Google & Bing) ranks sites up or down depending on the presence of an xml sitemap. More details on xml sitemaps in Google's Webmaster Tools & Bing's Webmaster Tools

 

Password Protection

If you are considering a content management system like Joomla! or WordPress than rest assured they provide multiple levels or access and password protection. For instance this section or discussion is not open to the general public. To gain access to this conversation you need to be a registered user.

But you are not limited to just two levels, so you could have information available to the general public, restrict other content to registered users and restrict other content to even higher levels. Imagine as well as the general public and registered users you also had suppliers, partners or associates they would have access to content not destined for the other two groups (the general public and registered users).

NEXT: eCommerce

 

 

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