Blogs with a Purpose Part 2
(Continued from Part 1)
Five Example Blogs with a Purpose
3. Horseback Riding Tours
Bayard Fox of Equitours Worldwide Riding Vacations has a unique way of using his blog. After one of his horseback riding vacations, he writes an online journal, complete with pictures, and posts them to his new blog.
The guests who attend his vacations can visit his blog and link to it, and then tell their friends and family members to visit to read more about their recent vacation.
These vacations are in very exotic places, like Africa, India, and Uruguay. In other words, reading about them and seeing the pictures certainly makes you want to take a riding tour as well.
Why do people want to visit his blog? If you had taken a horseback riding tour in Africa, wouldn't you want to visit a site that had pictures of your trip, as well as a journal that documented the whole thing? Wouldn't you want to link to it?
What good does this do for Bayard and his company? It's obviously a perk for his customers, and we always want to take care of our customers. Plus, as the site gets more exposure in the search engines, more and more people will visit, outside of his existing customers.
His existing customers will pass along the link to friends and family members, and he'll pick up new customers that way. He'll gradually build link popularity from the blog as time goes on.
Tip: Be sure to link to additional pages of your site from your blog posts, so potential customers can read more information about products or services you mention on your blog. Use absolute links with keyword phrases in the link text. On your product pages, link back to the blog. In Bayard's case, he would be linking to each riding tour's page.
If you have a newsletter, promote your blog through the newsletter. Be creative! Ask your customers to post their opinions about a new product line in the blog. Offer a 10% discount to those who post.
In Bayard's case, he could mention a recent riding tour, and give
the URL of the blog where newsletter readers could see the
pictures and journal entries.
For this category of "blogs with a purpose," I wanted to list a blog that serves a purpose similar to that of an online forum.
Numerous ones come to mind, but none more appropriate or effective than Threadwatch.
Nick, the owner, takes great pride in his site, and it shows. What makes it different from other blogs of the same sort is that Nick has added a "twist." Here's Nick's concept:
"Finding the signal amongst the noise of internet marketing media takes too much of what we all value most: TIME. Threadwatch.org cuts through the chatter and produces a clear signal for the time starved professional Internet Marketer."
In other words, he distills information from other forums and posts that he feels are the best and most useful posts. Rather than your having to sort through mountains of information yourself, go to Threadwatch and let Nick do it for you.
What's in it for the visitor? You don't have to run all over forum land to learn SEO and Internet marketing information. It's all consolidated in one handy place: Threadwatch.
What's in it for Nick? He's has an extremely popular site now with a very loyal following. His link popularity is excellent, and I'm sure his visibility is as well. Congratulations, Nick!
Tip: Can you follow in Nick's footsteps and add a twist to a popular concept? Look how well it's worked for Nick!
5. Cup of Sunshine
In the final example, the entire Web site is a blog. This Web site is for a coffee house in Abbotsford, BC, Canada, which also sells antiques. They didn't want to have to learn HTML to post to their site. They wanted something easy and non-technical.
So, their SEO set them up with a simple blog in about an hour. Now, they have a Web presence and can even sell their antiques online.
The blog is loaded with character, as you can see. They'll certainly have a lot of fun adding to it as time goes on.
The purpose of the blog is to be a Web site!
Now is the time for you to be creative.
Here are your goals for your "blog with a purpose":
* You need a reason for your buying audience to visit your blog.
* Your blog needs to be special to your audience in some way.
* Is your blog bookmarkable, and will people want to link to it?
Any business can set up a blog. Making your blog a "blog with a purpose" takes it a step beyond normal blogs. It gives it purpose and meaning. It gives it power.
Give it a try, and good luck!
Let me know if you have a successful blog with a purpose. It's helpful to see examples of real sites who have succeeded in setting up effective blogs. I'll write another article using your examples.
Robin Nobles conducts live SEO workshops (http://www.searchengineworkshops.com) in locations across North America. She also teaches online SEO training (http://www.onlinewebtraining.com). Localized SEO training is now being offered through the Search Engine Academy. (http://www.searchengineacademy.com).
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