Don't Have a Blog? Time to Start Blogging!
by Trudy W. Schuett


There's a brilliant solution on the horizon for bringing the 
movement to the mainstream. Because it requires little or no 
money, and minimal tech savvy, all of you who now send e-mails 
all over with little or no response; or don't have as much time 
anymore to update and promote your website can be at the 
forefront of a growing trend.

You probably realize that the e-mail marketing industry (which 
includes anyone who sends a newsletter or notices of any kind) 
is in the midst of a crisis from which it may never recover. 
Sp@mmers, sp@m filters, and nanny software, are just a few of 
the problems for anyone legitimately trying to communicate with 
a group of people. There's got to be a better way to get the 
word out; and right now there is.

I'm talking about blogs.

Last year about this time, I encountered a guy who opined that 
blogs were on the verge of dying out entirely due to boredom and 
lack of interest. At that point I hadn't had much contact with 
blogs. All I'd seen were a few daily diaries of negligible value 
to anyone beyond the author's immediate circle of acquaintances, 
and so took him at his word. Sometime over the intervening 
months, sp@m problems in e-mail started giving e-mail marketers 
major headaches, and professional journalists started using 
blogs to report, sometimes minute-by-minute, on the most recent 
Gulf War. This changed everything. 

Both businesses and traditional journalists alike had begun 
looking at blogs in a different way. After all, blogs are really 
just a content delivery method. The identical technology can be 
used to deliver anything to readers. There's nothing in that 
technology that requires a blog to have any specific kind of 
content. Sure, it can be your lunch menus or a detailed 
reportage of housebreaking a new puppy, but it can also be an 
effective way for groups to communicate with their members. It 
can also be a source of news for subject matter that's not 
covered by traditional media, for whatever reason.

The major difference between a blog and a conventional website 
is that a website just sits there. Once you've got a website up, 
you then have to promote it. Website promotion is getting tougher 
all the time, because there are billions of them out there now, 
and they're not any big deal anymore. A blog, on the other hand, 
has the capacity to announce itself, and can keep doing that 
every time you update. Right now there are millions of people 
out there actively looking for blogs. For example, last night I 
was working on a new blog and had thirty people visit the test 
message overnight!

On the other hand, when I registered the domain for this same 
blog, the guy on the other end of the phone wanted to know what 
a blog was, so I gave him the thirty-second rundown. I find 
myself answering questions a lot lately, which is why I think 
it's important that the people of the movement be aware of this 
opportunity to address a far bigger audience than ever before. 

Another thing that makes a blog such a good idea is that it 
doesn't require any specialized knowledge. If you can run word 
processing software like MSWord, then you know enough to start 
and maintain a blog. Once you've got it up and running, then 
daily updates take about the same time as writing and sending 
an e-mail. So rather than sending out a bit of commentary to a 
few people you regularly e-mail, with no assurance they even get 
to their destination, you can make that same content available 
to the world in general. Included in that audience are thousands 
of traditional journalists and media types, who are watching 
their aggregators closely for changes in the blogosphere. 

The aggregators, and the RSS feed that notifies them of updates 
to blogs are the things that make the whole system work, and 
sets a blog apart from a static website. Some people are 
subscribed to hundreds of blogs, with either a desktop or 
web-based aggregator keeping them advised all the time. So far, 
blogs are sp@m-free, and some business writers are predicting 
they may even replace e-mail for a lot of applications.

With free blogs available, there isn't any reason we couldn't 
establish hundreds, or even thousands of blogs related to "our" 
issues. There shouldn't be any concern about competition, 
because related blogs linking back and forth help each other to 
draw readers, and show up well on the search engines. It's a 
situation of the more, the merrier, and I've always felt there 
was room for a lot of different groups, individuals, and 
opinions. It wouldn't be too long before the traditional media 
took notice, and our combined readership became a serious force 
to be reckoned with. 

In my own experience with blogs, I've found a whole new audience. 
Married people -- men and women both -- young singles, retirees. 
I'm hearing from a lot of people now who are simply interested 
individuals with a desire to learn about the movement. That's 
because my kind of blog is new and different in the blogosphere. 
There's certainly no lack of subject matter or content, either, 
because the movement is growing and there's something new 
happening all the time. 

In case you're wondering where to start, here are a few sites 
that have been helpful to me. BTW  you'll find tech support 
at Blog City and Type Pad especially fast, and easy to deal 
with. All of the people at the sites below have been very 
willing to help and answer newbie questions.   

Bloglines  (web-based aggregator)  http://www.bloglines.com

Blog Search Engine http://www.blogsearchengine.com

Blog City http://www.blog-city.com (Free with paid upgrade 
available.)

Type Pad http://www.typepad.com  (Paid service, but possibly the 
best. 30-day free trial)

Blogger Talk Forum http://www.bloggertalk.com

Once you get your blog up and running, let me know so I can add 
you to my links. Don't wait too long though, this window of 
opportunity won't last! I'm told by those who know about these 
things, that it's probably going to start getting crowded right 
after Christmas. 


================================================================
Trudy W. Schuett is the publisher of the DesertLight Journal 
(http://desertlightjournal.blog-city.com) and the God Blog 
(http://www.thegodblog.com).
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