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I admit that I used to be one of those people who just didn’t “get” the whole blog (short for Web log) concept. Why not just keep an old diary with the key taped under your bed? It wasn’t until later in the life of the Web that I really started to understand the importance of a blog. Here are some important reasons to have one.

First and foremost, blogs get picked up by search engines. A lot. When a potential customer Google’s your company or types in a keyword you use for your Google AdWords campaign (you do have an AdWords campaign, right?), a blog will get picked up quicker than your normal company website. This is because search engines typically pick up non-selling sites before a site trying to sell a product or service. The bottom line-a blog drives traffic to your website.

Next, blogs can be useful for your customers. Placing some good information that your customers can actually use will keep them coming back for more. Doing nothing more than typing your thoughts about your industry, or how you think your products can be used by your customers is an excellent way to provide value. And as everyone knows, when value is provided, everything else falls into place.

Lastly, blogs are trendy. It seems as though everyone has a blog in some sense. Maintaining (key word there-maintaining, not just creating and letting it exist) a blog is almost expected in today’s world of Web 2.0. While many businesses still do not have any sort of blog space, blogging is something that can set your business apart from the competition.

The best way to begin blogging? There are a couple of options-if you already have a website, have your webmaster create a blog page that you have access to. Any modern web designer should be able to assist in getting this up and running. The other option is using a service for your blog, such as TypePad.com. With their service, just point and click your way to getting your space set up. TypePad offers a free 14 day trial, and just $4.95/month thereafter. The only disadvantage in taking this route is the image. Some companies would rather have their blogs appear at blog.companyname.com as opposed to companyname.typepad.com.

As said, blogs are a great way to advertise your business as well as provide some extra value to your customers. In today’s market, it’s all about keeping up with the times-something many small businesses simply don’t do. Provide a little something extra, not to mention fun, and you’ll reap the benefits.

Matt Pruitt is President & CEO of GyroGlobe Consulting, LLC, a Louisville, KY-based IT consulting firm that specializes in small business technology. Matt is recognized by Microsoft as an industry expert and uses Microsoft and similar technology to aid clients in staying ahead of the competition in their respective industries. For more information, please visit http://www.gyroglobe.com

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