In the last article, we looked at why you would want to use a blog on your web site. We mentioned that people can either use a blog as their web site, or simply add it in addition to their web site. We even used GM’s Fastlane blog as an example of a corporate blog that you may not expect. Obviously GM, a manufacture of cars, is not the technology work horse you would expect when you think of other companies which might blog (like IBM, Microsoft, Google, and others).
Obviously, the amount of time you can provide to your site/blog will depend your time, your team (if more than one will be posting), and the importance you place upon your blog.
Recently Mack Collier wrote for Search Engine Guide about some good examples of company blogs. Some are from companies which you would expect as well.
- Kodak – 1,000 words – provides photo tips, sample photos from various people, as well as how to use their products.
- Fiskateers – provides information about scrap booking. With several author’s they often post daily or more often, and include contest even.
- Others include Dell’s Direct2Dell, LinkedIn’s blog, and Innocent Drink’s Daily Thoughts.
Integrating your Blog
Once you have decided to add a blog into your web site, you have to figure out how to integrate it into your web site.
Consider your existing design. You should pick a platform that will allow you to modify it’s design to fit into your existing site. I’ve seen too many people use something like Blogger.com, which allows only minimal configuration, so you cannot incorporate it into an existing site design. Creating a link to the blog, does not constitute incorporation.
The easiest way is to incorporate a WordPress blog on your site. If you cannot customize it, then hire someone who can.
Add Blog information to your existing site. Not only should there be a link to the blog (of course), but adding RSS feeds (more on those in an upcoming article scheduled within the next 5 days) to the existing pages. If you cannot add it on your hosts, you need to seriously consider moving to a different host.
This can be done even if the site doesn’t follow modern web conventions. A few weeks ago I had to integrate a WordPress blog into a site which we developed using tables and images. While it made integrating the information into the site more difficult, it was put in, and if you don’t know to notice the blog specific pages, you cannot tell. I’m currently waiting for the site owner to publicly release the site before I showcase it here.
Should your blog replace your site? This is always an interesting question. WordPress, for example, allows you to have pages which are different than posts. Because they can be processed independently, instead of in a chronological order as posts as, you can move your entire site to be driven from your blog. This obviously makes integration easier, but you have to talk to someone who can check your site for custom code to see how likely it is to be able to be moved.
I’m currently doing this with a site which you should see finished in a few weeks. The entire site, standard pages and all will be done within WordPress, and it has made several parts much easier to integrate into the system than if it had been split between normal web pages and blog pages.