A business blog is not just for Xmas

Every sinice I have been working on my own web startup I have had a very keen interest in Internet marketing. I love studying the ins and outs of all the different techniques and love to devour any articles that pop up on my Hacker News feed about scrappy startups finding novel ways to promote themselves on the cheap.

One of the prevailing pieces of wisdom is that the foundations of a business’s web marketing strategy should be the company blog. A blog can be a hugely powerful tool in helping to communicate your message and to attract and cultivate an audience that you can then convert into sales. It allows you to give personality to your business and allows people to get a feel for what you are about. It’s so obvious that every company should have a blog. So, what is the one thing that is worse than not having a company blog? Having a unmaintained blog, that’s what.

It turns out that maintaining a blog is very time consuming. Many businesses (and individuals) start off having grand visions of posting daily or bi-weekly updates to their blog, they start out of the starting gate with a bang. A flurry of activity sees post after post of high quality material. But then other things crop up, “real work” is calling. Soon you realize that you haven’t posted in a while. A while turns into a month, then three months, pretty soon your blog becomes something that just naws at you once in a while. I have first hand experience – there is a reason that the Dealush blog is no longer visible and that I recently removed the display of blog post dates from this blog 🙂

The problem with a stale blog should be obvious: If your company blog is dead, does that mean the business is too? Or is it a ghost ship, abandoned and drifting aimlessly? As a customer it can be disconcerting to see this lack of activity. Recently Carl (my co-conspirator on Dealush) and I decided that we would make use of a third party service to manage our premium offering’s recurring payments. We looked at a number of options and decided to use Spreedly. A number of factors helped Spreedly be our choice, they have good documentation, their pricing was fair, they supported the right payment gateways and they were a small startup like us. One thing that we didn’t checkout was their blog.

It was not until I was putting the finishing touches on the Spreedly integration code that I decided to check out their Twitter feed and their Blog. Hmm… Spreedly’s last tweet was over two months ago, and their blog was last updated three months ago. What does this mean? Are they running on autopilot? Are the founders off exploring other business opportunities? Is Spreedly closing up shop soon?

Fortunately I understand how difficult it is to dedicate effort to blogging whilst there is so much to be done with product development, so I am giving them the benefit of the doubt and forging ahead with the integration. But how many people would do the same?

So, if you decide that a company blog is for you, then be ready to commit. Because like a puppy at xmas, your blog might start of all cute and cuddly, but it will grow up and you’re going to need to feed, exercise and care for it. And if you don’t it will poop on your reputation.