"Why Should I Blog? I Simply Don't Get It" This post on a popular discussion forum set me thinking - and I came up with 12 reasons you should blog. Read them and get started on your blog. Or better still, go get your blog up and running and THEN come back and read this #1 - You Do Not Need To Know HTML One of the biggest hurdles many hopeful website creators face is they don't know to design a webpage. Blogs overcome this - all you do is type into a box, and the blog software automatically converts it into a webpage and publishes it on the World Wide Web for anyone to see. #2 - You Are 'Forced' To Keep Your Content Fresh Blogs are essentially online diaries. It doesn't make sense to write in your diary every month or two. Similarly, running a blog itself 'forces' you to update it often. And refreshing your blog often makes it more useful to readers and consumers - and by extension, to search engines who are in the business of presenting *their* clients with valuable resources. #3 - Your Blog Is AUTOMATICALLY Optimized For Search Engines Search engines love fresh content. But that's not the only way blogs are powerful tools to rank high. Indeed, most blogs are structured to offer a high degree of search engine optimization. All sections of your blog are linked together. The terms used as link 'anchors' are keyword-optimized. Categories can be created to host themed content. Navigating through your blog is intuitive. Archives can be customized, and generate hundreds of pages of content that act as 'search engine spider bait'. #4 - You Get A Built-In Linking Structure With very few exceptions, most blogs are structured to be a tightly integrated network of links - to other sections of your blog! It's quite easy for a visitor to get 'lost' within your blog... without ever leaving it. Calendars link to posts on specific dates. 'Recent Post' listings point to your freshest content. Archives connect all your earlier posts. Search boxes let browsers look for certain kinds of content. And it all happens automatically, without you spending hours on creating a link structure or sitemap! #5 - You Generate Multiple Content-Rich Pages Every post you make on your blog is content. And by intelligently setting up your archiving preferences, you can turn each post into many different forms of content, each on a page of its own. Blog regularly for a few months, and you could end up having a 100+ page website - all filled with relevant, keyword-optimized, themed content! #6 - You Can Keyword-Optimize Your Blog Extensively All parts of your blog's template can be customized. And a very powerful way to do it is by inserting relevant keywords. It's a do-it-once job that will give you ongoing benefits for as the life of your blog. You can include keywords in your blog title, description, blog post headings, trackback links, comment invitations, archive titles, and category names. #7 - You Create An Online Community If your blog is on a specific theme, you can build a loyal readership and develop an online community. You can even take it a notch higher by tying it in with a forum or membership site. Ask for comments, suggestions, ideas and feedback, or invite reader participation. Pretty soon, your blog will be growing organically - even if you don't write a lot! #8 - You Initiate Conversations With Readers Of course, the first step is yours - to initiate a dialog with readers. You could do it with your blog post, asking a question or by inviting comments and interaction. Your blog will be read by an audience that's already interested in your subject or theme. This conversation will be priceless to you, the blog owner. #9 - Your 'Inbound Link' Process - Trackbacks Blogging is about distributed conversations online. Links are an integral part of such an informal network. Trackbacks are a kind of blog technology that make it possible - and simple! Your blog will benefit from the inbound links a trackback will bring, and you'll also get extra traffic from other sources. #10 - You Can Syndicate Your Content Easily Getting readers for your content is good. Getting your content out where many more readers can see it is GREAT! Syndication (via RSS feeds) is built in to most blogging platforms, giving you a quick and easy way to get a wide readership for your blog posts. #11 - You're Creating Stuff Search Engines LOVE Search engines exist to offer their audience a compilation of the best resources on a subject or keyword. Your blog is the answer to a search engine's prayers! By sticking to a theme and presenting the content in an organized, structured, intuitively connected pattern, your blog will be appealing to search engines in a way only a very professionally planned and designed website can ever hope to be. #12 - You Get 'Alternate' Traffic Sources Remember what we saw about blogs being linked and networked together? Bloggers like to share opinions with others. And when they 'talk' about you, they are going to point to your site, or a post on your blog, to show their readers what they mean. They become 'alternate' traffic sources - for YOU! Other tools like blog rolls, furls, favorite bloggers and more can drive sporadic - but sometimes big floods - of traffic your way. And best of all, it's effortless and costs you nothing! Not yet convinced? Well, then maybe blogging isn't quite your cup of tea. But if you trust me, try it - you just might be pleasantly surprised.