• United States
by Bill Keaggy

Are Weblogs legitimate business tools? Yes

Nov 04, 20023 mins
Enterprise Applications

Blogs have many uses in today's business environments.

Using Weblogs in your business environment can increase employee communication and knowledge, save time and resources, and build reputation and confidence. We’re not talking server logs here; the Weblogs we’re talking about are topical, frequently updated Web pages powered by knowledgeable contributors. Drop the notion of blogs as vanity sites for high school diarists and time-wasting black holes made by wannabe writers. Blogs can be anything. It’s up to you to make them useful.

You might pass along a useful Web site or an article to friends and co-workers via e-mail. And your colleagues might do the same. The good part is that’s a lot of distributed knowledge. The bad part is there’s no organization or centralization of the knowledge.

You and your colleagues could be posting that information to a company blog. Then everyone would have a filtered repository that was constantly updated with relevant articles and opinions. It would be archived, searchable and available anywhere you had an Internet connection. It could even be categorized by topic, date and/or author. And it could be formatted for XML syndication, e-mail delivery, PDAs, even cell phones.

The other side: Blogs don’t warrant the hype.Forum: Share your thoughts on the issue.

I maintain two blogs at my company. Both are valuable to my co-workers, but it goes beyond that. One, which links to business resources on the Web, is proving to be valuable to our customers. The other, which links to information design and visual thinking resources, is considered essential to students and professionals in fields similar to ours.

These blogs are not only knowledge builders, they’re reputation builders. Since 1999, a targeted audience from all over the world has visited my company’s Web site to read the latest postings. With help from some contributors and other blogs, we’ve filtered the best resources on the Web for our employees, our customers and our industry.

One of the biggest complaints in the business world is “too much e-mail.” E-mail is crucial, but individuals don’t sort, save or delete it in the same way. This makes sharing and retrieval of information difficult in large corporate environments. A blog ensures that no messages get deleted or lost.

A blog can keep everyone up to date on projects without clogging in-boxes. It also can provide an archive of mistakes and milestones that could be shared with other teams undertaking similar projects.

You could be using blogs in many ways: as internal and/or external company blogs filled with competitor, industry and/or company news; crisis management, product and sales updates; Web resources; network information; and resources for customers.

To learn more about the potential of using blogs in business environments, see Small Business Blogging and Using Blogs in Business.

Keaggy is brand manager at XPLANE, a St. Louis, Mo., business communications company. He can be reached at