I'm going to push for a longer presentation next time, and hope to make it more interactive – it seems like there was a great curiosity from the local businesses on how social networking and blogging could assist their businesses more.
One of the most common questions is about adding a blog to your corporate brochure site. First let me state that I would never recommend replacing your brochure site with a blog – I do believe in the power of a brand, marketing, and naturally organized web presence.
Companies will always benefit from the addition of corporate blogs, though, if the resources (time and talent) permit and the company permits (transparency). The question is how a corporate blog should be incorporated into a corporate web site.
Should I integrate a blog into my corporate site or host it somewhere else?
Bottom line: Integrating a blog into your corporate website requires that you maintain integrity with your corporate brand. It doesn't mean that you can't joke or write transparently… it just means that people will associate the content more with your company than with the employee who is writing it.
Writing on family, religion, or politics or flaming (writing negatively) on a specific topic will directly impact how your company is perceived. You will need to utilize some editorial prudence to protect your company or brand.
If your blog is hosted separately, it's more of a personal brand and can provide some additional freedom in writing. I'm not going to tell you to pick one over the other – it's up to you how much you wish to disclose to the public. With a company blog, you'll need to continue to ask yourself, “Is this the message I want our company to be associated with?”
There are search engine benefits and user experience benefits of clearly separating your blog internally from your corporate website. Clients and prospects are now beginning to be educated on corporate blogs and searching for them.
If you do a search for “Company Name Blog”, will your corporate blog be a result? An employee's blog? An unhappy customer? Try it and see! This is a search result that you should (and can easily) own.
How Should I Integrate Blogs on my Company Site?
The easiest way to establish your company blog as associated with your company is to locate it in either a blog subdomain or subdirectory. The prominence of “blog” in the URL will ensure that it's appropriately indexed with the Search Engines:
That said, take advantage of your company blog on your site's home page! I would not randomly display blog posts on your home page, I would instead simply display links, written excerpts, and a picture of the author prominently on the home page in it's own content area as the posts are written.
The search engines won't penalize you (duplicate content) for an excerpt – but you may benefit from the continuously changing content on the home page.
Note: Adding a photo of yourself should be a requirement of any blog. It clearly provides a visual that this is content that's written by an individual and not scripted through a marketing or public relations editorial process. Oh… and please ensure it's NOT scripted through a marketing or public relations editorial process – no one will pay attention when you do.
You can integrate a free, open source solution like WordPress (Linux-based) or an ASP.NET blogging solution to it's own ‘blog' directory and database on your site, but maintain a seamless style through a custom theme that incorporates your corporate site's style.
If your a larger enterprise, you will probably want to look for a corporate blogging solution to manage content and appropriately organize it for maximum findability with search engines.