Business blogging continues to grow up and evolve. Like some kind of Borg-like unkillable alien species with an insatiable appetite for absorption and assimilation, business blogging thunders on through the blogosphere, the socialsphere and beyond.
What originally started off as simple blogging in the late 90s has now become the content management cornerstone of many businesses both small and large:
- You do not just “get a blog,” you convert your entire website over to the WordPress platform.
- Into this WordPress platform you throw everything you need to make your web presence do what you want: a million themes and plugins exist to serve every desire.
- Social media explodes onto the scene and rather than kill business blogging, business blogging co-opts social media for its own ends: marketing, lead generation and sales. It does this by treating social media as yet another channel to drive interaction on the site, and it does that through a host of blog/social media integration tools anyone can use.
- Business blogging has adapted quickly and quite nicely to sudden domination of the Amazon Kindle device and tablet devices.
What I See for Business Blogging in 2012
The unexpected can never be predicted (I mean, duh…), so with that in mind here are what I see as developments which will continue to gain momentum throughout 2012. Many of the links below are affiliate links: if you should happen to purchase a product or service via those links I will earn a commission (beer money, basically).
RSS will continue to die, business bloggers will continue to gain from email marketing
Well, maybe not die so much as recede from the surface of everyday interactions. In nearly every case I can think of with people I know personally and from what I’ve heard anecdotally, email subscribers trump RSS subscribers. Your interaction level is higher and that translates into more sales. Everyone has email, but not everyone knows what an RSS reader is or how to use one. Email marketing companies like Aweber make integrating your blog marketing and email marketing a snap.
More people will start to pay attention to conversion, testing and metrics
Data drives improvement: what gets measured, gets improved. More people are waking up to that fact. Not only will you see more people taking advantage of Google Analytics, but also tools like visitor heat maps and split testing as these tools become more and more accessible to people who aren’t total nerds. For the first time, many more people will become aware of the concept of conversion: getting the desired visitor action. More people than ever before will begin measuring their conversion rate and seek to improve it.
Business blogs will come to resemble content channels rather than a “business place”
Instead of saying, in effect: Here is my business, which happens to have some content on the side, what we’ll be saying is: Here is this tremendous content, which happens to be backed by this product or service. Or perhaps this: Here is this tremendous content which is free, and if you want to take it to the next level you can purchase this training or service.
Point is, presenting the content and the business proposition more equally will benefit everyone.
One noticeable effect from this growing trend is that when business blogs are designed they now tend to to resemble online magazines more than what we typically think a business site should look like. In short, there may not be a huge difference between what the Discovery Channel’s home page looks like and what the home page of an independent consultant looks like.
More people will begin to use social media dashboards, analytics and automation
If you’re just some average ordinary person who goes to work and uses Facebook to interact with family, friends and play games, you don’t need a social media dashboard. But if you’re marketing your business over a blog and multiple social networks and you want to have some kind of efficiency and analytics… it’s a no-brainer.
I use HootSuite and I love it. Marketing via social media is not even remotely like how an ordinary person uses social media: you need special tools to work effectively and efficiently and to know how you’re doing.
Kindle and tablet-friendly designs will become the big new design trend
This is already happening. If your blog isn’t already available on Kindle, it should be. If you’re not selling ebooks on Kindle, you should be. Does your blog work well on a tablet device such as iPad or Android-powered devices? If you haven’t thought about that much at all, yet, I suggest you take a look around: mobile devices are everywhere and the trend shows no signs of stopping. Elements of tablet-friendly design include larger fonts and links and something called “responsive design.”
Responsive design means that as a browser window resizes from larger to smaller, the major elements of a web page re-arrange themselves (or even disappear) in a responsive manner. The idea is that a page is essentially reformatted for an iPhone screen as compared to a large desktop monitor.
What’s the big trend for your blog in 2012?
I’m sure you have some insight as well into what’s in store for business blogging in 2012. Care to share your thoughts? Please comment below and share this post with your friends and let’s talk about this.