I did a short email interview last month with Carl Burnham, author of WEB HOSTING, A Complete Strategy on the topic of blogs in the web hosting industry. Carl’s article Blogging for Business was just published in the April 2006 edition of Web Host Industry Review and I am very grateful that some of our exchange appeared in the magazine. One of our very forward looking BlogHarbor customers, Perceptric Media, got a great mention in the article. Here’s some of what I wrote to Carl:
How are you currently utilizing blogs as part of your hosting solutions (especially businesses)?
Absolutely, we’re utilizing blogs as part of our hosting solutions for businesses. Your question in fact brings to mind the approach of one of our more visionary customers, Perceptric Media. This company launched in November 2005 and in their statement here they noted the following:
With a focus on areas where the first tectonic shifts of change are taking place, the Perceptric company website is built entirely as a blog; www.perceptric.com. That’s a change Perceptric is advising every company to implement immediately.
The company decided to forego the traditional static website and implement their site as a blog right from the start. Of course we were there to provide them with the typical ancillary hosting services such as email and DNS to pull it all together, but the real insight here is that they did not view a blog as a supplement to their website, they saw the blog as a way to communicate more directly with their market. One of the founders wrote on that announcement:
“Intimate conversations between companies and markets are accelerating. Every company has to answer a binary question – Do they ignore what is being said about them, or tell their side of the story. The only way to be in the conversation is to use the tools – pods, vlogs, and blogs. Marketing and customer relationships experience deep change because it true transparency emerges.”
So we do see that more businesses are choosing to implement blogs for a variety of reasons.
What are the most popular features/functions requested by customers?
We like to say that weblogs are the “content management systems for the rest of us.” So when it comes to weblogs, there are a pretty standard set of CMS-like features that our customers are looking for: easy to use rich text editing, categories, file uploads, photo albums, RSS syndication, disk space, design customizability, etc. But when they learn that in this price range there is multiple author support, restricted categories, and a user- and group-based permissions system, that is really the big surprise, especially for businesses. The ability for users to create intranet and extranet style websites based on weblogging technology really changes the web hosting landscape.