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"So why would I want a blog?" is one of the most common questions we hear from business people.

Simply put, blogs make it easy to communicate more effectively with the audience you care about. They're the easiest way to update a Web site, provide simple and effective ways of automatically organizing the content you create, and notify your audience when your site has been updated.

A blog can also allow you to collect feedback from that audience, either right on your own Web site or via traditional methods like email. Public blogs are a great complement to the communications technologies you already use, such as email newsletters, conference calls and mailings.

Now, if you're ready to jump in and get started, the following short checklist offers some essential steps you'll want to follow. But, first, the most important thing: There are no wrong answers. Blogging is all about trying things out and making adjustments along the way; still, these steps will get you going with fewer question marks:

1. Test the waters

Make sure you understand what a blog is before you try things out for real. Setting up a test blog of your own to gain experience is a good start. Clicking around some public blogs and leaving comments is another way to get comfortable with this medium.

2. Understand the ways blogs can be used in your organization

The key here is to understand your company's culture and begin with an area that requires the fewest changes from current practice. For example, use a blog to complement your newsletter.

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Anil Dash is VP of Evangelism for Six Apart, which is sponsoring a series of half-day seminar and networking events to help businesses learn more about business blogging. Get more information or sign up.