Is blogging a beast of burden, a monkey on my back or a tool for networking?
I guess for a SOHO consultant like myself blogging can achieve a greater profile. Indeed, Neville has stated several times that his blog is his only online presence. Similarly, whilst Shel has a website (with RSS feed, too! ha ha - Scoble has an interesting comment about sites without RSS) Shel's blog would be, I would think, how the majority of online visitors find him.
But having had a good look at my own stats for both my blog and my website, I must conclude from the data that my website is still (by a significant amount) my primary 'outreach' tool.
Sure, there is a 'longtail' effect here -- my website has been around a lot longer than my blog (by several years). But the effort I put in (before blogging came along) to writing and submitting articles to article databases has certainly paid off in terms of traffic [info on why articles are so good at generating traffic]).
Of course, the question for a SOHO operator is not so much the traffic (although that helps with Adsense revenue) but the conversion ratio of traffic to client. And here again I have to confirm that the website has brought in more clients than my blog.
All that said, I am increasingly finding two models at work for SOHO business bloggers:
1. The pure connection strategy of bloggers like Steve Rubel, Debbie Weil, Neville Hobson, Robert Scoble and to a lesser extent Shel Holtz (as Shel fits more into a middle ground between 1 and 2);
2. The commentary/think (with a link) strategy as exemplified by Amy Gahran, Seth Godin, Kathy Sierra, Doug Johnston, Nova Spivak, Hugh MacLeod, Paul Graham and Scott Rayburn inter alia.
I have toyed with strategies 1 and 2 and I have found that strategy 1 takes up a lot of time, but is less ego-centric. Strategy 2 gives the reader a better insight into the poster's mindset, but posts are less frequent and therefore risks a potential drop in one's google and technorati profile.
So, on balance, I will probably go for a mix, like Shel does, of Strategies 1 and 2. Which is a daily commitment, to take up Amy's point (and its follow up), but feels most comfortable for me. After all, what IF someone reading my blog DOESN'T also read any of my sources? At least I am passing the baton on...
And I am still very taken with Nick Usborne's business model of providing a way of the reader to gain more information by linking to an article on his website (although I would still use full feeds on my blog). Nick's business model is outlined in an article (on plantar fasciitis, of all things!) I wrote quite a few months ago about a different site I found that used the same model.