Too often these days, we see advertisements on the Internet calling for bloggers to make “fast, easy money” through simply writing content. You post articles, maybe add an optimized link here and there, put up a banner on the sidebar and expect the cash to come rolling in the next day. Suffice to say, it doesn’t always happen, and while there may exist people who do bring in a modest income through regular blogging, one thing to consider when owning a blog is that in order for it to work well for you, it takes more than monetizing it. A blog needs to be visited and read by many, many people before you begin to see results.

If your primary function for the Internet is promote your business, it is imperative to have a web blog connected to your site. Whether you host the blog software on your domain or use a third-party host like WordPress or Blogger, regular use of the blog to optimize keywords for your main site can be of some help in boosting your search rankings.

What should you write? Regardless of the purpose of your website or business, the blog should have a down-to-earth, friendly appeal. Though it is to be utilized for promotion, perhaps alerts on sales and new services, it shouldn’t be constantly used as a means to hard sell visitors every time they come to read, lest they be turned off altogether. Keep a good mix of blog posts active; talk about what you do and what you offer, but take the time to hold an online conversation with visitors. Post about local happenings, use pictures or embedded links to related videos, and try to stimulate feedback from visitors.

Combining these efforts with social media networking can improve traffic to your blog as well. Open accounts with Facebook and Twitter, for two, and use them to refer people to new articles on your blog. Sign up for social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Digg, and save the URLs of specific articles and posts you feel have a wider appeal. The more “word of mouth” enthusiasm you can generate, the better for your stats, and business. You just may find that blogging can bring you a decent income as it leads people to your main site.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Virginia web design.