Measuring the state of business blogging can be tricky. Statistics are contradictory and change almost by the day because of the exponentially rapid growth of the blog as a medium (not to mention its newness).

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A recent Pew Internet research poll the amount of businesses using blogs to be in the neighborhood of 7% (a research poll conducted by American Express last month suggested a similar percentage). Meanwhile, another poll by Guidewire Group suggests 89% of companies are either blogging now or plan to in the near future. Despite these wildly differing figures, the point of agreement is that business blogging is growing. The pace seems to be the heart of the dispute.

There are about 175,000 blogs being created each day (or about two per second), but don’t let that figure frighten you: the business share is a drop in the bucket. Experts put the number of active business blogs in the U.S. today at about 5,000, with half of them being less than a year old and only 10% older than three years. Many new business blogs, like all blogs, are abandoned after a few months, and only about 39% of total blogs are in English language (Japanese is top). What all of this says is that blogging is becoming a global norm but is still very much open to newcomers.

Trends vary by company size, with smaller companies tending to make more use of business blogging, while larger companies maintain a healthy share. About 55% of all business blogs are started by companies with fewer than 100 employees while around 15% account for companies with 1,000 or more employees. However, of the largest 500 companies in the United States, 40% utilize blogs in their comprehensive strategy.

Outside the unruly statistics, what is actually successful in the world of business blogging itself is a little clearer. Virtually all research and opinion on the subject points to a handful of critical factors, including:

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