When I talk to small business clients about creating or redesigning their websites, I usually encourage them to include a blog. Many reply with, “We don’t see why we need one,” or, “We don’t have anything to write about,” or, “We don’t have time for that.” I then proceed to describe the many benefits of having a blog on your website.
Image courtesy Lars Plougmann
Struggling to understand why your business needs a blog?
“Companies with active blogs generate 55 percent more site visits, 97 percent more links to their websites, and their pages get indexed a whopping 434 percent more often.” (Source)
If these are not reasons enough for you, blogging is a free or almost free form of marketing. Yes, you may have to pay someone to work on your blog, but this is considerably less expensive than traditional marketing efforts.
Blogging also creates a platform for your business to showcase its knowledge and authority in relevant subject matters. Where else is it socially acceptable for you to brag about your expertise?
- Search engines (such as Google) like keyword-rich content.
- Search engines like fresh, frequently updated content.
- Posts are great content to share on social media. Share posts yourself, and encourage readers to share them.
- Posts are great content to send in email marketing.
- Establish authority and become known as an expert. You can create your own niche.
- By providing informative content, you may win readers over without needing to “sell” to them. “Educate, and you won’t have to sell!” says John Jantsch in The Referral Engine.
- Reveal your personality and connect with readers on a human level.
- Comments give people an opportunity to ask questions directly in a comfortable way. By replying, you show that you’re approachable. You can also build a community through comments.
What content to post
When deciding what to post, remember: Readers are asking, “What’s in it for me?” Post accordingly.
- Answer questions you’re commonly asked. When someone asks that question in the future, send them a link to the post.
- Check your analytics to see what people are reading and not reading on your site. Write more of what’s working, and less of what’s not.
- When you receive comments, write follow-up posts.
- Write about industry news and trends.
- Give tips and how-tos. You can give information to do-it-yourselfers, then offer your product or service as an easier alternative.
- Give an inside look at your company’s people, culture, process.
- Use media that fits your audience’s demographics, industry, etc. Use text, images, audio, video, slides, etc. as appropriate. Looking for images? Read Where to find images for your website.
- Don’t be too self-promotional.
Other blogging tips
- Post at least once a month; every other week or every week would be better. A stale blog is worse than no blog.
- If you don’t have time to post, ask someone else on your team, give the job to an intern, or outsource it to a professional writer or blogger.
- Have your blog on your domain (example: localbusiness.com), not on a different domain. You’ll get more SEO benefit from having the blog on your domain than from using a third-party service like WordPress.com, Tumblr, or Blogger. Also, it’s more professional to have on your domain.