When I ask my clients if they want to increase traffic to their website, they always reply, "Yes!" But, when I ask if they want a business blog on the website, more often than not, the answer is, "No." However, there's a strong case to be made in favor of having a blog on your website; SEO and web traffic being the top two reasons for having a blog.
This article is going to answer some of the questions you should consider when deciding whether or not to include a blog as part of your marketing strategy.
- Should you have a blog?
- Is it better to post your content on your Social Media sites instead?
- Should you set up your own blog, or use a Free blog?
- How frequently should you post new articles?
- What are the benefits of having a business blog?
Should My Business Website Have a Blog?
If your company is well-known and/or easily recognized simply by your logo, then chances are that you don't need a blog. Most likely, you would have a media marketing team at your disposal. If this is not the case for you, and if you’re serious about building your brand, having a blog on your website as part of your marketing plan to drive traffic to your website is a must.
Should I Be Posting My Content on My Social Media Sites?
Not unless you want to be a "digital sharecropper."
Years ago, during the beginning stages of Web 2.0, Nicholas Carr (an acclaimed writer on technology and culture) coined the term digital sharecropping.
One of the fundamental economic characteristics of Web 2.0 is the distribution of production into the hands of the many and the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few.
Would you start a business and put some other company’s name in your logo, or on the front window of your shop? Then why put your best content on a website that you don't own (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.) and build your brand on someone else's property? Anyone can create as much content as they want for companies such as Facebook, but that content effectively belongs to whichever site you're posting it on.
You need full control over your content, which means that your business blog needs to self-hosted, using your own domain name.
All too often I see business owners spend a great deal of time posting content on their Social Media sites, while pretty much ignoring their own website. In essence, they’ve become “digital sharecroppers.”
The more content we create for other sites, the more valuable those sites become, but no value is being added to your own website. Like sharecropping, the minions do all the work while the landholders reap all the rewards. In addition, the landlord (i.e. Facebook) decides who gets to see your hard work and when they get to see it. If you want more of your followers to see your content, then you have to pay a price to “promote” your posts. Furthermore, if Facebook decides to "evict you," for no particular reason, there goes all of your hard work. Countless hours of posting, updating, or perhaps paying a Social Media marketing person to post on your behalf… Gone in 60 seconds.
Should I Use WordPress.com or Tumblr to Start Out?
In a word; No.
If you start a blog on one of the free sites and it really takes off, you’re going to want to transfer it over to your own website so that you’re earning the money from your content, instead of the company hosting your “free” blog. Moving everything over to your own website could be costly.
If you’re relying on your social media sites to bring in all of your new business, then you’re a sharecropper who’s counting on your landlord to always be there for you, and your business. If, on the other hand, you’re using your social sites as added tools to promote your own website (as they should be used) in your over-all marketing plan, then you won’t lose any sleep if those sites suddenly vanish.
How Frequently Should I Post New Articles?
Another concern I hear is absolutely true: "Writing blog posts can suck up major blocks of time and I'm too busy."
As a business owner, no doubt carving out blocks of time to write content is not high up on your list of priorities. I can relate; Between creating new websites, website maintenance, and off-line projects, I can barely find time to keep breathing 13 times a minute let alone write articles on a regular basis for my own blog.
To determine just how often you should be blogging, do a Google search on your competitors. See if their organic search results take you over to a blog post on their website. How often are they posting on their sites? Once a week? Twice a week? Every day? Not at all? Whatever your competitors are doing on their blogs, you need to -- or at least strive to -- outperform them.
Based on my own experience with writing blog articles for a client, once a month (on or about the same day each month) has been enough to get the articles to appear on page 1 in Google organic search results for various topic-related keywords/phrases. I do believe the "secret to Page 1 ranking" is consistency with posting fresh content (something I sorely lack on my own blog), and making sure the articles are topic-related and solves problems.
Google loves fresh, new, relevant content! By blogging consistently, you give Google and other search engines new content to index!
Other benefits of having a business blog:
- On average, company blogs generate 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages.
- 69% of businesses attribute their lead generation success to blogging. (HubSpot ROI Study)
- 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog.
- US internet users spend 3X more time on blogs and social networks than in email. (The Nielsen Company)
- Inbound marketing (i.e.blogging, social media) costs 62% less per lead than outbound (i.e. paid advertising, trade shows, email blasts, etc. ) marketing.
- Blogs improve SEO by providing more opportunities to use keywords while offering useful information to your customers/clients.
- The more content you have on your website, the more chances you have of showing up in organic search results.
- Helps establish trust and generate leads.