If you’ve been googling how to promote your business online it’s quite likely you’ve read suggestions to start a blog. It’s easy, they say. It’s cheap, they say. It’s a great way to engage your customers (and prospective customers). It an excellent way to keep your customers up-to-date with what’s happening. It’s a good source of web traffic. It will give you a great boost in the search results. After awhile you start wondering why you didn’t start a blog years ago, and worry about all the good things you’ve been missing out on.
Well, the reality is that it’s not quite as rosy as it’s often painted. For starters, a blog is hard work, and it’s quite possible you won’t get the results you were expecting (or hoping for).
So, is starting a blog on your business website a good idea? There’s no doubt blogs can be a great boost for your online presence, and your brand in general but you need to count the cost and know if it’s right for you.
The business benefits of a blog
Without a doubt, a blog will benefit your online presence. Google’s search algorithm (their ’11 secret herbs & spices’ if you will) has undergone many changes over the years, and SEO experts make educated guesses (or just wild stabs in the dark sometimes) about what’s important, and what isn’t.
But good quality content has not gone out of fashion.
And we wouldn’t expect it too – when you think about it, content is the essence of the internet – without it, the world wide web would not exist. We go online to get answers or to be entertained, and content has, and will continue to be, the medium that satisfies that need.
Google know that, and they know by sourcing the content that best matches your search query you will keep coming back to them. And the more visitors they have to their search page, the more their ad revenues will increase – simple as that.
Sorry did I burst your bubble? Did you think Google cared about you or your website? They only care about the searcher – so, if you want to rank well on Google, you need to think about the needs of the searcher.
Here’s a quick checklist of things to think about when you’re creating content; in this case a blog post.
- What sort of questions do people often have (about my industry)?
- What type of answer do they need (in-depth or does the shortened version suffice)?
- Is there any particular information that is currently not covered well in my industry?
- What type of media would be the best way to explain the answer to the searcher’s question (diagram, table, list, video etc.)?
Blog posts can serve multiple purposes – boost your search rankings, inform customers, increase brand awareness and increase goodwill and your reputation as a thought leader in the industry. It’s also helpful for catching customers in all stages of the buying cycle, particularly the informational and awareness phases.
Business blogging – The dark side
It’s not all good news though. While blogging can benefit your business, it comes at a price. In most cases that cost is time. Setting up, and maintaining, a blog is time consuming, particularly if writing doesn’t come naturally to you. Creating videos to add to your blog is also a very lengthy process.
Then there’s the question of what to write about, and how much to write.
There’s also the cost to setup the blog (they are included free with PogoStick business website, making it a lot more affordable) so that needs to be factored in, along with any hosting fees.
There’s also the commitment thing – we’ve all seen business blogs that got off to a great start – five years ago – and there’s been nothing since.
And then there’s the possibility your business blog might not even get read.
Don’t give up your business blogging dreams!
It can seem daunting but the benefits are worthwhile. Trust me, it gets easier. Writing is one of those things you just need to do more of to overcome the dreaded writers block. Don’t worry if it’s not a Pulitzer prize-winning piece – just make sure you’ve got your basic spelling and grammar correct – and get your message out there!
If you’d like some help setting up your blog, just ask!
What if I run out of things to say?
Don’t worry about it! Even a blog with a few posts can attract extra visitors to your website – even if they’re really old!
What if someone makes a nasty comment on my blog?
Don’t worry about it! You can set your blog to make sure any comments are approved before being seen by the public – and even block trolls from commenting ever again.
Can I make it easier for visitors to comment on my blog?
Yes! There are special add-ons you can get for your blog that will allow people to use another login (such as their Facebook login, which most people are logged in to all the time) to comment on a blog post.
How can I promote my blog?
There are several ways to promote your blog – many are the same methods you would use to promote other parts of your website, such as Google AdWords. The advantage of blog posts is that they are often perfect for sharing on your Facebook or Twitter channel since the information is generally of a helpful nature that is more likely to be shared, as opposed to a direct sales page.