Have you been contemplating starting up a blog on your website, but aren’t sure whether it’s worth the time and effort?
Or does your site have a neglected blog that hasn’t been updated in 3 years, and you’re wondering whether to delete the whole thing from your site?
I’m here to help. In this post, I’ll take a look at the wonderful things a blog can do for your business.
However, maintaining a blog takes work to be successful, so I’ll also look at three important questions you should consider before starting one up.
The Advantages of a Blog
1. It’s good for SEO
Search Engine Optimisation, or “SEO” for short, describes a range of measures you can take to help your website rank higher for certain keywords in search engine results pages.
It’s a great way to increase brand awareness and potentially attract more customers.
There’s a lot involved in SEO, including various technical elements, but one important aspect is content.
Good-quality, written content in your industry niche helps signal to search engines that your website is good quality too.
It also allows you to target new keywords, and really good blog posts might even attract links from other sites: gold dust for improving you site’s ranking potential.
Therefore, starting up a blog that is updated regularly and contains relevant, interesting posts could give your SEO a boost.
2. It helps you connect with your customers
In the digital age, a key tenet of marketing is engaging and connecting with your customers.
This means not simply broadcasting advertising about your products, but having conversations with your audience, showing that you understand their interests, needs and concerns, and demonstrating that you can help.
One aspect of this is social media. The most successful brands use social media as a tool to cultivate a brand personality, interact with their customers and build relationships.
Blogging feeds into this perfectly. It gives you something to post about and discuss on your social media channels, as well as providing a platform to explore topics of interest in more detail and demonstrate your relevance and authority.
3. It builds trust
In a similar vein, a blog can help to build trust in your brand.
It is a way of communicating with your customers that lets you establish a brand identity and voice.
The topics that you choose to write about can also demonstrate that you are an expert in your field.
And why do you want to build trust?
Because people only buy from businesses they trust.
4. It helps advertise your products or services
Most people are aware of this function of the blog post, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Your blog is perfect free real estate to advertise your products and services. It provides you with more space to hone in on aspects you might not have the space to mention on a product page or social media post.
However, be careful how you do this.
No customer wants to read one long advert about how great your product is. They can do their own research and are more likely to trust reviews and recommendations.
What you can do is focus on specific customer issues that your product could help with. Or provide an in-depth information on a certain function or aspect of your product.
Whatever you write needs to be of value for the reader.
5. It shows you’re on the ball
A blog is a great way to show you’ve got the finger on the pulse of your industry.
You can use it to join the conversation on the latest industry news and developments, or post thought leadership articles on hot topics of the moment.
This feeds back into the trust and engagement I was talking about before. People want to buy from people, not a corporate machine.
Joining in with conversations and taking an interest in issues that affect people’s lives show that your company is made up of real people, and one’s who share your customer’s interests, values and concern.
What’s more, a regularly updated blog also makes your company look organised and professional. Customers will be more convinced that their order will arrive on time and that they will be able to reach someone if they have any queries or issues.
Things to bear in mind before you take the plunge
In order to be successful, your blog needs to be done right. A badly-run blog can actually do more harm than good. So before you start, consider the following questions:
1. Do you have enough to say on a blog?
The length of your posts is an important aspect of your blog. A common mistake companies make is treating a blog like a form of social media, using it for short announcements and company updates of 200 words or less.
Lots of short posts like this can have a negative effect on your SEO, as Google generally sees pages with such low levels of written content as poor quality.
It also doesn’t look great to customers, as a short blog post looks like a bit of an afterthought. And ultimately, are they really of value to the user?
A blog should be made up of more in-depth articles that, as a rule of thumb, are at least 500 words long.
2. Do you have time to update a blog on a regular basis?
Creating and maintaining a successful blog takes time. Posts need to be planned, researched, written, coded up and uploaded onto a site.
If your marketing team are overstretched as it is, starting up a blog might not be a realistic.
What you don’t want to end up with is a blog that has a couple of posts and then stands neglecting for months (or years!) on end because no one has the time to write posts.
This can reflect negatively on your business, because it can make you look disorganised and the opposite of on the ball.
So if you’re going to start up a blog, make sure you have the in-house capabilities to do so, or outsource to a freelance copywriter.
3. Do you have a content strategy in place?
In a busy business, time is an important commodity. When it comes to marketing, everything you do should have a purpose.
To be blunt, putting out random blog posts for the sake of it is a waste of time.
Before you start up a blog, you should draw up a strategy, deciding on what you want to achieve.
This might be creating conversations with your community, targeting new SEO keywords, establishing yourself as a thought leader, or a mixture of different goals.
Based on these goals, you need a strong content calendar that schedules posts to be published and consistent, regular and strategic intervals.
I hope this has helped you decide whether a blog is right for your site and given you some food for thought on how to approach setting one up.
If you’d like help devising a content strategy or would like to outsource your blogging, feel free to get in touch and we can discuss how I can help. Just drop me a message via my contact page.