The idea of having a blog on your website is a long debated question by web designers and marketeers alike. It’s a very time consuming task and eats up a lot of your resources to run such a thing, and well, what’s even the point?
I’ts not just a task that big corporations or those with deep pockets can take advantage of, it’s an aspect of marketing that can, and should be taken on by the role of small businesses too.
Blogging has a tremendous amount of benefits, not just for those looking to grow their business, but also to find money making opportunities such as affiliate marketing and so on.
That being said, a blog isn’t for everyone. Whether or not your website needs a blog can be completely dependent on the industry your in and the goals your gunning for.
What is a blog?
Simply put, a blog is a collection of articles and posts found on a website. It is the shortening of “weblog” and is often classed as an online journal. Usually these posts will be shown in reverse chronological order (the most recent appearing at the top).
It started out as a way for one to express them selves and ‘blog’ about their life and it’s activities. However, in recent years, blogging has become a tool, and a very powerful one at that.
It’s used by businesses to help grow their digital presence, express their values and even generate income.
A blog can be used by most industries and sectors, but it’s valuable for everyone. Though, I am yet to find a business that hasn’t or couldn’t benefit from one if the process is carried out correctly.
Do I Need a Blog?
Ideally, at the most introductory of levels, your website should include more than enough information for your client and any visitors you may have, so why do you need as blog if everything is already there?
A blog isn’t just about providing “enough” information to your visitors, its ensuring you fully dominate the competition.
A well structured and optimized blog allows you to move up the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Page) and grow your presence. Constantly providing new content for your websites ensures you stay relevant and up to date, which google loves may I add.
It’s a huge opportunity to increase your keyword volume at an alarming rate without stuffing into small bodies of text on pages it may not belong. However, it’s easier said than done, as well as time consuming and resourceful, it can prove quite difficult to grind out the “perfect” content.
Most people would recommend keyword mapping and a heavy pre-planning stage. (for this you can use sites such as Googles Keyword Planner)
In summary, more content leads to better SEO. Better SEO leads to higher-quality traffic. Higher-quality traffic leads to conversions or income generation.
When creating content for your blog you must be make sure it is directly relatable to your business, but on the odd occasion, loosely include indirectly related topics.
This will help increase the broadness of your keywords. However, this notion can be at both ends of the scale, being a good and also terrible idea.
I have seen many companies, particularly on social media, share their new blog content with articles and topics that don’t relate to the business in any way.
This can pull a lot of viewers away from your content. So remember not to flow too far away from your business nature.
Increases your Site Traffic
This may be the most obvious but it is also one of the biggest. Google loves websites that continually update and stay fresh. Having a blog and posting new articles on a periodic basic will do exactly that.
The more high-quality content you have on your website the greater chance you have at ranking for a variety of search queries. You will appear in more results thus reaching more people and generating larger amounts of traffic.
Now, a large number of visitors doesn’t help much on it’s own, but that’s where the rest of your website comes in to play. The purpose of the blog is to generate the traffic, and your site should guide them through your sales funnel.
Chances are, if your optimizing your blog correctly and included the correct keywords and long-tail phrases, the visitors you receive will not only be of a greater number, but also a much greater quality.
You will be reaching the right audience and captivating people who are much more likely to turn into warm leads.
Helps your Social Media Presence
If you already have your own social media pages set up you will know how difficult it is to get any actual engagements and visibility without a lot of work, and inevitably, paid advertisements.
Having a blog gives you the opportunity to feed any posts you have straight to your social media profiles. This will provide your followers with regular content to keep a look out for, increase engagement, and drive those readers over to your website.
As most business start out on social media, sharing posts and articles of the “higher power” on twitter, it’s unlikely you will see much action on your page.
But eventually you will want that to happen to you. Sharing your own content is definitely a push in the right direction and one step closer to becoming a well known expert in your field.
Once you have grown your presence and become a recognisable brand in your industry, other businesses will start to share your original content just as you once did. Once another business or person shares your content it then becomes visible to any of their followers and so on.
This is a great way to get your name out there and generate new visitors from an existing audience.
The more your content gets shared across platforms, the more readers you will acquire and again, have the possibility to turn into new leads, but most importantly, continue to grow your social presence.
Building Brand Authority
A lot of the time authority is often overlooked when it comes to a business’ online presence. Having your own platform to share content you have created, builds that authority and people start to take you more seriously than if you were sharing someone else’s blog for example.
The more popular your blog and the more influential your brand becomes, the easier it is to generate new leads. Trust is no longer an issue.
Customers don’t second guess a well-established brand in the community.
Yes they’re probably going to still ready your reviews and check out the rest of your profile. But having a solid social presence and a high-quality blog certainly shows visitors your know what you’re talking about.
In addition to increasing your brands authority through the eyes of the community, it also helps with the authority of your website.
As I mentioned further above, Google loves the idea of a blog, the fresh content and the visitors it pulls in, are also solid signals sent their way.
So how does this help? Aside from other businesses sharing your content across their social platforms, it also creates linking opportunities. This is simply where another website links to your blog or one of your articles.
It can be as something as simple as a resource or reference for their own article, or they can include your within their content. This does wonders for your website’s SEO and helps strengthen it’s backlink profile, which in turn, increases your chances of ranking for those more difficult and competitive keywords and phrases.
This lets Google know that your website and brand is trustworthy, and most importantly, legitimate. Showing Google that you can be trusted is definitely a pro.
When starting social media or anything of the sort, people are often lazy, or just don’t know where to start, so they often begin with a basic logo as the display picture and possible their building as the cover photo. In most cases there social media doesn’t differ from there website.
Now, you can see the problem here right? To visitors your nothing more than a “suit” or an empty shell. You do your work, you get paid, no more no less.
This can be good in a sense as it does show professionalism, but that’s not just what people want to see, especially on social media.
The mass majority of buyers want to put a face to the brand, know that you care and look after your customers.
With a blog, your not just pushing out the latest bulletin via generic black and white emails, your addressing concerns that people may have, while at the same time also sharing yours and your employees passion for the work they do. It gives you the opportunity to touch on issues and concerns potential customers may have.
Also having ability to share your voice and personality once again builds trust and likability.
If you’ve every written an article before, or even read one, you will notice that they all tend to have a tone, or voice to them.
It’s a perfect way to let customers know your personality through your writing, connect with them, make jokes and show them your a real person.
You can also have different members of your team contribute to the blog, that way your visitors get to know your whole team and the people they will be working with if they decide to make a purchase.
Creates Internal Links
Having a blog is a powerful tool the purpose of SEO. When you add new content to your blog this is a chance for other bloggers, journalists etc. to include your content as reference or cite it in their own material as we mentioned above. These links are hugely important for SEO, while they may not be necessary to rank high, they will certainly generate a large amount of traffic from the external pages over to your site.
However, there’s another type of linking blogging can create. Internal linking.
Internal linking is where you link one of your pages within your own website, to another. For example, you can link your home page, over to your services page, and your services page, over to the contact page.
With a blog, you can drastically increase the number of links you can place. It’s not necessarily about generating as many links as you can, but it does help with your site structure and ranking abilities.
Naturally the hierarchy of your site means that pages such as your home page receive a lot more ranking ability than those pages and articles that are placed deeper in your site.
So internal linking means you can now pass that ‘juice’ over to other pages, thus helping them rank for their chosen queries.
Aside from the SEO benefit of internal linking, it also provides greater user experience and gives visitors more information to digest.
To Generate Income
You may or may not have heard of affiliate marketing before, but it’s becoming increasingly popular, particularly in certain industries.
A well maintained and optimized blog can actually earn you enough money to make a living from, and if you have the knack for it, substantially more.
It’s not easy though, I will tell you that.
I’m afraid you can’t just wake up one morning and start a successful blog, it often takes a years of practice and brand building before you can start to make a livable amount of money from it.
The most important part of creating a successful blog is to choose your niche carefully. A lot of them aren’t as profitable as you would expect them to be.
So try to do a little research first, and it’s always a good idea to pick something relating to a passion or hobby of yours. Seen as it’s such hard work at times, it can be quite easy to burn out.
Making money from a blog isn’t just for influencers and freelancers, it’s also widely adopted by bigger brands and corporations.
You can implement affiliate marketing into almost any post you write. For example, if you’re an accountancy practice and your talking about the next financial obligation to report, what do you use? Is there software you can recommend? Books? Stationery? All of this can be linked to out an external source where you can earn commission for their purchases.
Build your E-mail Database
It’s not easy creating a database for your mailing list. Especially when you have nothing to offer other than small updates and the occasional new product.
Having a blog for your website means that your content can be shared via email, just as it would across your social media channels.
It’s a perfect way to keep your visitors updated about almost anything going in your brand, it will be regular, and much more engaging than standard emails.
Which is a great opportunity to generate new sign-ups!
Write a subtle plug in your posts, add it to your authors sign off on the bottom of the page, or even add a sign-up for throughout your post.
Remember not to be to pushy about it, or it will more than likely have the opposite effect.
Sending your articles out via email will also generate brand trust. Your subscribers will know that your content is going to be of high-quality and relevant, so will be more susceptible when it come to sending out your monthly promotional email.
Guide Visitors Through your Sales Funnel
A sales funnel consists of the stages a buyer goes through before making an informed decision about their purchase. A typical sales funnel looks like the example below.
If your website doesn’t have a blog, and the visitor is still early in their journey, you will likely lose the sale.
For example, think about what a potential client is asking themselves before looking for your business. If you sell camping equipment, someone may be asking (even out of sheer curiosity) how do you replace a tent beam? Without a blog, your potential customer is now on someone else’s website looking down their blog for the answer.
Covering this topic in your own blog not only increases the likelihood of them of coming across your site but will also keep it in mind for anything else they may need; including an eventual purchase.
So in conclusion, a blog is a tasking addition to add to your website, but it is worth it? absolutely. If your not going to commit to a blog on a regular basis then it would essentially be a waste of time starting one. Periodic articles need to be posted and you must put your full attention to such a thing for it to work to the best possible outcome. Create a plan, stick to it, and your blog will be one of the best things you’ve ever done for your website. On the other hand, all this being said, a blog doesn’t have to be all that time consuming if you don’t do it yourself…there are many business’ out there willing to provide such a service, at a price of course.