If you run a business online then adding a blog to your company website is a great way to help increase visitor traffic and connect with new audiences. According to web magazine Tech Client, small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than their non-blogging competitors. So what exactly is a blog and how can it help your business?
What is a Blog?
A blog is a stand-alone website or page on a larger website, that acts as a diary style feed of news stories, articles, discussion pieces and updates. The newest posts appear on top, but categories and tags mean that users can easily find linked posts. The 10 reasons you should blog regularly are:
1. A blog is the most versatile tool in your website armoury...
Just like a book, most websites have a standard layout with set pages and structure. These are the things a user expects when they visit a website. When we see pages like ‘About us’, ‘Portfolio’ or ‘Contact’ then we know what to expect if we click on them. With a blog you can choose the content you feature.
You can treat your blog like a diary, a newsfeed, a discussion forum for issues that matter to you, a series of case studies of your work or a chance to show your fun side and tell everyone about the amazing cake you baked for a party at the weekend. A blog is whatever you want it to be and it can serve different purposes at different times.can serve different purposes at different times.
2. Blogs are personal...
Whatever you choose to write about, the key distinction of a blog is that it’s personal. It’s about you or things you’ve done or your personal thoughts on an issue. Customers value this, particularly if you run a small or creative business where you as a person are a big part of your business.
The FedEx Small Business Center writes that for millennials in particular, knowing more about the businesses they buy from and the people behind them is important. In their words; ‘small and authentic rules the day’.
3. Blogs generate interest for the rest of your website...
A good blog is one that people want to come back to regularly. Highly successful blogs like Mashable attract over 20 million unique visitors a month (Source: Phrasee). And the reason for their success? Creating content that users want to read.
If you can develop a loyal blog following then you’re placing your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds. They may not check out the rest of your website on their first visit, but over time they’re likely to browse further and when they want to buy they’ll be familiar with your name.
4. Blogs create sharable content for your social media channels...
Finding quality content to share on social media can be a challenge, but blogs make for great social content. Once you’ve written a blog post you can share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or whichever other channels you use.
Your social media posts then create links back to your website which other users can share, comment on and like. Your blog post can help you start a whole new set of conversations online and maybe gain you new followers and audiences for your products.
5. Technical or discussion blogs show authority...
Whatever your business it’s likely that you want to be seen as knowledgeable in your industry. This is true whether you’re an experienced painter, a successful estate agent or a qualified therapist. A technical blog that’s well-researched and written can be a great endorsement for you and your business.
Demonstrating to your readers that you understand your subject matter and can talk expansively about it inspires confidence in prospective customers.
6. Blogs are dynamic and can be updated regularly...
Most website content is static, it doesn’t change very often unless you’re planning a big content refresh. A blog, however, changes all the time – it’s dynamic and that’s a major selling point. If a prospective customer stumbles upon your website with no prior knowledge of your company then it’s reassuring to them to see a regularly updated blog.
A recent update shows your business is active and engaging with customers. You can also use your blog updates to show you’re keeping up to date with new industry trends and behaviour by writing about current topics.
But there’s another reason beyond consumer confidence to have a regularly updated blog. Search engines like Google use a huge number of factors to determine which websites appear highest in search listings.
SEO expert Brian Dean of Backlinko estimates that there are currently over 200 different factors that contribute to how Google ranks a website in searches. But ‘content recency’ plays a part – Google favours webpages that have been recently published or updated, particularly if the search is time sensitive.
The overall frequency with which a website is updated is also taken into account. In short, regularly updating your blog and creating new content can help with your search rankings.
7. Index and categorise your blog posts to keep users on your website...
When you publish a blog post you can assign it a category and a tag. A category is like a general heading or label. If you were writing a lifestyle blog you might have categories like ‘travel’, ‘eating out’ and ‘hair and beauty’.
The category tells you broadly what the content is about. A tag is much more specific and assigns a detail to your content. Under the category of travel, you might have a blog post with the tags ‘cheap flights’, ‘France’, ‘Limoges’, ‘weekend break’, ‘moules-frites’ and ‘sightseeing’ to describe your recent trip away.
These categories and tags become clickable links that will signpost users to similar content within your blog. Providing readers with more internal links keeps them on your website longer and helps to build their interest in your business.
8. Blogs help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)...
Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is the term used for a broad range of factors that determine how well your website is structured for search engines like Google. It’s a complex topic and there are many different factors that contribute to SEO but the appearance of keywords in your content is one important ingredient.
Keywords are words or phrases that people might use to find your website like ‘wedding florist’, ‘website developer in Haute-Vienne’ or even ‘why does my website need a blog’.
Incorporating keywords into your website text helps search engines to index your content and identify what it’s about so that it can return more relevant search results for users. However, keyword usage has to be done naturally as search engines like Google will penalise websites in search listings that artificially overuse a keyword.
This is called keyword stuffing and you can read more about it and keywords more generally on Shout Me Loud.
Blog posts are great for SEO as they help you to naturally incorporate keywords into your website over time. A blog allows you to write about topics relevant to your business from every angle and with regular frequency and that’s a great way of using keywords in your content.
9. Blogs can be a great source of inbound links...
If you write content that other people find useful there’s a good chance that they’ll want to reference it or share it with their own readers. When another website includes a link to your website then that helps you to appeal to new audiences and increase visitor traffic.
Inbound links also account for some of those 200 or more factors I referenced earlier that contribute to how search engines rank your content – so creating share-worthy content is a great link-building strategy.
10. Become a host and feature guest bloggers...
Inviting other people to write for your blog has lots of benefits. It creates interest for your reader to feature different voices and perspectives. Guest blogging also helps to embed you in your community by establishing links (electronic and personal) with other people writing about the same topics.
As well as giving your newfound contact a platform to write on, as the host, you also benefit from having their loyal followers check out your website. And you can be sure that they’ll link to your blog on their social media channels and website after its published.
Get Started with Blogging
If you’ve been inspired to start a blog get in touch to find out about adding a blog page to your existing website or about a new website build. If you’d love to feature a blog on your website but simply don’t have the time to write one then I can help.
As part of my copywriting services, I’ll research and write blog posts for you on any topic and can do so as a one-off or regular commission.