Starting a blog can be intimidating. You will need to build the space on your website, choose topics to write about, and carve out time for you or your team to create and review content. But is it worth all the effort?
While blogs, when used correctly, are a valuable tool for your business, the truth is that most companies do not use blogs to help grow their business. And they should.
Blogs are an essential part of a robust content marketing strategy. Why? Here are 4 reasons:
You will get more traffic
Before I can get into how blogging brings you more traffic, I need to answer some common questions about blogs.
For starters, does anyone even read blogs? We get this question sometimes. And if you’ve never read a blog (so not you), it may seem like a valid question. But, as you know, people do read blogs.
According to HubSpot, when people are looking for products or services, 47% of people review 3-5 pieces of content before beginning the buying process.
Yes, people actually do read blogs.
Okay, so how do they find blogs? Many people begin this search by going to Google and typing in a few words, clicking between only the first few results. For that reason, it is important to have a solid SEO strategy, whether you have a blog or not.
If you’ve been doing any research into digital marketing, you’ve likely encountered the acronym SEO. Short for “Search Engine Optimization,” SEO is essentially a set of best practices that helps search engines like Google read and rank your site. Ideally, you will rank highly for a set of keywords that directly relate to the type of business you provide. But it’s not always that easy.
Google uses a complex and elusive algorithm to read and sort pages on your website. Authority on a subject is increasingly becoming an important ranking feature. But how do you gain authority?
There are two main ways to do this. The first is through creating content on your website about a subject. If you have several web pages on a single topic, you are more likely to be seen as an authority on that subject. But you cannot merely duplicate pages. Search engines look for spam and copied pages and penalize sites that use these tactics.
A blog, however, helps you generate new material and discuss, in detail, several topics related to your business. This allows you to diversify your keywords and build out unique content to help you gain authority in a few key subjects related to the work your company does.
Indexed pages (pages read and ranked by search engines) are important for this reason. The more indexed pages you have on a subject, the more opportunity you have for ranking on specific keywords and keyword phrases. In fact, sites that have a blog have 434% more indexed pages.
Also, you can gain authority through inbound links (links to your website). Blogs also give your business an opportunity to receive these inbound links (also called backlinks). Businesses that have a blog get 97% more inbound links than sites without a blog.
So what do SEO, indexed page, and inbound links have anything to do with an increase in traffic? By now it should be somewhat obvious. If you currently only have four web pages, it is unlikely you have more than a handful of inbound links (if any). It’s also unlikely that you rank on the first page for anything other than your name.
Blogs help you diversify your keyword set on more pages and gain more authority through inbound links. All of this allows you to rank higher in search engines, which means more people will find you.
When more people have an easier time finding your website, more people will visit your site.
You will get more leads
As a result of all that newfound traffic, businesses that blog receive 67% more leads than those that do not blog.
When people visit your site, there should be several opportunities for them to reach out or enter their contact information to get more content from your business. With blogs, you can create a periodic email alerting interested parties about new blogs on your site. You may also want to consider longer pieces of content, such as an ebook or guide that zeroes in on a topic, and put that behind a form that allows you to gain more information about your site visitors.
Each blog you create allows you another opportunity to put a call to action to gain more information about the people coming to your website.
You will get more people talking about your site
Say you run an accounting firm. To better help your customers navigate difficult accounting situations, you start blogging about budgeting, saving, and understanding difficult or complex accounting decisions.
A potential customer, let’s name her Nina, searches on Google for “how to create a vacation fund” and comes across one of your blogs titled “3 Ways to Save for Your Dream Vacation.” Nina finds your blog extremely helpful and shares it on her Facebook page. Nina’s cousin, Jay, sees Nina’s post on Facebook and reads the blog. He, too, decides to share it on his Facebook page.
Neither Nina, Jay, nor any of their Facebook followers had previously heard about your accounting firm, but now they are both reading and sharing information on your website.
Having blogs allows you to create more opportunities for people to interact and share information about your business.
Not only does it give your website more pages worth sharing and distributing, but you can use those posts to populate your business's social pages and have your employees share content on their personal profiles as well.
It helps you better serve your customers
Not all customers may understand the benefits or features of your product or service offering. Maybe you find customers failing to take advantage of aspects of your offerings or having common issues that can be easily fixed.
A blog gives you a chance to tackle some common issues that may occur for customers. Not only will this save your sales or customer service teams from long phone calls or exhaustive emails, but it will help potential customers learn more about your offerings.
As you can see, there are many benefits to creating and running a blog on your site. But simply beginning a blog will not yield hordes of business. You have to keep up with it and create a sustainable and strategic content plan. Ultimately, your blog needs to add value to your visitors. As the common sales dictum goes, sell the problems you solve not the product.