Blog like a Boss
I’m often asked whether blogging is really a necessary part of running a business. This question is most often asked by small business owners who simply don’t have the time or skills to regularly create high-quality content. And even if they did? They wouldn’t have a clue what to write about.
As a business owner who has built a successful business in large part thanks to blogging and content publication, I’ve seen firsthand the difference it can make in terms of search visibility, leads, and sales. I’m a huge advocate of investing heavily in a content publication strategy, and that strategy begins with the company blog.
Still on the fence about blogging for your business? This article will consider 10 of the top benefits of blogging on your website. But before we dig in, I wanted to address an important question at the outset:
Does my blog have to be hosted on my business website?
In short, yes. As you’ll see as we cover the top benefits below, hosting your blog on your business site is important, as hosting it elsewhere eliminates many of the benefits of blogging. Some businesses prefer, either because of cost or for simplicity’s sake, to use a free blogging platform like WordPress.com or Weebly.com. This often results in blog domains such as [companyname].wordpress.com. While hosting a blog independent of your business site is better than not having one at all, you’ll see that many of the benefits below can only be achieved if your blog is hosted on your primary domain (i.e., www.yoursite.com/blog).
1. Increases search engine traffic
In terms of search engine rankings, I like to think of blogging as fishing. The more hooks you have in the water, the more likely you are to catch a fish. In the same way, as you add more content to your site, more pages from your domain become indexed in search engines. This improves organic search visibility and increases website traffic. Every new page you publish is like dropping another hook in the water. With more opportunities for your target market to find your bait, the more bites you’ll get. The more blog posts you have, the more chances you have to rank for various keywords.
2. Humanizes your brand
Carefully crafted website content (e.g., a homepage or about page) can’t hold a candle to a blog post when it comes to showing the personal side of your business. Blogging gives your business a way to touch on issues and concerns of interest to your prospects, while also sharing what you and your employees are passionate about. Your blog posts give you a unique opportunity to share your voice and personality, building up trust and increasing your brand’s likeability quotient.
3. Supports your social media initiatives
It’s difficult to maintain an active social media presence without access to unique, high-quality content. Sharing other people’s content on social media is great, but at some point you want to be directing those leads to your own site. As you share your blog posts on social media, you increase traffic to your business website – a feat that would be much more difficult without highly-relevant, topical information such as that found in blog posts.
In addition, blog posts provide content for email newsletters. If you’ve got an email newsletter, you’ve probably wondered what content should go in it. A simple top-10 list that highlights your best blog content over the last 2-4 weeks is valuable content that’s likely to be appreciated by your readers.
4. Builds authority in your industry
A blog is one of the best ways to establish yourself or your brand as an expert in your field, as it gives you a platform for sharing important industry-related information and insights. As you build up authority in your niche, this breeds trust and familiarity, keeping you top-of-mind when your prospects are ready to buy, and increasing conversion rates, which brings us to our next benefit…
5. Improves conversion rates
An active blog sends a signal that your business is alive and well, loved and maintained. This is why I often tell business owners that if they can’t update their blog regularly, it may be better not to have one at all. A blog with high-quality content also helps build brand loyalty, further increasing your conversion rates. According to Hubspot, overall ROI is also more likely to increase for companies who blog; in fact, businesses who prioritize blogging experience a 13X increase in ROI, year after year.
6. Helps generate inbound links
Having high-quality inbound links to your site is one of the three pillars of SEO. However, without a blog it can be extremely difficult to attract authoritative links to your business website. When you add new content that serves as a resource for other bloggers and media, you start to naturally accumulate inbound links as other authors, columnists, journalists, bloggers and contributors reference and cite that content in their own articles. These links are important for SEO, but can also generate significant referral traffic back to your site. I wrote about this in detail in my article, Why Your Company Blog Shouldn’t Be About Your Company.
7. Helps you rank for long-tail search queries
A site without a blog will have a hard time ranking for long-tail search queries. A typical business website can often successfully rank for business-specific keywords (e.g., “Joe’s Drycleaners”), but will have a more difficult time ranking for highly-specific phrases like “How to get red wine out of silk”. Having more content is the best way to rank for long-tail queries; the more content you add, the more chances you have to rank for less common, but ultimately higher-converting keyword phrases. For more on this, see “How to Identify Long-Tail Keywords for Your SEO Campaign.”
8. Increases leads
Research shows that the more pages a site has, the more leads it gets. According to Hubspot, businesses with 401-1000 pages of content get 6x more leads than those with 51-100. In simple terms, the more you blog, the more leads you generate. More content means more form submissions, more email opt-ins, more quote requests, and ultimately, more sales.
9. Facilitates valuable discussion
Blogging gives businesses the opportunity to connect with customers and prospects through a two-way conversation. It signals to visitors that you’re open to comments, feedback and even criticisms. And from a business perspective, learning what’s on the minds of prospects is marketing gold. You can use this dialogue to ask further questions, gain new insights into your customers’ needs and structure your content and marketing initiatives based on what you’ve learned.
10. Allows you to achieve ‘freshness’
The freshness factor is also significant; Google loves to see new content being added on a regular basis, and rewards sites that do so with better visibility. Fresh content is also more likely to be timely or news-related, which means it’s more likely to get exposure for trending searches. More content also means more opportunities for adding internal links. This creates more pathways for search engine crawlers, which more effectively spreads PageRank throughout your site.
Blogging on your company’s website is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors. By providing your own unique thoughts and insights, you naturally grow your search traffic, customer trust and ultimately, sales. To some extent, blogging also levels the playing field with big brands, giving small businesses the unprecedented opportunity to compete with big businesses with big budgets.
What would you add to this list? In your opinion, what are the top benefits of blogging on your website?
originally posted on Forbes by Jason DeMers