One of the most common suggestions we make in our initial website consultations with potential clients is to incorporate a blog into their new site. The most common reactions from business owners across dozens of industries are wide-eyed confusion or even flat-out rejection.
After facing this feedback time after time, I realized that the word “blog” has a certain stigma attached to it for the current generation of new business owners (in their 30s and 40s), who comprise the vast majority of our client base. The same also holds true for executives of more established businesses who approach us for a website redesign or complete brand overhaul.
The association that seems to be made most often is that a blog is supposed to be used as a sort of online journal or diary—something a young teen should be spending time on rather than a business professional hoping to present a polished presence online. This is not the case.
Another common response we hear regularly from potential clients is “I don’t have time to blog.” Blogging seems to have also picked up a reputation for being a major time commitment with the need for constant updates to be worthwhile. Again, not so.
Blogging isn’t just for heartbroken teens with nothing but time on their hands. I’m hoping to break down these stereotypes and convince you of the importance of blogging for business in 2014 and beyond.
Let’s start by taking a look at a question we hear all the time, and explore how implementing a blog may be the best answer:
“How Can I Get My Website To Show Up Better In Search?”
One of the first things to address is how a blog will help increase traffic to your site and therefore generate revenue—which is likely one of the main reasons you felt the need to invest in a website for your business in the first place, right?
In combination with a properly optimized website and a strong social presence, including a blog on your site has the potential to reach a much larger audience than you would otherwise be able to, even if the existing content on your site is informative and organized in a way that’s simple for visitors to your site—and also search engines—to understand.
The Power of Fresh Content
As Google has established itself as the authority among search engines, we take what they have to say pretty seriously when it comes to our optimization efforts. One of Google’s ranking factors that has increased in importance over time is the inclusion of fresh content on websites.
In his excellent post on the subject, Moz’s Cyrus Shepard explains how Google boosts website rankings for a number of “freshness factors.” With regard to your company blog, the main factors in the article you should be focused on are the creation of new pages and the rate of new link growth.
As Shepard mentions, “Websites that add new pages at a higher rate may earn a higher freshness score.” Essentially, each time you create a new page on your website (in this case, as a blog post), your website will have the potential to increase its PageRank because Google views your site as providing new, valuable information to your audience.
Having that valuable content on your site leads to the other major freshness factor above: new link growth. The more new links you have coming into your site from external sources (other websites), the more likely Google is to view your site as being fresh. The best thing is, there’s an easy way to kickstart the process of obtaining these inbound links.
A Modern Business is a Social Business
As I briefly touched on earlier, having a blog should be a major component of your action plan to improve your search rankings, but it shouldn’t be the only component. Social media is steadily becoming more and more vital to a company’s online presence.
By combining your blogging efforts with your social media activity (by sharing a link to your posts across your social networks), you’ll be providing an opportunity for your fans to do some of the link-building work for you. If your posts are interesting enough, your fans and/or followers will be compelled to share them to their networks, which increases the likelihood of new people arriving to your site and could result in other blogs referencing your post in their own posts (just as I’ve been speaking about Shepard’s blog on fresh content).
So, now that we know some of the major benefits of implementing a company blog on your website, let’s address the other elephant in the room:
“How Often Should I Be Posting On My Blog?”
Simply put, there’s no cut-and-dry answer to this question, but there are some general guidelines you should keep in mind when deciding when to write a new blog post.
One of the most important things you should be aware of when managing your company blog is that you shouldn’t write a blog post just for the sake of having something new out there. While fresh content is an important ranking factor, you’re actually going to be damaging your reputation if you get people to your site only for them to read a post that doesn’t help them or provide any new information.
Your goal with your blog should be to provide value to your readers, whether they are potential customers or just looking for an answer to a question they couldn’t find elsewhere. Becoming an informational authority within your industry builds credibility for your company, and also increases the likelihood of someone sharing your post with their friends and colleagues, some of whom may turn into customers.
Leading By Example
We at Key Web have recently adopted a loose policy of contributing one new blog post each week, but if you look back through our blog archive, you’ll notice this hasn’t always been the case. Since we’ve recently added a few new employees to our ranks, we felt we would have the time and breadth of new ideas to contribute on a more regular basis than we had been prior to 2014.
That said, if we feel we don’t have anything new that would be valuable to our readers, we’ll wait until we do before publishing our next post. The one-post-a-week goal is just that: a goal to keep us thinking about new ideas and how else we can position our company as the go-to resource for everything from logo design to web development and even (you guessed it) writing blogs, for the Richmond community and beyond.
If you want your business to become the same kind of informational hub for your industry, to provide a voice for your brand, and to establish new, more valuable relationships, creating a blog and setting realistic goals for when and what you post is essential.
The benefits I’ve laid out in this post are just the beginning for the potential your blog has to help your business be more successful, but if you follow the guidelines above you’ll be well on your way to creating the type of business that is built to succeed online for years to come.