To blog or not to blog - that is the question...
The irony that you're reading this article about blogging *on my blog* today is not lost on me. So let's ponder that for a moment...
How did you come to be here reading this post today?
- Was it from Google?
- Were you referred from another website, or social media?
- Did you stumble upon it while exploring the website?
Whichever the way, I'm glad you're here. Because I'm a big fan of blogging - and it's allowed us to "chat" today...
But, would blogging be useful for your business?
Well, there are lot of pros and a lot of cons to blogging. So let's explore them today, so that you can make up your own mind...
But first, here's my story with blogging:
One thing you may not know about me is that my very first online business was a blog.
I never set out to create a business. It just happened.
One day I was a bored and lonely stay at home Mum with time on my hands while my kids napped. The next I was a “niche famous” blogger, with a reasonable following (around 30,000 hits a month, so not huge, but also not small).
Google started to like me and send a lot of traffic my way.
Pinterest started to like me and send a lot of traffic my way.
And one day, by accident, it became apparent that I'd accidentally created myself a business.
Oh how I under-appreciated all that free traffic from organic search engines at the time…
This was back in 2011.
I have not blogged consistently on that same blog since I started working full time and switched focuses in 2015. Traffic has dropped off since I was releasing new content regularly, but, I still get a small consistent flow of traffic to that blog.
And I still organically (that means without any marketing) sell patterns that I created back in 2013!
So, I have some experience when it comes to both the short term and long term effects of blogging.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about whether blogging is a good idea for YOU…
Frequently Asked Blogging Questions:
What is a blog?
A blog is a section on your website where you share articles, tools, tips, frequently asked questions and anything expertise related that will be helpful for your prospective customers.
What are the pros for having a business blog?
A blog is useful for many reasons.
Here are what I consider to be the main pros:
- A blog helps you connect with your audience and build trust with them
- A blog can help you educate people in why your company is great to work with by establishing yourself as an expert in your niche
- Blogs can help you explain your values and how you can help people.
- Blogs help you get found online and boost your search engine ranking. You can read more about the benefits of SEO in this article here.
– but just know that they are the best organic way to get a steady stream of visitors to your website.
What are the cons for having a business blog?
One big con that I can think of, is that they are very time consuming to create and also maintain.
But the main con I can think of, is that sometimes a blog is a flop...
It might be a flop because it doesn't hit the mark with your target audience. But it might also be a flop if you blog about a topic which isn't directly related to your business, and that brings people who aren't in your target audience.
For maximum benefit, you really want to first do some research about searchable topics that will be desirable for your target audience, and focus on blogging about these.
It's also helpful to think about what will bring the most well-suited people into your Customer Pathway.
Because I've had it happen in my business, and seen it happen in a lot of my client's businesses, where a blog gets picked up by a search engine and brings traffic which isn't that relevant to your core business products and services.
This is a problem because irrelevant website traffic can negatively affect your bounce rate* and your conversion rate.
*A bounce is = how many people only visit one page of your site then leave again. Google rewards low bounce rates because then it sees people are interested in your content.
If you have retargeting advertising going on Google, Facebook, Tik Tok, Pinterest and YouTube, then you really don't want to be attracting people who aren't your target audience. Otherwise it will potentially push your ads costs up.
And if your conversion rate is lowered, because you're having a lot of the wrong type of visitors, then it can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and second guessing about why you've got good traffic but low sales.
What content should you share on your blog for maximum success?
A good rule of thumb when planning your blog content is to think about what your target customers will find useful from you.
- What questions do they ask?
- What would they search for in Google?
- What barriers or objections do they have about making a decision to work with you?
How often should you post new content on your blog?
Haha this is a bit like asking “how long is a piece of string”. My answer here is that consistency is key – it’s best to post once a month consistently than to try to do a post a week, burn out, and give up…
If you can blog to a schedule that’s even better.
Often businesses might blog pretty regularly in the beginning, then, once they have a bank of content, usually they can just focus on marketing that content and keeping it up to date if things change.
I'm all in favour of a less is more policy... It's better to have fewer but higher-quality articles, than it is to have a lot of "fluff".
What results should you aim to get from your blog?
If you start a blog, you need to think of it as another marketing channel. Just like for all of your marketing channels, you should have a goal result that you want to achieve from blogging. That will vary slightly depending on your business objectives, but in general some common goals are:
- To increase visitors to your website
- To increase brand awareness
- To increase conversions
- To create more sales
A well designed and strategic blog will have goals for each of those things.
But, it's important to realise that having a blog is a long term strategy. It may take upward of 6 months before you start to see the reward for your hard work.
What results can you expect from blogging?
Well, now this is why I get excited about blogging - because I know first hand the difference a blog can make to your website.
If you look at any website with a blog, I bet you’ll find that it’s most popular pages are all blog posts.
This is because Google loves to help match people with helpful content – so if you can produce helpful content, Google can become your friend.
Once Google is your friend, you can expect hundreds, or thousands, if not even millions of free website visitors to your website each month.
Is it worthwhile for ALL businesses?
Vague, I know. But that’s not a yes/no questions.
If you feel like your business is special, and that a blog wouldn’t work for you, ask yourself:
- Do my audience use Google?
- What is the search volume of the topics I would be writing about?
- Can I help them by providing solutions to their questions?
If the answer is yes to those questions, then you have blogging potential…
Just ask yourself - what difference would a new stream of new visitors to your website make to your business?
What are the pitfalls of creating a blog?
The main pitfall I see people make is that they spend time on blogging without creating a solid strategy first.
When you’re not strategic in your approach, the results can be hit and miss. You may end up wasting a bunch of time and not having any results for your efforts.
The second pitfall I see people make is that they forget to create ways to convert the traffic into leads, and they don’t optimise the rest of their website to get results.
It’s essential to ensure your website is optimised for conversions.
Otherwise you end up with a hole in your marketing bucket and your blog still won’t be doing you much good.
You can find out more about how to set your website up for success in this article, and how to turn visitors into leads in this article.
Liked this article? You may like our course: Blog Your Socks Off
Blog Your Socks Off will help you create a strategic plan for your blog, show you easy ways to pick keywords and topics, so you can create a valuable asset for your business.
About the author:
Kat Soper is the Founder and Head Trainer of The Helpful Academy Online Business School.
Kat is passionate about helping start-ups and small businesses succeed and achieve their business goals so that they can achieve the lifestyle they desire (and deserve).