Forgive me for coming over all parental, but have you done any blogging lately? And if not, why not? Hmm?
If you're not posting regular blogs on your website then you're missing a trick. In fact, you're missing a whole boxful of tricks. Here are 5 really good reasons why blogs are worth the effort:
1. Google will love you
Search engines like blogs. A website without a regular blog is, effectively, yesterday’s newspaper. It’s soggy fish and chip wrapper.
At the end of last year Google brought out something called Google Freshness. Yes, I know. It sounds a bit like a fabric softener. But actually, it's Google’s way of making sure that search results are relevant and recent.
Here, look. They got all poetic about it on their official blog.
"Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh."
I’m not going to run with that cookie and fruit thing because, frankly, it’s a bit naff (and besides, I’ve already gone for the soggy fish and chip wrapper).
The point is this: every time you post a blog on your website it creates a shiny new landing page. It refreshes your website, and gives you the chance to use a whole new set of keywords.
A great blog will attract backlinks to your website. Yeah great, yada yada. Everyone’s been going on about backlinks recently. Link bait, all that SEO stuff.
But what do links mean? Links mean people, human beings. Think about it. Links back to your site from other relevant blogs, websites or forums will bring customers who are already interested in buying your product or service.
And yes, search engines like backlinks too. A reciprocal link from a trusted source will give your site authority, especially if it’s relevant to your own business. The search engine robots will smile upon your website and reward it with a move up the rankings.
One thing to bear in mind though... No one wants to link to a blog that’s boring, a look-at-me advert. Why would they? It makes them look bad.
The more engaging and informative your blog, the higher quality links you’ll attract. Share the latest news, hot topics. Establish yourself as an expert in your field, give away some knowledge for free and people in your industry will want to share it.
3. More traffic
Get it right and a blog will draw in more visitors to your website. Now, I’m not going to get into the thorny subject of conversion rates… Well OK, I may have to mention it once.
Apparently, it’s between 2% and 3%. Depressing, huh?
To be honest, this conversion rate thing depends on what kind of site you have. E-commerce sites, for instance, can have a far higher rate. But the fact remains that website conversion is a numbers game. Generate lots of traffic with great content and you’ll get more visitors - and more visitors mean more customers.
And this brings me rather neatly onto…
Encourage your visitors to leave comments and you’ll get access to a whole load of free market research. OK, it’s a bit scary. For every 100 customers that like you, there’ll always be one that thinks you’re a plonker.
But hey, this is market research so negative comments can be valuable.
If someone leaves a negative comment, respond. It’s probably best to avoid escalating the situation by calling them an uber-plonker. This won't help. Politely thank them for their feedback, encourage them to comment further and give them an email address so that they can contact you directly.
5. Blogs give your business a voice
One of the best things about writing a blog is that you can speak personally to your reader. Yes, that's you. Hello.
Unlike website copy, which has to be brief and to the point, a blog gives you space to find your own voice. You have 500-600 words at your disposal. You can use them to directly engage your customer, start a conversation, attract attention.
OK, it’s time consuming. You need to post regularly to get the full benefit of a blog, and I do realise you’re busy running your business. It can also be a bit tricky finding an engaging, conversational tone that's consistent over multiple posts.
Well um, hello again!
If you like this blog, I can help you out by writing great stuff for your website. And if hate it and think my writing stinks, well I guess I’ll live with that and learn from my mistakes. Either way, feel free to let me know.