90% of websites contain several static pages of information, yet so many don't have a blogpost section. It's quite scary really because business blogging is very very important.
I get asked "Why do I need a blog section" a lot? Here are the answers to that question!
(This is the first of several "blogposts" I will share on blogging for business)
Here are 7 VERY GOOD reasons why you need a blog on your business website
These reasons why you need a blog section are provided in order of importance
- Provide value to your website visitors
- Build engagement and relationships
- Showcase your industry expertise
- Build your authority as a thought leader
- Announce new things
- Increase traffic to your website
- Increase your visibility to search engines
1. Provide value to your website visitors
If I look at the Google Analytics reports for any of my websites or my clients' websites, it's the blogposts which gain an extraordinary amount of views. Not the about us or services pages. People are looking for help - they want their problems solved. The more helpful you can be - the more likely they are to want to do business with you.
This screenshot is taken from one of my websites which features a product on companion planting.
It shows that during this period I had a total of 1453 people visit my blog posts (the yellow highlighted urls). If I didn't have these blogposts on this ecommerce site - that's less time these people would have spent on my site.
These visitors found value in the information we shared through our blogposts. The most popular article was one on planting companions for tomatoes. This indicates to me that these people are also interested in tomatoes and gives ideas for future blogposts.
I can also use Google Analytics to track the "path" these people took after visiting each one of these blogposts. Some left the site, some viewed other blogposts and several purchased my book.
So the more value you give - the better outcomes.
Think about the type of questions your clients ask you. This is what you should blog about. Give them enough information so that they gain some knowledge and their appetite is whetted for more.
2. Build engagement and relationships
Blogposts provide the ideal situation and medium for creating engagement and building relationships. Most WordPress blogposts come with a standard commenting section at the end of each post, but we're trying a unique WordPress plugin called Disqus which integrates with Facebook and Twitter. Check it out at http://disqus.com
What this means, is that if you publish your blogpost to Facebook, then if someone comments on facebook, their comment will be published on your blogpost as well, and vice versa. If you have several blogs, then you can login to Disqus and see all the comments for all your sites at once and reply to them all in there.
The more engagement you have with people - the better!
. . . It gives your website visitors a means of talking to you about the topic and perhaps your products and services, or giving you feedback and ideas. This is gold!
. . . .Google likes it too - because engagement indicates social proof that your post is relevant to the keywords that people have searched on, and is of interest to them because they have commented.
3. Showcase your industry expertise
If you're good at what you do you will have a wealth of knowledge about your business and industry, and no doubt it is also evolving all the time. Never assume that people know what you know. Most of them don't!
If you're a landscaper for example - why not create a series of posts on landscape design issues. Not only will you be showing that you are knowledgeable, but you'll also be giving the subtle message that landscaping design is not as easy as they may think and that they will be better off getting an expert to help them.
If you're an electrician - do a blogpost on the dangers that can occur during storm season and what to do if you think your wiring may have been exposed to water. Offer a post storm electrical safety check at the end of your post as a call to action.
4. Build your authority as a thought leader
Become an industry thought leader.
Raise questions about issues (in your industry) that concern you and pose solutions. This will certainly help you stand out from your competitors if your posts are interesting, thought provoking, challenging and contain good ideas. Don't be tempted to just rant though!
People are always drawn to the leaders in an industry - to the key persons of influence - as they feel assured that they are dealing with the best.
5. Make announcements
Blogposts are the ideal way to announce new things. Of course you can always add new pages to your site about these new things too - but a blogpost is the easiest and fastest way to add the info to your site - particularly if you don't have a site built using a Content Management System like WordPress. And the structure of a blogpost system makes it easy for people to find the post on your site - if it's been tagged and categorised properly.
What can you announce?
- new products
- new services
- new ways of using your products
- case studies of customers using your products and services
- new major contracts you've signed
- new offices you've opened up
- new staff members
A word of warning - prepare the announcement in a way that makes it of interest and provides value to your website visitors. What will the "new thing" do for them?
6. Increase traffic to your website
Creating regular posts with new topics is a great way to drive traffic to your website. Here's how:
- Use typical keyword search phrases in your top level and second level headings to help Google with indexing. Make the keywords "long tail" - eg: How to Check Your Water Meter will attract specific people looking to do this - but just Water Meter will probably get buried amongst results containing sites selling water meters. This is what the Google Hummingbird update is all about!
- Share the post on other sites - article sites, your Facebook page, your LinkedIn page - so you attract a bigger audience.
- Add a social sharing plugin to encourage people to share your post by email or on their social media timelines
- Setup an automated email newsletter which shares excerpts of your latest blogposts (with a link through to your full post) with your email subscribers.
7. Increase visibility to search engines
Google (and Bing) have complicated algorithms which take a lot of things into consideration when they're deciding which websites will be featured on page 1 of search results for any given keywords. Since the Hummingbird update, Google places a lot of emphasis on relevancy. So if you're a painter, and you have a website about your house painting business filled with blogposts on all sorts of topics relating to painting - your website will be more relevant to someone searching on house painting topics than your competitor who has a standard 5 page site which only mentions painting on the home, services and about us page.
Another important factor in the Google algorithm is recency. If your site hasn't been updated for awhile, it will not be regularly indexed by the Google bots. The more relevant fresh content you have - the more often the "bots" will return and index it.
If you'd like help setting up a blog on your website, or tweaking it for social sharing and generating an automated newsletter etc - give us a call on 1300 554 495 or shoot us an email and we'll be delighted to help you out. You'll be surprised at how inexpensive and easy it is.
Next in this series - How to Prepare Content for your Blogposts.