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Should We Be Blogging on Our Business Website? Internet Marketing Mysteries

So you're thinking about starting a blog on your business website. That's great. After all, every site needs a blog, right?

Not so fast. Blogging is not a universal need for all businesses. The answer, like almost everything related to the internet, depends.

In general, a blog can potentially have a positive impact on your business, but it's not as simple as just saying, "Yup, every single website needs a blog." Adding a blog doesn't guarantee more visits, more leads, or more sales.

Starting a blog isn't something your business should do on a whim. It's something that requires a lot more thought than, "Hey, this blogging thing really seems big these days. Let's do it!"

Is Blogging for You?

Okay, so you think a blog might have some positive impact on your business. But before you start writing that first post, let's explore a few questions:

1. What do you hope to accomplish with a blog?

2. How will the blog help you accomplish this mission?

3. Do you have the resources to devote to blogging?

The decision to start a blog on your business website can't be made by going through a simple yes/no checklist. It requires real thought. Let's run through a few scenarios:

Situation 1:

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with a blog?

A: I don't know. I just think we should have one.

Recommendation: Don't start a blog.

Situation 2:

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with a blog?

A: Triple my sales.

Q: How will the blog help you accomplish this mission?

A: People will read the blog and buy three times as much stuff.

Recommendation: You're not ready to start a blog.

Situation 3:

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with a blog?

A: Increase brand awareness and authority?

Q: How will the blog help you accomplish this mission?

A: By providing relevant, helpful, and shareable content about important issues in our industry, we'll be able to drive more traffic and increase public awareness about our products and services.

Q: Do you have the resources to devote to blogging?

A: My son got a C in some high school English class. He'll probably write some articles or something. He uses Facebook a lot, so that will help.

Recommendation: Dang, you were so close to being ready to start a blog. Find the right resources and then start blogging.

By now, you should have the idea. Before starting a blog, you need a goal, a plan, and the right resources.

The Benefits of Blogging

Increasing brand awareness and establishing credibility aren't the only reasons for starting a company blog. It's quite possible that your blog actually will generate more sales or leads. According to HubSpot's 2010 report, B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads than those that don't, and B2C companies generate 88% more leads with a blog.

However, you need to have a plan. You can't just start posting content about your company picnic and expect to see sales go up.

A blog should never simply exist because you're supposed to have one. You need to have a real purpose for your blog—along with realistic expectations. Your blog could serve to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Establish yourself as an industry expert
  • Provide your customers with updates
  • Show potential employees the value of your company
  • Keep your website fresh and relevant

If you're wondering whether or not a blog will be beneficial for your business, take a look at your competition. Do your competitors have blogs? If so, what are they blogging about? If not, do you see this as a potential area where you can get a leg up on the competition? Can you create content that will provide value to your potential audience?

Here are a few other things to consider about blogging:

  • A good blog requires resources. Resources = time and/or money. Skill is also nice to have.
  • A bad blog is not better than no blog at all.
  • Your readers won't necessarily become your customers.
  • A great blog post means nothing if no one finds it.

In addition to blogging, you have to be prepared to market your blog. Otherwise, the time and money you spend on creating the content will be like the proverbial tree falling in the forest.

Once you start blogging, you need to be committed to doing it. If you stop generating new content, you may want to remove the blog from your main navigation. A blog that hasn't been updated for a year could send the message that you are no longer relevant. Not having a blog sends the message that you don't have a blog. Not many people say, "I would have bought this widget if this website only had a blog." But some people might say, "I'm not going to bother calling this company for a quote. Looks like they haven't updated their site in two years."

Blogging just for the sake of blogging is almost never a productive use of your company's resources. You need a plan and a goal. The purpose of your blog may change over time, but there should always be some reason for having it. If you can't figure out a purpose or a goal, then don't bother with the blog. Focus on other areas of your online marketing instead.

So, are you ready to start that blog?

 

This post is part of Internet Marketing Mysteries, a weekly column addressing actual client questions related to SEO, analytics, website best practices, and any other topic connected to internet marketing. Have a question you’d like to see tackled in a future post? Let us know in the comments.

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