“To blog or not to blog?” That is the question for the modern information age. The more detailed question I want to explore in this post is; Can blogging help you and your business? I believe strongly that the answer is YES and I have good reason to believe so. I’ve seen tremendous growth in me and my business since starting my blog in the summer of 2015 and I’d like to share some things I’ve learned with you.
In this post we’re going to explore 3 ways blogging helps your business, 3 ways blogging helps you and we’ll go over some actionable steps you can take to get apply to your own blog.
First, let’s go over a couple things that a blog is not:
A blog is not an announcement or a news update – If you want to let people know what you’re up to or to post an update, I recommend either separating announcements from your blog on your website or do so via social media. I’ve learned this the hard way. If people view your blog and it’s just a few updates and announcements, they’re gone, and rightfully so. If you look at a blog and it’s all announcements from a year ago, there’s not much value there. Keep your “Blog” and “Announcements” sections separate.
A blog is not junk content – There’s no point in writing a post if it’s crap and it doesn’t add any value. Take the time to write good material that’ll add value to your audience and that can stand the test of time. There’s no right or wrong way to write a blog post but if it’s going to be beneficial to the reader, it needs to be somewhat well written.
Ok, now that we’ve covered what a blog is, let’s dive in and see how it can help you and your business!
3 Ways Blogging Helps Your Business:
1) It drives traffic to your website – Sites with blogs typically have 30-40% more traffic online than competitors in similar industries. Blog posts are essentially new pages on your site which Google LOVES to see. One of the best SEO practices you can implement to help your organic ranking is to write engaging content that keeps readers on your site and increases clicks and engagement. The more engagement you have, the more domain authority and higher rankings you’ll see.
Take a look at a couple examples below. As I’ll mention more later in the post, I was recently asked to be a contributing author for the Elegant Themes Blog. When my articles there go live, I always see a spike in traffic here on my site.
Here’s a snapshot from my Google Analytics in Feb 2017. Can you guess when my blog series went up on the Elegant Themes Blog?
Let’s look at another example. My photographer friend at Isabel and Allen Photography recently took my advice and wrote a piece on her blog about a local donut shop that was closing. The post resonated with hundreds of people who loved the shop and it spread across social media like wildfire. Look at the spike she saw on her site!
It’s amazing how far a good blog post can go and how much traffic it can drive to your site.
2) It leads to sales – When you offer quality content and information to your target audience, it provides them with perhaps the most undervalued asset in business, trust. Trust leads to engagement, engagement turns into leads and leads turn into sales.
Imagine you create an article that gets picked up by just a handful of people on Facebook or another social media platform. They like it and share it within their network of friends and family. That initial engagement just spread from 3 to potentially hundreds of people. If someone gets a hold of that article and goes to your website, they’re likely to see your services and learn more about you. You’ve now got a hot lead and very likely, a sale. That sale stemmed from the trust you created with a blog post on your site.
3) It positions you as an expert in your field – By offering knowledge and value in your field, you become an expert in the eyes of your readers. Most websites explain what a company does, but not many provide resources and “how to” information that their potential customers could use. If you have a wealth of knowledge that you can offer to potential clients, they’ll often view you as an expert in your field, even if you’re not. I’m just scratching the surface of writing on different topics but that fact that I offer some value on my site, and not just my services, it speaks volumes as to how clients view me.
3 Ways Blogging Helps You:
1) It makes you a better communicator – Blogging has helped me tremendously in my writing and grammar. It’s helped me articulate my thoughts into a solid structure and has helped me create engaging articles from the start. These days, whether it’s writing or in design, you only have a limited window of time to pull people in. Blogging will force you to get your point across quickly and you’ll learn to be concise, direct and how to trim out the fluff.
2) It opens doors to new opportunities – Well written articles and posts in your field can lead to various opportunities. Speaking engagements and paid advertising are two that come to mind initially. If your blog picks up some traffic, it won’t be long before you’ll be contacted by a company or product wanting to advertise on your site. That can lead to some pretty substantial passive income if you’re charging monthly for a sidebar spot on your blog.
It can also lead to other opportunities like blog contributing or speaking engagements. I was thrilled to be invited by my old website professor to speak to a class at my community college recently. The invite came initially because he saw that I had developed a strong brand and was interested in giving back via my blog and other resources.
The other major opportunity that came for me was in the Spring of 2016 when I was invited to be a blog contributor for Elegant Themes, the maker of Divi which is the WordPress theme that I use for all my sites. When I found out that their content manager lived here in Columbus, OH, I reached out to him and offered to buy him some lunch and talk shop. After our initial meeting, he saw that I was an active member of the “Divi Nation” on social media and that I had a blog of my own. I was asked if I would be interested in contributing to the ET blog, they gave me a test run, the first one went well so it lead to more.
This has now helped not only propel my personal brand in the web design world but has opened up numerous opportunities for collaboration with other designers and with projects and new clients. Again, all from deciding to start a little blog on my site 🙂
3) It creates a catalog of resources, information and content for future uses – Facebook live, Instagram, Snapchat and some of these other quick video platforms most certainly have their purpose and place in business, but my only issue with those mediums is that the content disappears quickly. If you have an awesome thought and can add some value, it’s a shame if it gets lost after one day of making the rounds through social media. With a blog, your content stays on your site and can be accessed for months if not years down the road.
This is also a great way for you to catalog and organize content for future uses like e-books, workbooks or other publishing options. For example; I’m planning on building out my blog and using it as reference points for eventually creating some courses and training on helping fellow web designers.
Ok, now let’s go over some practical action items that you can apply to your blog.
Action Items for you:
• Keep posts between 500 to 2000 words – Google recommends at least 350 words to accumulate any page value. On the other hand, posts over 2000 words begin feeling like chapters of books. A long post has it’s purposes, particularly with SEO, but it ought to be extremely engaging to keep readers interested for that long. For reference, this post is closer to the 2K mark. Most posts don’t need to be this long 🙂
• Write for PEOPLE, not just SEO – A posts SEO value is largely due to how long people are staying on the page. If people read it but it’s not connected and they drop on the page, it’ll show in your rankings. This also means that you want to write the post with YOUR personality. Don’t write it like a robot trying to follow a perfect SEO template for blogging. Engage with your audience and you’ll find that’s the best start to building good SEO value.
• Bullet & Number lists go a long way – A blog is mostly words, so be sure to organize those words in a pleasing way. If there is ever an opportunity to create bulleted or numbered lists, do so! I gave you 3 ways blogging can help your business and 3 ways it can help you personally. Can you image if I just lumped that all into one paragraph? It wouldn’t be very pleasing and would be hard on the eyes. Separate things like that out in a pleasing, visual manner and it’ll go a long way with your readers.
• Follow a basic structure – Intro, content, outro structure. We as humans like a beginning, middle and an end. Maybe it’s movies, maybe it’s books, maybe it’s the way our brains are wired. Either way, follow a structure that people can follow.
• Offer actionable or takeaway items – Offering great information and content is good and all but offering great ACTIONABLE information and content is even better. Empower your readers and watch how it pays off.
Finally, if you’re feeling inspired to start a blog, you’re probably wondering how and where to get started, right? Well that’s a post worth of information that we’ll save for another blog. But I’ll say that if you use WordPress (which is the website platform I use and recommend), then it’s very easy to start blogging on your site. If not, no worries, you can sign up to start a free WordPress Blog or use other site builders out there.
Well I hope this article gives you some inspiration and a good idea of how blogging can help you and your business. It’s all about sharing what you’ve learned and adding value to friends, colleagues and potential clients alike. And it’s amazing where it can take you 🙂
Blog on and watch what happens!