Blogging has been around for ages now, and really started to gather momentum from 2004 onward. At the time of writing this blog, I had a quick look at some statistics and it’s estimated that there are now more than 350 million blogs worldwide.
Whether or not you have a large readership (or any at all!) for your business blog, it’s still worthwhile blogging for the following reasons:
- Google likes to see regular, fresh content posted on your website, and this will improve your search engine rankings.
- Potentials clients might only skim through your site, but if they see that you have a regular blog, it will increase their trust levels.
- Your target prospects can immediately see that you have special knowledge of niche topics that may be important to them.
- Blogging can help you stay on top of current trends in your market (therefore it can be worth reading other people’s blogs as well, especially market leaders in your industry).
Blogging helps your customers to engage with your business on another level
While comments, shares and likes for your blog can be boosting to your confidence, they also show that your customers are engaging with your business or service. There’s the inevitable downside to this, of course, with possible negative or critical comments, but I think most customers are now fairly savvy with knowing that there will always be criticism (whether valid or not) and they’ll tend to go with the majority. Certainly I’ll read through several comments before purchasing a product to get an overall view of 5-10 comments before making a decision. And it’s often easy to spot the people who just want to pull a business down. It’s also easy to spot fake comments that are a bit too ‘glowing.’
Using blogs for strategic purposes
For many small business owners, you can actually test out your ideas for article or ebooks on blog topics. This is a great way to see whether there is enough interest in your topic before investing a lot of time. So if you have an idea, write a shortish blog around it (around 750-1500 words) outlining the key idea or theme, and then see what interest (if any) your blog generates.
Another insight is to look at your blog to see what comments or threads of conversation it has created. Then any questions or areas of interest can be integrated into your article or book. This is basically researching what your market is interested in – and it’s invaluable (and free).
Keep your blog within your website wherever possible
Some businesses blog using an external platform (such as blogger.com etc) and then link to their blog from their website. However, it’s strongly advised these days to integrate your blog into your own business website for search engine rankings and navigational ease.
- Consider offering an ‘Estimated Time to Read’ (ETR) at the beginning of your blog if you feel it will benefit your readers (depending on the length of your content). ETR is a controversial point in the blogging and marketing world. You can read more about it here.
- Include useful links to support your blog for credibility, as well as giving your reader the opportunity to expand their knowledge on specific points. Do configure your links so that they open in a new tab! It’s so annoying for readers to back-pedal and they’ll often lose your blog once they start going down hyperlink rabbit-holes! If you do link, avoid just linking to the ‘big guys’ – aim to link to quality sites or other blogs that can bring value to your prospect as well – and don’t be afraid of competition!
- Do include an image or two in your blog. I’m still surprised to see so many quality blogs that don’t do this. A page of text without even one image is off-putting. Just be sure to keep your image (or photo) relevant, of good quality and not distracting.
So, the answer to whether or not blogging is valuable for your business is definitely YES! Just don’t get disheartened if you don’t have much of a readership. Keep plugging along. I rarely get comments for my blog, but it doesn’t worry or deter me, because when potential clients look at my site they see that I’m regular, I’m interested in my topics and I care enough to keep at it. That speaks volumes about my work ethic and reliability!