In the immortal words of The Doors, “The time to hesitate is through.” If you’re still thinking about starting a blog on your business’s website, stop contemplating and start creating content. After all, this online resource could arguably be the most important page for increasing visibility, leads, and sales.
Yet, for whatever reason, many businesses overlook this invaluable opportunity. In many cases it’s a matter of time, skill level, or simply a lack of writing experience. Whatever the case may be, your business needs a blog. If you’re still not convinced, read on to learn the most compelling reasons to get started.
Increase Search Engine Traffic
According to Net Market Share, Google is winning the search race by a landslide, as 77.43% of the market prefers to start their search with this internet behemoth. That being said, businesses have to play by Google’s rules if they want to rank well.
Thankfully, the fundamentals of a Google-friendly site are pretty simple:
- Provide high-quality content
- Find places for natural backlinks
- Build your site with a logical link structure
Now let’s see how a blog can help with each one of these requisites.
Providing High-Quality Content
This is really the crux of a blog. Good blogging is about providing high-quality, interesting, and relevant content for your potential clients. According to Google, “this is the single most important thing to do.” When you create a helpful, information-rich site, search engines (and your readers) will notice.
Research by Snap indicates that the ideal word length falls between 1,000-1,500 words. Occasionally, they even suggest a 2,500 word piece for serious bloggers.
That being said, Google and your readers will always prefer quality over quantity. If 300-700 words is your cap, just be sure to make every sentence count.
With each page you add to your site, you also add quality keywords that will help potential clients find you. As Forbes contributor and Founder of AudienceBloom Jayson Demers writes, “…think of blogging as fishing. The more hooks you have in the water, the more likely you are to catch a fish… Every new page you publish is like dropping another hook in the water.”
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Find Places for Natural Backlinks
Google likes backlinks because it helps their “crawlers” find your site. When they can find your page faster, so can your audience. The key is to find “natural links,” as Google’s algorithms can distinguish between these and “unnatural” ones.
According to Copyblogger and SEOmoz, 22.33% of Google’s search algorithm is determined by the number of backlinks to a specific page. A great way to get a nod from another site is to guest post for them. This means you’re writing and publishing on someone else’s blog, online magazine, tutorial, etc.
The biggest perk of a guest post is that, generally, you have a lot more control over your anchor text. Data from Copyblogger also indicates that about 20.26% of Google’s algorithm is determined by the anchor text of external links.
Build Your Site with a Logical Link Structure
Google asserts that “every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.” This is because “spiders” find this structure easier to access and crawl.
While writing a blog may not help you troubleshoot DHTML, Macromedia Flash, or frames, this information is still good to know if you’re building your own site.
Humanize Your Brand
One of the many perks of a blog is that it gives your business a multitude of opportunities to connect with potential clients. As consumers are bombarded with advertisements, they lean toward companies that take the time to give them valuable information without blatant advertorial messages.
Keep notes of what your current clients are asking about, because chances are, your future customers will have similar questions. When you listen closely and respond to their concerns accurately, you’ll be one step closer to creating an invaluable connection with your target market.
When you’ve tapped into your audience’s interests, there is a strong likelihood of them sharing your content if they believe it will help others with similar problems, interests, or inquiries. In fact, a report by Business 2 Community found that companies that blogged acquired 97% more links than their non-blogging competitors.
Blogging also gives your business a way to showcase its brand. Through the proper voice, vernacular, and style, you’ll be able to personify your company. Is your brand serious, silly, stylish, sarcastic, etc.? If you’re unsure, think about what kind of personality your audience is most likely to trust. For instance, many manufacturers aim for a knowledgeable tone, lawyers may add a flare of sophistication, and many fashion gurus use today’s latest lingo.
Strengthen Your Social Media Presence
Do you ever wonder what to post about? Blogging is great way to bolster your online presence. Every piece you publish is another opportunity to post on your social media profile(s).
If your goal is to reach a wide audience and have more versatility, Facebook could be your best bet. According FB newsroom, Facebook has about 1.8 billion active users—plus they have a pretty incredible dashboard for sponsored posts.
Twitter is ideal for connecting with networks, joining conversations, and increasing brand awareness quickly. The downside is that there are about 7,600 tweet per second according to Internet Live Stats (for a great visual, click here). That means your message gets buried pretty damn quick.
However, if you’re willing to take an extra step, Instagram can be your most powerful tool. This photo centered platform consistently reports a notably higher engagement rating then Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, and Pinterest combined.
According to a study by Forrester, Instagram’s interactions fall between two and four percent, whereas other social media platforms tail behind at .027% to .097%. Just remember that with Instagram, you can’t insert links into the body of your post. This means you will need to update the URL in your profile.
Once you have solid library of blogs under your belt, it’s advantageous to repurpose evergreen, tried and true content. Think about making a podcast out of your blog, creating infographics, or compiling your articles into a comprehensive eBook.
In addition to social media posts, blogs make for quality newsletter content. According to Campaign Monitor’s 2016 report, email marketing actually generated 174% more conversions than social media, and marketers saw an average $44 return on investment (ROI) for every dollar spent.
Become the Expert
A blog boosts your reputation in your chosen field. When you’re producing material that answers your customer’s questions, you can become a one-stop shop for clarification, products, and services. Plus, if other related businesses use any of your research, you should receive a backlink from their page—which, if you recall, is one of the fundamentals to building a Google-friendly site.
However, it’s not only about the expert status that a blog helps to cultivate; your brand also earns the audience’s trust. According to research by Pamorama, blogs are the 5th most trustworthy source for information online.
This is because blogs are not advertorial in the way television commercials, billboards, and pop-ups are. Moreover, if another blogger or content creator happens upon your blog and believes it to contain high quality material, you may receive third-party validation which is arguably the most important element to any brand’s marketing initiatives.
Tap into Long-Tail Search Query Traffic
First, I think it’s important to define what long tail keywords are. Long tail keywords are specific three to four word phrases that tend to narrow a search due to their specificity. For instance, a property management company would have a difficult time ranking for “college rentals” on the first page of Google. However, if they were to feature keywords like “college rentals in downtown Pittsburgh, PA” or “affordable housing near Pitt campus,” they have a better shot of appearing at a respectable ranking.
If you want to find some quality search terms that people have used to reach your page, take a look at Google’s Search Terms Report or try Keyword Planner to get some ideas. If you’re curious about what search terms your competitors are using, take a peek at a few keyword density analysis tools like Internet Marketing Ninja or Zippy.
At this point you probably have a few ideas about how a blog can generate more leads. From increasing search traffic to cultivating an improved social media presence, this content-heavy strategy really works.
According to a 2015 HubSpot report, business to consumer (B2C) companies that blogged 11+ times per month got more than four times as many leads than those that blog only four to five times per month. While it may seem impossible to produce that much content, remember, you can always recycle older, evergreen pieces. In fact, according to a 2014 report, 90% of HubSpot blog leads came from old posts.
What’s Holding You Back?
Every business has a different reason for not starting a blog. Generally this procrastination stems from time, skill level, and/or unfamiliarity with its many benefits. Hopefully after reading this article, however, you understand the importance of a good blog.
If it’s a matter of time or the intimidation of word length, keywords, social media requirements, or anything else that's holding your business back, click here to contact Ethos Copywriting to jump start your blog content.
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