For some business owners, blogging can feel like an engaging outlet for authentic online communication. In which case, it’s a no-brainer. Consumers love to know the story behind the products and services they use. For others, the prospect of committing to a blog is exhausting at best, terrifying at worst. Maybe you struggle with writing or simply feel you come across better in person. So, if you’re a small business owner with limited time and no budget for hiring a professional blogger, is maintaining a blog worth it? It’s a question posed by many of our clients.
Will it help my business?
So, what are the benefits of having a blog on your website? First and foremost, it’s a great way to add fresh content to your site regularly, and that means better SEO rankings. That’s because search engines are on the lookout for websites with current information. Fresh content also reassures users coming to your site that you are actively in business.
Second, it gives you high-quality material to share on social media that will bring traffic to your site without subjecting followers and friends to direct advertising. By blogging, you attract potential customers by simply offering them valuable information. Fast Company reports that the ideal Facebook post is less than 40 characters long. Medium reports that an ideal blog post is about a 7-minute read. A well-written, informative blog post can offer so much more to readers.
Is it a commitment I want to make?
The determining factor is this: how do you feel about writing? Does it bring you joy? If for you, writing is about as enjoyable as cleaning your garage, that’s okay. There are other avenues to promote your business and no blog is better than a blog that hasn’t been updated in three years. Not only that, if writing is a chore, your feelings will seep into your writing and your readers will be less engaged. So be honest with yourself. And if you’re on the fence, there’s no need to blog every day. Although statistics show that more is better, even posting twice per week will add value to your site.
If you do decide to take the plunge, here are some handy tips:
- Keep the scope of each blog post very small. If a concept is too broad, break it down into several ideas that you can cover in multiple posts. For example, “designing an effective website” is pretty broad. Readers would be better served by a post on “effective use of fonts in web design”. Posts that are smaller in scope not only add more value to readers, they’re more unique.
- Be concise. The beauty of the conversational tone of blogs is that your personality can really shine through. That said, bloggers should be careful in that we tend to go off on tangents when speaking. Online readers are quickly bored, so keep your momentum going. Note in your rough draft where you’ve gone off topic. Those tangents can be great ideas for future blog posts. Jot them down.
- Invest in a little online research to back up your claims. Citing statistics and quotes from industry leaders can be powerful in that they bolster your authority and add interest to your post. Statistics can appeal to readers who like numbers as well. All of this helps to ensure that you’re offering your readers concrete takeaways.
- Show readers why they should work with you rather than telling them. Do this by offering them valuable information and writing in an authentic way. If readers come away with something useful and feel a personal connection, they will naturally want to find out more about what you have to offer.
- Don’t neglect editing. Error-free writing will assure readers of the quality of your post. In addition, a good editor can pinpoint whether you’re being redundant, where your post is not flowing logically, whether you are using too much industry jargon, or where your post is posing questions that you’re not answering. Never underestimate the power of a second (and even a third) set of eyes.
So what is the takeaway? Blogging can have a real, positive impact when it comes to promoting your business and starting one is absolutely worth serious consideration. But a blog is only going to be effective if it’s engaging to readers, if it’s updated regularly, and if it’s providing valuable information. No blog is better than a stale, neglected one. So if the prospect of committing to a blog is daunting, remember that there are other, equally effective avenues to interact with your customers. Put simply, do what makes you happy.