Ah, blogging. For about the last ten years, there has been a rigorous and consistent online debate about the necessity of blogging, what blogging is good for, how often you should blog, and who should be doing the blogging.
The sources I trust, such as HubSpot and the Neilson Norman Group, continue to support the benefits of blogging. And as an search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, I have witnessed how blogging can help take you to the top of search engine results and keep you there. If you plan ahead and keep yourself organized, it doesn’t have to be a chore, either. It can be an enjoyable way to talk about your business and spread the word about the good things you are doing.
Four Solid Reasons to Keep Blogging
Blogging for SEO: Google’s Panda update of 2013 essentially put an end to Black Hat marketing techniques, which was a very good thing for ethical web designers out there. It put a stop to such shenanigans as keyword stuffing and invisible pages, and forced site owners to stop using websites as “quick hit” marketing tools and start thinking of them as long-term investments that require real care and attention to ensure they provide customers value and maintain their validity.
As Google gets better and better at combing through and caching content, as well as geo-targeting, it’s true that blogs have become slightly less important. But only slightly. Instead of being one of the main ways to prove to Google that you are serious about keeping your website up-to-date and principled, they are now among several other tools available (including shared links, consistent content updating, and the smart use of social media marketing).
But here’s the thing. Every time you create a blog you create another opportunity for people to find you online. And sharing your content through channels such as social media multiplies those opportunities exponentially.
Blogging gets people to participate. Engaging people to visit your website through blogging also gives you an additional chance to make use of effective Calls-to-Action (CTAs). The best CTAs motivate your prospect to take an action that might lead to a sale by offering something of value in return. CTAs also work to help you gather very important contact information in exchange for something such as a special deal or an informative whitepaper. The offer needs to be attractive, of course, and the words you choose for your CTA play a huge role in how the prospect perceives your offer and whether they take you up on it.
Blogging builds your influence. Your blog also provides an opportunity to establish and demonstrate your expertise in your field. No matter your industry, you have the insight to share about the business that you know so well. Sharing your expertise, offering valuable tips, and engaging through social media will also help you to convert leads. Basically, blogging allows you to establish trusting relationships, even when you don’t have the opportunity to connect one-on-one.
A great way to help build authority is to use a company persona for your blogging. We at Emphasize Design split the blogging between us, with each of us concentrating on our own area of expertise. This allows our readership to get to know us, which means they will be more comfortable embarking on a site-building adventure with us as well.
Blogging lasts a long time. And spreads. There are three steps to distributing a blog, and once you put it out there it can be found over and over again. The first step is obviously writing the blog and posting it on your website. The second is to use your social media to share the link and invite comments and discussion.
And then the third is to pay careful attention to what people are saying. Do they have questions you can further answer with another blog? Is there something they are particularly interested in that you can expand on? A blog’s lifespan depends on how well you nurture it online, and once you gain a couple shares, they will grow and grow.
Succeeding Online With Emphasize Design
There are many ways for small businesses to succeed online, but few offer the wide-ranging benefits of business blogging. And you don’t have to be Shakespeare to run a successful blog, either. I find that if you simply offer your expertise, engage your readers, and post on a regular schedule, you’re already well on your way to blogging success.