In a word, Yes!
Most every business has a website, but many sites suffer from stagnant content. This limits readership and gives no incentive for consumers to revisit a site. Without return visits, you generally have to make the sale the first time a consumer comes to your site. A blog can give you additional bites at the apple — more opportunities to convert interested readers into prospects and then customers.
Blogs and SEO
Search engines reward fresh, authoritative content. A blog can therefore boost your visibility on search engines, but only if you meet these requirements:
- The content must be unique. This means no cutting and pasting. Search engines don’t give you credit for plagiarism, and may even downgrade you for it. The irony is that the search engines are only evaluating wording, not concepts. That means your blog ideas don’t have to be unique, only their expression. You can combine your own individual experience and viewpoint with material from other sites as long as you paraphrase — put it into your own words.
- The content should be authoritative. You are an expert at whatever you’re selling, and your blog should reflect this. Sure, you could write unique blogs about what you had for lunch, and you may even attract some readers, but you won’t attract prospects or improve your search engine results — unless your business is food-related! You benefit when your blog attracts folks who want their questions answered — they are natural leads for your product or service. Great content provides useful, accurate information without a lot of marketing copy. Authoritative blogs collect links from other websites and forums, a great way to boost your own search results and to become a thought leader in your industry.
- The blog should be well written. Nothing undercuts your efforts like poor grammar and punctuation, misspellings and awkward sentences. Search engines are pretty sophisticated and will downgrade you for mangling the English language. You may know a lot about your business, but no one will take you seriously if your content isn’t up to professional standards. If that’s a problem, hire a freelance writer or editor to help you churn out blogs that won’t make readers cringe.
- Blog frequently. Several short blogs a week (400 to 600 words each) are more valuable than the occasional long piece. Cast a wider net by varying you subject matter within your general topic area. Search engines reward fresh content, so keep them happy by generating at least one blog a week. Don’t be afraid to use guest bloggers or ghost bloggers, as long as you maintain editorial control over the final product.
Beyond SEO, consider these other ways your business benefits from blogging:
- Shape your company’s voice by discussing current developments in your industry. You might also want to weigh in on current political, legislative and ethical issues that affect your business. Give your business an interesting personality that attracts readers.
- Get good ideas and feedback that can help your business. Blog comments can be very useful to you and your readers, especially if you learn something that you can apply to the way you operate your business. Always curate your comments and never print spammy, off-topic or self-serving material.
- Blogs are good long-term marketing investments that can attract prospects for years to come, and at minimal cost. Exploit blog analytics to gain insights into your audience and use this information to help set the contours of your blog material.
This last point is really important — blogging is cheap. All you need is a few hours a week of your own time or the very modest cost of hiring professional bloggers. In either case, blogging is about the most cost-effective way to boost sales, so get inspired and start writing!