When talking to business owners about marketing their businesses on the internet, I often get asked about why I always recommend that their online marketing strategy, their search engine optimization efforts, include a blog. There are several reasons why I recommend adding a blog, and I would equate the importance of having blog to the importance of having an email newsletter. An email newsletter is important because it allows you to keep in touch with your current customers and your potential customers. We all check our email on a regular basis but we may forget to browse the websites of companies that we’ve done business with before. And there’s a good chance that if someone has bought something from you before then they may buy again–especially if you give them a great deal.
Adding a blog to your current website, even if it is a “corporate style website” for your business is important. Great website design does cost a lot of money, and putting together a great looking website is time consuming, especially if you want great copy. And once you are really happy with everything (your product pages or your list of services), there is not a great chance that you are going to want to change your website content anytime soon. I know several corporate websites that have not updated their products and services web pages for at least six months.
But after 6 months, your product page tends to become “stale”. Sure, it may convert a lot of people into sales leads or customers who actually buy your products, but in terms of the overall internet experience, we tend to like web pages that have been updated recently. They’re more “timely” and “fresh”. Unless your website is informational in nature and is about a historical event, your website content needs to be updated on a regular basis, especially when it comes to search engine optimization. There tends to be what I call a “newness factor” in that some search engines, especially Google, will give some additional “brownie points” to you when your content is updated. Your web page will get a boost in the search engine rankings, which tends to bring in more website traffic: and then rankings may fall as the web page or the content becomes older.
If you update your website’s content, people will notice. Your competitors may be watching what you do, and when you update something it might get their attention and they’ll come look. And the search engines will notice, as well.
So how can we take advantage of the “freshness factor” when it comes to search engine optimization and optimizing our website for the search engines? Even if you don’t plan on updating your website’s content anytime soon, you can add a blog to your website; and update the blog on a regular basis. Adding a blog to your website has many benefits:
— You can take advantage of the “freshness factor” when it comes to search engine optimization. It also helps if your blog’s content (a snippet of a recent blog post) appears on the home page of your website. If you do not update your home page often, here is a great chance to update it and keep it “fresh” for humans and the search engines.
— If you play your card right, you will get additional links to your website without having to “trade links” or “work on getting more links” to your website. Every time you update your blog with a new blog post, it can be submitted out to the various social bookmarking and social networking websites, which could lead to more links.
— You can publicize the RSS feed of your blog. If you choose to allow the syndication of your blog, your blog posts will appear on other websites (which really is a good thing). That will lead to more publicity for you and your company, and you don’t have to pay for it.
— You can link internally to other pages on your website or even your products and services web pages when you talk about them on your blog. If you syndicate your blog, those links will oftentimes appear everywhere your blog post appears. You can then get more links to other pages on your website this way.
— You can give your website “a voice” by keeping your current customers and your potential customers up to date on what you’re doing. Many of us tend to like doing business with “someone” rather than just “a website”. If one of your employees blogs on a regular basis, they will be “the voice” of your company. I know a service company that has a corporate blog on their website. Their “mascot”, so to speak, not only appears in their television commercials, the mascot blogs on a regular basis. This gives more of a “personal feel” to this large, corporate entity.
But I do not have time to blog!
I totally understand. Who has enough time in their day, along with running a business, to spend time writing a blog post? Well, when it comes to blogging, you do have options. There are several things you can do to make it a lot easier:
— Hire a writer to blog every day. There are lots of great bloggers out there who you can hire to write a blog post every day. It really depends on your industry, but prices could vary from $5 per blog post to $100 or more for each blog post. A ghost writer could be on “retainer” and might charge you a certain fee every month to keep the blog updated.
— Hire a writer to write 30 great blog posts about your products and services. Many popular blogging platforms (blog software) allows you to load the blog posts ahead of time and be posted at certain dates and times. This is a good option, but not necessarily the best: if there is something in your industry that you’d like to write about then you can still write a blog post. Sometimes your “canned” blog posts might not be as timely.
— Tell one of your employees that it’s their job to take half an hour each day and write something.
— Use your current email newsletter as a blog post. If you send out an email newsletter once a week or once a day, consider changing it and posting it as a blog post on your website’s blog. That will go a long way towards being timely content for your readers and website visitors, and you can even track the sales leads or sales you get from that blog post. And since the content only appears in email right now, it’s not going to be considered “duplicate content” when you post it on your blog.
Once you write or post something on your blog, for search engine optimization purposes, you need to take the time to “promote it” on the social bookmarking and social media websites. There is a great free tool called “social poster” that allows you to “fill out a form” with the blog post’s title, description, and tags and post it to several social bookmarking websites. You still must actually submit them manually, but it helps you fill out the form. If recommend using a unique title for each of them and perhaps changing the description when you post, just to make sure that the search engines (especially Google) see them as unique.
For search engine optimization purposes and to get better search engine rankings and more traffic to your website, adding a blog is very important. It gives you a chance to get more links to your internal web pages, it gives your website “voice” that can be used to connect with your current customers and your potential customers. A blog also keeps your website “fresh” and more “lively”. Your website visitors will notice if you update your website on a regular basis: and, more imporantly, the search engines will notice, as well, and reward you for it.