I’m a blog evangelist. When the topic of company websites comes up in conversation, I can’t help but speak to the importance of blogs. What I’ve found though, is that even in our digital age, blogs are misunderstood.
In the late 1990s, when blogs (short for web log) were first introduced, they were written as informal diary-style entries primarily for personal use. It wasn’t until after 2009 that more businesses began adopting blogging as a practice. That may be why many business professionals still consider blogs to be purely recreational as opposed to an activity critical to the success of their website.
The question I’m most often asked is, “Why does my website need a blog?”
There are five main ways a blog can benefit your business:
- Blogs are a traffic driver for your website.
One of the most important reasons to have a blog is that it helps drive traffic to your website. Why is this important? According to a State of B2B Procurement Study by the Acquity Group, 94 percent of B2B buyers and 81 percent of consumers conduct online research for purchase decisions. The ability to find your website through search engines is critical, and blogs can help.
More indexed pages and fresh, updated content are two ways to improve search engine rankings. Every time you add a blog post, it adds another indexed page to your website, improving your search results. SEO and content go hand-in-hand. You can’t have search engine optimization without keywords and verbiage. Blog posts allow you to add keywords and copy that can be picked up in searches.
In our blog post Search Optimization Basics…and Why it’s Critical to Your Business, we discuss how website content, like blogs, that is relevant, valuable and fresh can aid in search engine optimization.
- Blogs can translate visitors into leads.
A blog post that contains a call-to-action can translate readers into leads. Hubspot defines a call-to-action (CTA) as a button or link that you place within the blog post to drive prospective customers to become leads by filling out a form on a landing page. The CTA is the link between the regular content that your customer is interested in and a page with a more high-value content offer that is relevant and interesting. Examples of a CTA include:
- Make an appointment
- Start a free trial
- Get a free consultation
- Download our free brochure
- Register for this event
The CTA should be placed at the end of the blog post, once the reader is intrigued and looking to find out more. At Mary Beth West Communications, our team is trained and certified in Hubspot Inbound Marketing, and a major part of the training is understanding the utilization of content for SEO and lead generation.
- Blogs provide content for social media.
Coming up with fresh social media content to post can be a challenge for many companies. A blog post is content that can be shared on social media. At Mary Beth West Communications, we aim to have one blog post each week that we share to our social media. Not only does this provide you with social media content, but it also drives traffic to your website. When the social media follower clicks on your post, it takes them directly to your website where he or she reads your blog post and can then click on the CTA.
This was very effective for our client, Hickory Construction. We arranged a monthly construction segment for Hickory with broadcast news outlet WBIR where Hickory Construction President Ben Pinnell provided tips related to different construction-related topics. After the segment aired, we posted the video and copy with the tips as a blog post on their website. This was then shared to Hickory’s Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. Google Analytics showed a sharp increase in web traffic on the days the segment aired and on the days the social media posts were made. We were able to see there was significantly more website traffic sourced from social media on the days of the blog posts.
- Blogs can be utilized for thought leadership.
Thought leadership is an important part of content marketing and branding. When you’re a thought leader, you possess credibility and information that is intriguing, relevant and solves your client’s or customer’s problems. People look to thought leaders for answers and expertise.
Your company blog is a great way to provide both current and prospective customers with valuable information on topics related to your industry, products or services. These could be “how to” blog posts, a blog post with a series of tips or even providing insight on current events or trends in the industry.
- Blogs are a platform to share company news and press releases.
Did your company hire a new employee? Did an employee receive an award or accolade? Did your company sponsor an event or donate to a cause? Company news items like these make great blog posts and can also be shared on social media. It’s helpful to have blog categories, such as “press” or “news,” so that visitors to your site can scroll through and see that your company is frequently generating newsworthy content and recognizes employee achievements.
Now that you understand why blog posts are important and how they can be useful to your website and business, here are some tips when writing blog posts:
- A blog post is more likely to be fully read if it’s concise. Generally less than 1,000 words is a good rule of thumb.
- Your blog post will be easier to read and more eye-catching if it’s formatted well with bold headings, bullet points or number lists. Include at least one image with your post to make it more aesthetically appealing.
- Take the time to ensure your post is well-written with proper grammar and spelling and that the message is effectively communicated.
- Provide plenty of hyperlinks to individuals, organizations, publications or studies that are mentioned. This will improve your SEO.
It takes time to write blog posts, but you’ll find that it’s worth it. At Mary Beth West Communications, we serve many of our clients by writing posts for their company blogs. If you have an interest in learning about how your company can benefit from regular blog posts, contact us today for more information on how we can utilize blogs to boost your website and bottom line.