If your business’ website does not yet feature a blog, you are missing out on a very powerful business tool. If done correctly, a blog can do much more than simply provide information—it can actually attract new customers and help your site rank higher in the search engines. Here are five primary reasons why your business’ website should include a blog.
It’s free marketing. Marketing can take up a huge part of any company’s budget. Fortunately, the Internet offers many opportunities for free or low-cost marketing, one of which is blogging. Although you can sign up for a free blogging service such as with Blogger, we strongly recommend that you host your blog on your own website. Either way, you’ll have a free or low-cost platform to share information about your products and services. But just a word of caution: a blog should not be used simply to make sales pitches. Your main goal should be to share valuable information. The sales will come as a byproduct of sharing knowledge.
It helps build up your web presence. If you want your business to be competitive, you absolutely must have an impressive online presence. People increasingly judge companies based on their website, social media accounts, and even shopping cart software experiences. If yours does not stack up, potential customers might look elsewhere. Even if you have a brick and mortar business with little reliance on e-commerce, people usually will check out your website before paying your physical location a visit. Blogging is a great way to bulk up your website and provide quality content for visitors, which is essential in improving the perceived legitimacy of your website and business.
To share news and information. Blogging is a great way to keep customers, fans, employees, and partners updated with the latest news about your business and industry. A blog is also a great way in which you can position yourself and your company as the experts in your particular field. People want to do business with the experts, so when your readers are ready to buy, they will most likely turn to you. The key to a blog is to make your content interesting--you have to give your readers a reason to keep coming back for more. Avoid obvious sales plugs and advertising. Instead, integrate information about your services into relevant stories.
It can provide interaction with your customers. One of the most important aspects of blogging is the ability for readers to leave comments. The comments section provides an easy platform where customers can comment on the story, ask questions, give feedback, share experiences, or even register complaints. You can then tweak your products and services and future blog posts based on that feedback. Positive comments about your business serve as free advertising, and negative feedback lets you know what you need to address and gives you the opportunity to rectify the situation. Whatever the nature of the comment, responding is crucial because it lets your customers know that you’re truly interested in what they have to say and that your company is striving to provide excellent customer service.
It helps your website rank higher. Blogging is essential to a practice known as search engine optimization, or SEO. Search engine rankings are important because they let potential customers discover your business when they perform searches related to your business such as on Google. One of the ways in which you can harness the power of SEO is by creating solid, quality content on your blog that utilizes key phrases associated with your business. When people are searching online for those particular keywords and phrases, your blog posts combined with some solid SEO will help bring visitors to your site instead of to another. Search engines such as Google also love fresh content and websites that are regularly updated, and blogging helps you accomplish both of those things. If you’re seriously interested in SEO, you can hire outside help to really beef up your search engine rankings, but in the meantime, blogging is a great way to get started.
Getting started with a blog is not difficult, but organization and consistency are important. Think about the questions that your existing or potential customers have about your business or industry and use that as a basis for your blog's content. Create a content calendar to help you schedule your posts and stay organized. And if you have employees, share the load of blogging with them by assigning each to write articles on topics that they are familiar with. With a little forethought and organization, your business' website can soon have a blog that not only shares great content but also becomes one of your most powerful marketing strategies.
About the author: Madeline Marshall is a freelance writer from Northern California.
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