I say it to each one of my clients. “Blog more.” Or, “Start blogging.” It’s tough for a growing entity to find the time required to blog and blog consistently. But despite how difficult it is to make the time and stay consistent, having a blog and adding to it regularly will pay dividends for your business or organization.
That’s actually simple to answer. Your blog can help your website deliver more value to the business by doing two things: generating incremental traffic to your site, and increasing the conversion rate of your site. Increasing either will add value (bring in more revenue, create more leads, etc.). So how does this happen?
Good Blog Content Drives More Traffic From Search Engines and More
For most websites, the bread & butter of traffic generation is referrals from other sites. Generally, those other sites are search engines. But referrals from non-search engines are important sources of traffic for nearly all sites as well, or at least should be. A blog with good thoughtful content, that is added to at regular intervals, provides much more content for search engines to index, for searchers to find, and for other sites to find useful and link to. All of this results in more traffic to your site for each quality post.
But it’s not just about quantity. Throwing out a bunch of poor quality posts, or writing about the same topic over and over will be ineffective. A little bit of quality keyword research will help you determine different and fresh subjects for your post that will do a superior job of creating more and more search engine traffic. Here is an excellent article for ideas on what to blog about by Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media. (And see how that quality blog post also got him a referral link?)
Speaking of referral links, getting them is incredibly difficult to do without a blog. Link building is still one of the most important activities in improving your positions in the search engines, and doing it successfully is a detailed process. See the process used by one search firm we like, Heroic Search.
Succeeding in almost every one of those steps requires good useful content that almost always comes from a blog post. One very good post can garner several links, but to really win at securing referral links, you will want a number of good posts in a blog that is updated regularly.
Quality blog posts also can deliver great traffic from social media. Once your post is written, a little bit of self-promotion can go a long way to getting your fans to share your information with their own networks. A blog post does not have to come close to “going viral” to generate good qualified traffic to your website. After you write your post, tweet about it. Post it to Facebook and LinkedIn. Does it have good visuals? (It should!) Then put them out on Instagram. If there are industry-specific social networks that are relevant, talk about it there. Your shares and resulting re-shares can bring visitors directly to your site, and also result in other sites linking to yours.
And the really-super news is that while most good posts will certainly have a spike of traffic the first few days after they are posted, many of your posts will continue to generate consistent, qualified traffic in perpetuity. For example, in any given month, about 80% of the inbound traffic to the Web Site Optimizers website originates with blog posts that were NOT written in that or the previous month.
Your blog is a great way to generate more traffic to your site.
A Quality Blog Will Help Convert More Traffic
WSO is in the business of helping clients increase conversions. So it often puzzles clients when we stress building a quality blog. They equate that to driving traffic, as described above, and that’s not the business we are in. But what they don’t get (at first) is how a solid blog will actually aid in boosting your conversion rate. It does this in a number of ways.
A good blog will build your organization’s authority in the area in which you compete. Perhaps you sell ties online. Or maybe you’re an architectural firm. Or say you are a chain of coffee shops. These industries will all have big-name players such as Nordstrom, Gensler, and Starbucks, with huge brand values. Any industry will. And if someone comes across the website of your small chain of coffee shops and just sees the typical Locations, Menu, About Us pages, etc., they’ll think you’re just another small chain.
But if they also see a blog full of posts on different recipes, reviews of home coffee making equipment, health comparisons between different kinds of teas, etc., your company will start to look a lot more authoritative. Your brand will gain value. And those visitors will be more likely to convert over to customers.
A quality blog with a lot of helpful information that doesn’t just focus on selling your product or service will also go a long way toward building trust with your site’s visitors. A site that sells ties can have a blog, but if all your blog posts are about each new design you come out with, that blog is really nothing more than a What’s New page. There’s marginal value to your readers for that, but not much. However, if most of your blogs are about fashion trends, how your readers can achieve various looks, how to select not just ties but complimentary items, then you start to add a lot of value to your readers. And in turn, they start to trust you more. Trust plays a huge role in the conversion process.
You can also write & design your blog to include relevant calls to action throughout the page to entice visitors to give you their email address and enter the funnel. Maybe you offer a more detailed white paper on the subject of the blog post. Perhaps there is a related contest they can enter. It could be a recorded webinar to give them the fine details of a particular concept. Or it could simply be signing up to receive notices of future blog posts.
In any of these instances, you can put the desired resource behind a very simple form that might be no more than the visitor’s email, or possibly name, email, and phone number, that when filled out gives up the desired prize. Now your readers have another resource that can deepen your relationship, and you have their email to start them down the funnel process.
Quality Blogs Work
You’ll note that throughout this article I use terms like “quality blog”, or “good blog content”, etc. And that’s where people start to give up. And that’s where they start to leave value on the table. All of this works only if you discipline yourself to prioritize your blog.
By that I mean set a schedule and stick to it. Whether you decide you will post each week, each day, twice a month, or whatever, stick to it. Make it a priority. And don’t just throw content out there for the sake of meeting your commitment. Make your blog posts quality. A quality post is not written in an hour. It typically takes a little thought and research to publish something that is of value to your readers.
But your investment will start to pay large dividends over time. And that’s what your blog is – an investment. Set a realistic schedule. Prioritize it. Commit yourself to making your posts count. Give it time to grow. Stick with it even when you don’t see great results after six months. Given time, it will pay off both in terms of increased traffic and more conversions.