Blogging for Businesses, Why Invest the Time?

There are a plethora of reasons to start a blog. Teenagers with online journals, hobbyists looking for a creative outlet, every day superheroes looking to put up pictures of their latest Lego creation or other particular dog and pony shows, or businesses looking to disseminate information. That last one is what I’ll be focusing on here.

From a web design standpoint, I recommend blogging to every business or individual client who comes my way, if there budget can accommodate and they’re willing to put in the time. Blogging can infinitely increase your chances of success, and my aim today is to show you just how that happens.

First, the realities:

  • Blogging takes time. You need at least one person who is dedicated to the task, if only part time.
  • Blogging is easy. The most important part is having something to say. If you run a business, you should have plenty of knowledge of that business, and therefore a plethora of information to impart upon potential readers. The second most important part is being a decent writer. You don’t need to be Charles Dickens here, but the closer you are to at least high school level writing, the better your chances of attracting a readership with that great content you’ve got. The truly easy part is actually doing it though. I build WordPress into all of my sites, and it makes writing a new blog post easier than using Outlook to write a memo to your staff.
  • Blogging is a giant SEO booster. Google loves content, they prefer sites with more content over those with less, and they prefer sites that update regularly. A blog is a great way to update your site regularly even if your other pages are more or less set in stone.

Five Benefits of Blogging for Businesses

1. Search Engine Optimization

There are enough websites out there about SEO to keep an interested reader indoors glued to a screen for the rest of their lives. Hundreds of tweaks, best practices and attempts at cheating can be found with a simple Google search. But they’re all irrelevant if you just do one thing right: create tons of great content, and do it regularly. By running a company blog, even if you only do one post a week, you’re improving your chances dramatically over your competition, assuming they’re not doing the same. And as much as they may be doing it, you just have to do it better, and with the right tools. I can provide those.

Example: This website is run by myself, a one man operation. I’m up against big players in the Pittsburgh web design market, and depending on which iteration of pittsburgh web design you Google, I’m either at #1 or in the top 10. Think about that: with all of the big name advertising companies, full staffed web design and development companies out there, and even specifically-SEO providing firms that exist in Pittsburgh (and there are a ton), my one man efforts either beat them all, or hold their own. I do a lot to optimize my site, it’s part of my job, but the single biggest contributing factor? I blog about web design and Pittsburgh on a regular basis. How do I know this is a major contributor? Well, I quit blogging two times in my life: once when I went on a sabbatical from the Internet in general and once when I began traveling full time and just didn’t have time to write blog posts (what with all of the exploration, adventure and engine repair I was involved in).

The first time, I took a hit on secondary queries (ie, searches for something other than pittsburgh web design or it’s iterations). That’s no big deal to me because a ton of my traffic is from people looking for free resources I provide (like Illustrator templates or code snippets). Those don’t make me any money, I just like to provide them as a karmic service for all of the wonderfully free stuff the web provides me. The second time around though, I quit blogging for a much longer period. Remember how I mentioned that I was at least top 10? Well, before I quit blogging for a year, I was #1 for all variations of pittsburgh web design, pittsburgh web designer, etc. Now I’m working to rebuild that, but case in point: blogging can get you to #1 with Google.

2. Customer Interaction

Not all of us get to speak with our customers on a daily basis. Maybe you’re not in a storefront environment, and so don’t see many of your customers face to face, or maybe you are and just don’t get to see everyone regularly enough. A blog is a way for you to disseminate information to those customers who’d like more of the bounty and glory that is you. Comments and RSS Feeds help to facilitate this, and tie in with our next point.

3. Easier Social Media Management

Every business definitely should be on Facebook and LinkedIn and probably should be on Twitter and Google+. Keeping up with all of these social sites can be a chore though, and while we all know you should be doing it, sometimes resources simply just don’t allow it. As soon as you’re taking the time to write a blog, there are tools available to automatically update those other sites with each new blog post. That’s five birds with one stone.

4. Improve Your Communication Skills

Not all of us are the most elegant communicators. Some people are great in face to face conversations but can’t string a sentence together in an email without using txt language or at least two smilicons. 🙂

The more you write, the better a writer you’ll become, and this will help you with everything from day to day emails to writing proposals and bids for jobs. Don’t you love side effects?

5. Keeping Your Site Fresh

The final point here is that simply by having a blog, you can demonstrate to your users that your website isn’t an afterthought. You didn’t have it put up in 2008 and never look at it again since then. A blog shows, by virtue of dates stamped right there on the posts, that you are engaged in your company’s online experience and that you are a constantly involved, evolving business owner. When people see recent updates, they are reassured that there’s a human behind all of that website, and people like humans.

For more information about blogging or to get your own custom website design (including a blog!), feel free to contact me.

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