When we give prospective clients a list of recommended pages for their website, we often hear “Why do I need a blog?” Blogs are sometimes mistakenly thought of as personal diary-type sites where you’ll find videos of the blogger’s cat or rants about the government. While they may have started out that way, blogs are now the preferred way of keeping your website updated. First, because blogging software like WordPress is simple to use, but there are also a number of benefits you may not be aware of, like:
- Search engines love sites that are frequently updated. Sites that never change are not visited (crawled) by search engines, and the less often Google and the others visit, the lower in the search results your site will fall. Post a new article once a week (or more) and the search spiders will learn that they have to stop by more often.
- Blogs are a great way to use keywords to attract visitors. Keywords are the phrases a user types into Google when they’re looking for information or a place to buy. For example, you might sell hand-painted alpaca yarn, so you want your site to show up near the top of the search results when someone Googles “hand-painted alpaca yarn.” The more times that phrase appears on your site (within reason), the higher your site will rank. Blogging gives you more opportunities to talk about hand-painted alpaca yarn without resorting to keyword stuffing.
- Community interaction builds a loyal customer base. Blogs are a fantastic way to get the community involved. Hold contests, post pictures of your store, post a fun video, or give useful tips for using your product. In short, give your customers a reason to visit your blog, and they’ll return again and again.
- It’s an easy way to find out what your customers need. Encourage comments and suggestions on your blog, and don’t censor them. If one customer posts a question or even a complaint, chances are good many more readers have the same question – they just don’t bother to ask.
- Blogs act as a sales page when you provide new ideas for using your products or services. Whether you sell dog collars or custom Facebook fan pages, giving your readers new ideas for using your products will encourage them to buy again and share your product with their friends.
- It’s a living, breathing FAQ page your customers can return to again and again. By answering their questions on your blog, you’ll not only reduce support calls, but you’ll also be letting casual readers know that you are an expert in your industry. That builds trust and helps make the sales process easier.
- A blog can help improve morale. Teach your employees to update your blog and let them have fun with it. Post pictures of office parties and outings, sponsor a “funny hat Friday” contest, or encourage them to list the reasons they love working for you. Employees will love being in control, and your customers will enjoy an inside look at your operations.
- A blog is the lowest-cost, highest ROI marketing tool you have. A blog costs at most a few hundred dollars to set up, $10 per month to host, and nothing but your time to update. That same blog has the potential to reach millions of viewers. Compare that to what you spend on Yellow Pages advertising, and I think you’ll agree a blog is much more cost-effective, even if you pay someone to write your blog posts for you.
- Blogs provide an opportunity to show off what you know and to tell the world about your expertise.