One of the many questions I hear from my clients is, "Do I need a blog?" They're often confused because a lot of us still associate with blogs with online diaries and it doesn't always seem to make sense for a business. "I'm a lawyer/photographer/chiropractor. And I don't like to write. Why would I have a blog?" Believe it or not, having a blog (or some place to house articles) on your website or other social media platform (like LinkedIn) can benefit any business or personal brand. Here's why.
Establishes Yourself/Your Business as a Subject Matter Expert
A blog is a great way to advertise your expertise and gain trust. If you take a look at my blog, you'll see that I'm basically giving away my best tips, tricks, and advice related to the services I offer. I want my potential clients to know I'm here to provide honest service and I genuinely care about their success. If something I share can help them grow their business? That's wonderful!
When you create this kind of rapport with your customers, you increase your credibility and they're far more likely to actually work with you (because they like and trust you) - and recommend you to their friends. It's a win-win.
Increases Website Traffic
Whenever clients ask me about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it's usually with sheer terror in their voices. What the heck is it? How does it work?
"It's easy," I always say. "Here's all you really need to know."
When you have a business, one of the biggest hurdles is getting people to find you - as cheaply and efficiently as possible. To find you online, people use a search engine (Google in almost every case). So, "search engine optimization" just means that you want to optimize your chances of getting found online. And? There's a relatively straightforward formula to doing this:
STEP ONE: Use relevant keywords and phrases (including hashtags where appropriate) for EVERYTHING you put online: your website headers and content, LinkedIn bio, blog posts, ads, social media posts, etc. This is how you 'tell' Google what you're all about. Do you install windows? Sell records? Make jewelry? Put those words -and related phrases- in your content!
Not sure what phrases to use? Try typing something into the Google search bar and look at what Google suggests (also scroll to the bottom of the page to view 'Related searches'). Bam. Those are the exact words people are searching. It's that simple. If the related searches don't match your product/service, it might be time to rethink your keywords.
STEP TWO: If you have a website manager, they'll plug these keywords into the backend of your website, too. With Wix (my website platform), they have a very user-friendly guide that makes this easy. Again, this is how you're 'telling' Google what your website is all about.
STEP THREE: Generate consistent, quality content to pair with your keywords. Blog posts are one of the best ways to do this; just be sure to include your top keyword in the title and first paragraph. (That's how you say to Google, 'Hey! This is what this post is all about!')
A word of caution: BE HONEST. If you clickbait title your post, "The ULTIMATE Secret to Looking Like Kim Kardashian" and then write about puppies, Google will know you're full of it and WON'T send people to your site. How does Google know? Because people who click on your link and see that it's inaccurate will quickly leave your site. Google tracks time spent on your site -see next section- and interprets hasty exits to mean: That link we recommended on that topic was not a good source of information. We must stop giving people that link.
(Note: Even if you've done everything perfectly, it can take a while to rank because Google doesn't automatically 'trust' new websites/content. If you have a big budget and a large-scale website, you probably want to invest in SEO experts and ads that will quickly place you at the very top of Google searches.)
Keeps People On Your Website
The more long-form, quality content you have on your website (like blog posts/articles), the more likely you are to appear in a Google search. That's because a) Google's algorithm factors in your credibility, and they assume a 1,500 word article is a lot more informative than a 500 word one, and b) the more quality content you have, the more time people are spending on your site.
Did you write a comprehensive guide all about how to upcycle vintage clothing in Portland, complete with tons of tips and resource links? If you used the right keywords and phrases (e.g., "how to earn money from your old clothes in Portland"), Google will 'pick up' on them and go, Ah, okay, if someone is searching on this topic, this article is the most accurate and thorough source. I shall henceforth recommend it to searchers.
Poor Dewey Decimal system. Always in Google's shadow.
Then the snowball effect can begin: The more people who click on your wonderful article and STAY on your site to read what you have to say (because you're so dang helpful), the higher Google ranks you in related searches. In other words, Google's algorithm sits up and takes notice: Oh, golly, when someone searches 'upcycled clothing in Portland,' we need to direct them to this link/page/site because folks are clearly finding it helpful!
Notice how these Page 1 Google search results are blog posts!
By crafting well written, genuinely informative blog posts and using keywords strategically (as described in the previous section), especially on a niche topic, you can get on the coveted 'first page' (or even #1) of a Google search - without spending a dime. If you can afford the time (or hire a writer) to put together a few quality articles, it can pay for itself 100-f0ld in website traffic.
Creates a 'Warehouse' of Helpful Information for Your Clients
If you've started a business website, it's more than likely you've got a lot to say about what you're selling and/or the services you're offering. You might even have a FAQs section. You can turn those FAQs into guides for clients and save you time in the end. When Mike asks, "Hey what did you tell me about the foods to avoid for GERD?" you can simply send him the link to your blog post all about it! That's time (= money) back in your pocket.
It's a Subtle Way to Showcase Your Testimonials and Sell Services
Ever have a client who really made an impact? Have a personal story related to one of your services? A blog is a great way to share that story in a moving and memorable way - with photos (images are a proven selling strategy).
Use this photo in your blog post to sell your fire-eating services! No big deal.
It then creates the perfect opportunity to say, "If you've ever had an experience like Mike's, I can help! Take a look at my services..."
Ready to increase traffic and sales through a blog and looking for help? Schedule your FREE 30 minute consultation with me!
Julie (Jules) Schnedeker is the founder of write with jules, LLC and a seasoned writer with a passion for bringing out the best in others through creative writing, resumes, marketing materials, and more.