With Facebook turning 18 and Google hitting its 23th birthday last year, one point we can all agree on is that the digital world is very well entrenched into our lives. And, it’s no secret that bigger sites get better results. One of the easiest and most effective ways to build a bigger site that attracts a lot of online traffic is blogging. According to the experts, it is one of the three most important ways to build any online business, whether your market is business to business, or business to consumer.
If you have ever thought you were too busy to blog, then have a look at these stats:
- Companies that blog have 67% more leads than those that do
- Companies that publish 15 blog posts a month develop 1200 new leads per month
- Companies that publish 20 blog posts can expect four times more leads than those doing less than four a week.
And leads and sales is what it is all about when you want to make a return on any digital investment.
Sure a blog will increase the amount of traffic flow to your website, but businesses want to know how running a blog can improve their bottom line, and that’s exactly what we’re going to show you. Better numbers usually just mean the web management company is doing their job; it doesn’t necessarily translate into better business.
While we are all probably familiar with the soft benefits of a blog like referral traffic, boosting credibility and building online trust, we also know that these kinds of metrics aren’t convincing enough to qualify the time and resource investment for a lot of companies. So, instead we will be taking a look at the really solid and tangible benefits of running a business blog. These are the most profitable and logical reasons you should take up blogging for your business.
When You Blog You Create More Content, Making It Easier For Search Engines To Find You Online
27 million pieces of content are shared on the web every day, so your web site map has to be growing all the time to be indexed amid all that competitive content out there. When you blog you are adding to your online library of marketing collateral. Each page or blog post you publish increases your chances of matching a search query.
Websites without blogs tend to have a lot of traffic landing on their home pages, but when you blog your individual posts may show up in search results too increasing the amount of content that can be indexed by spiders and clicked on by users.
The statistics tell us that websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages and 97% more inbound links than those that don’t. Just 20 blogs a month will increase your online traffic by five times, compared to if you were doing less than four blogs a month, and sites with active blogs can expect 55% more traffic, but surprisingly only 37% of marketers consider blogging the most valuable form of content marketing available.
Or, in the words of Don Crowther:
In other words: if you aren’t blogging, you’re missing out on a huge percentage (probably north of 80-90% of the traffic you COULD be getting from the search engines by having more content on your site.
More Blog Articles Result In More Inbound Links
More inbound links make your site appear more valuable to search engines. You have to remember that search engines just want to keep their customers (read: online users) happy and content. Websites that are popular and have lots of links pointing to them indicate that they are providing useful, reader-friendly information and are looked on more favorably by search engines.
Once you have developed powerful, compelling content, those who find it useful will want to share it, creating links to your posts.
Blogging Improves Conversions On Your Website
It’s all well and good to have a website that people frequent to find useful information, but ultimately you want to sell products or services and a blog can help you do that. 61% of consumers surveyed said that they felt better about companies with active blogs. More interesting is the fact that 50% say content marketing impacts their purchasing decisions in a positive way. Even if you are still feeling apprehensive, the knowledge that you could effectively swing at least half your potential customers or leads is an incentive to get blogging.
Good Blogging Feeds Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
So far you’ve noticed how blogging is a good investment for your company website, but think about how you can use this content to drive your social media strategy too. The number one reason that certain companies develop a strong social media following is because of interesting content.
And, in order to “Advertise” the content, you are developing every day, your social media channels provide the perfect platform for sharing great articles, interesting infographics or viral content. On that note, blogs with video also receive three times more inbound links.
Hubspot says that, rather than ask another member of staff,
to come up with brand new original content for social media (or creating that content yourself), your blog can serve as that repository of content. You’re strengthening your social reach with blog content and driving new website visitors to your blog with your social channels.
Your Blog Is A Testing Platform For New Campaigns And Ideas
Once you have developed a following on your blog and receive regular readers, you can start using your audience for market research. Instead of shelling out a fortune on new campaigns without any idea of how well your audience will respond, you can use the blog as a mini testing platform for new concepts.
“Establishing credibility” or online authority might be considered one of the fluffy metrics, but building a rapport with your online audience and getting to know what motivates can determine how successful your marketing efforts are in the future. The more you know about your customers, the more you can fine tune your product or service offering, as well as the marketing tactics you use to deliver it, and optimize your chances of success.
Blogging Can Reduce Your PPC Budget
Ultimately blogging improves your organic search content- in terms of quality and quantity. This means you are less reliant on paid-for advertising like PPC or banner advertising, making it more cost-effective. Remember that your PPC ads are only effective when you are paying for them. It’s a temporary solution that you will have to persist at to see results from.
Even if you do incur an additional cost by outsourcing your content writing, that content will be online and indexed long after it has been paid for, giving you a greater return on investment.
We also know that online users have wised up to online advertising and that they tend to blank out adverts online. A lot of users also use ad blockers so they can browse uninterrupted. Furthermore, the statistics also show that online users are more likely to click on organic search results than sponsored ads.
Besides, what’s the number one reason people actually go online searching? For information; and, if you can supply that information in a non-salesy, helpful manner, you’ll be likely to match their needs.
So, if it is such a crucial part of any online marketing strategy or indeed, any strategy for a business to survive in the digital age, why are only 62% of companies still outsourcing their content marketing?
Committing To Your Editorial Calendar
Presumably because they don’t know exactly what they should be doing. The good news is the only way to figure out how good you are, or could be, is to start. Commit to an editorial calendar and plan to write one blog article a day for the next three months. Then start taking a look at your Analytics and assess the results.
Writing Your Blog Content
It may sound surprising, but you don’t have to be a total authority to write a blog. Online users want to relate to people and they respond well to styles that are conversational and intimate, and which show that the blog owner understands their problems. If you have a team of writers contributing to the blog you will need to create a style guide to establish the parameters for what is acceptable. While it’s important that everyone has their own voice and has the opportunity to air their opinion, the piece must still reflect company values and policy.
The tone of the blog is also important. When a user is searching for information he or she does not want to be sold to. The overt promotions and specials are better reserved for other parts of your website.
Search Engine Watch reminds us to:
Separate the purpose and expectations a user will have when visiting a blog… a blog is a place one goes for in-depth information and not to see the daily special. Understanding the expecting change a visitor will have forces us down a path beneficial for both users and our analytics.
How Long Should Your Content Be?
So what do the best blog posts look like? Well, for a start, page one results on Google tend to show pages with between 2032 and 2494 words in total, so we’re not talking short, superficial stuff. Online users want to read content that is detailed and useful, the superficial stuff is old news. In fact, to put it into hard fact, 90% of online users say they find detailed content more useful. So give them what they want.
Interestingly, content that is longer than 1500 words, has been found to have 22.6% more Facebook likes and 68.1% more tweets.
Quicksprout’s advice comes in the form of a few quick and easy steps to follow:
Bring the customers inside- speak to customers in a conversational tone. Speak in ‘you and I’ rather than ‘me vs you’. Focus on solving specific problems. Get emotional. Content should go beyond being useful. It should be unforgettable.
To make that connection between an online user finding and reading useful content, and making that crucial conversion, you need to include strong call to action at the end of the content. So when you are writing you need to ask yourself what you would like the content to compel your user to do. Are you writing a product review to incentivize people to buy? Are you publishing results of a new program to show businesses how it can improve their efficiency levels? When you are done with telling, ask something of your reader. Tell him or her to sign up for your free trial or to join your mailing list. To borrow a cliche – strike while the iron is hot and give an instruction.
More than that, make the instruction or call to action stand out. create a button in a complementary color and use bold font.
Be reasonable: you can’t expect every online visitor to be converted into a lead. But, the longer you do it and as you get better, the more you can expect your results to improve. Get into the habit of including call to action buttons and make sure you improve your conversion rate month on month.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, by keeping an updated blog you are showing search engines that your web content is updated regularly. By sharing useful content that readers enjoy and creating lots of inbound links, you are also demonstrating that your site has value to offer search engines’ customers.
In terms of your client relations you are also showing your prospects that you are more than just an online shop that anyone can set up. You send out a message that you are a serious business focused on staying current and keeping your clientele educated and updated.
Over the course of a year you can grow your website content base remarkably, simply by creating an editorial calendar and blogging.