In order to show you you the power of good formatting I am posting two versions of this blog post the first one which you are now viewing is with little or no formatting. To see the difference go to the updated post and compare. Read the bottom of the updated post on tips to make your blog posts stand out and capture readers.
In my professional opinion if it is reasonable to put a blog on a website it should have one and it is reasonable in most cases. Let me explain all the benefits.
#1.The Internet is about information. A blog is about giving a consistent stream of information on whatever it is the website is about.
#2. SEO ,SEO ,SEO. A blog is a great way to keep fresh keyword rich content on a website. Although it is sort of a mystery as to exactly when the spiders come to your site, generally the more you update your content the more often the spiders crawl your site. It is a great way to do link exchanges with non-competitors in the same industry. It is not unheard of to actually have links with your competitors. Bottom line is Google loves links especially those that are relevant content and Ideally you want to get a link from a site that has a higher page rank than your site.
#3. It keeps people coming back to your site looking for new information.
#4. The blog author or team of authors in some instances gain clout through the info they provide in blogs. Just like someone gains clout when they write a book. They get to be known as experts in their field.
#5. Traffic ,Traffic ,Traffic. Blogs have so many ways to bring in traffic. I receive more traffic to the Arcimedia Blog than to the main part of the site and it will probably stay that way. If someone subscribes to your blog BAM! You have a new way to market to that person. If someone is a regular reader or subscriber to your blog they usually have no problem receiving other marketing materials from you. Newsletter anyone? Sales ad anyone? Email is still the cheapest way to market anything. We have many books in the Arcimedia store that can get you started on blogging.
#5. You as a business owner do not have to be a web developer to maintain a blog. Most of the blogging platforms offer many resources (usually plug-ins) to add increased functionality to your blog. You may need to hire a web designer or developer to “customize” you blog. Customization can range from matching the design of the blog to your existing site or adding features that are unavailable as a plug-in. But overall blogs are pretty much ready to go “out of the box”.
I could go on but those are the main points. I do not believe its right to give all these benefits without adding some of the drawbacks of putting a blog on your website or creating one for your business separate from your website. So Here they are:
#1. It’s Work! You can not just throw a blog up and then be done with it. As with anything it will be what you make it. To be successful you must do everything you do with your regular website and more. You have to market it. It will not magically get to your target audience. It has to be Search Engine Optimized, and perhaps unlike your regular site ( which may have keyword rich content that does not change very often) this is something you have to consider each and every time you write a post. You have to post consistently, a blog that has infrequent or long droughts where no new content is added is a dead blog. That will probably need to be buried and laid to rest or extra work will have to be put in to revive it. You have to “user optimize” it. I do not want to go to in depth about building and maintaining a successful blog so as not to stray from the original topic. I will create another post specifically on building a successful blog soon.
#2 It is a vast and competitive area within the world wide web. To stand out you must be creative. I will discuss this more in depth as well in the forthcoming post Building a Successful Blog.
#3 You must learn a new skill. Make no mistake about it blogging is a skill. It is a skill that can be mastered with practice and study. If you are a good writer that will give you a head start when you start writing a blog.
#4 Given that blogging takes so much effort. You must make sure your work pays off. What I mean by this is if you are using it as a business building tool it should bring you a return from your work. Ask yourself the following questions. If the you cannot answer yes to any of these than your blog is not growing your business.
Does it further establish your brand or company in the marketplace?
Does it generate traffic to your website and/or brick and mortar store?
Does your blog profit from the sale of yours or other business’s products straight from your blog? This could be as simple as getting paid to post or advertising revenue.
Does your blog generate leads to possible future customers?
For many entrepreneurs blogging may seem like one extra thing on a plate that is already full. However, if you master it blogging can add another dimension to your business. When starting a blog as a business building tool use these questions as a guideline to make sure you are receiving a return on your investment. I am not saying to give up if at first these parameters are not being met. As I have stated previously blogging is both work and a skill. You may need to rethink your strategy, examine how much work you have actually put into it, or continue to develop your skill as a blogger before you start to see results.