It’s only 11.01am, and somewhere out there in the world 3,101,870 blog posts have already been written and published today. Cats, conspiracy theories, news (real and fake), scientific research, monsters, crochet — if you’ve ever had a thought about anything at all — there’s probably a blog about it.
But what is blogging actually? And why are we all doing it? Blogging seems to be one of those ethereal ‘things’ that everyone is into, but can’t really explain.
So I’ve written this quick post to put things in clear English. Business blogging anyway. After all if you’re about to spend money on a blogging strategy — either allocating your valuable time to writing content yourself, or paying a professional writer like me to blog on your behalf — you should be able to explain to your business partners (and yourself) exactly what you are doing, and why.
The basics of blogging
Let’s get started by reviewing four terms that I’m sure you’ve heard (and frequently use) yourself. Blog post, web page, website, and blog. I know this sounds really really basic, but understanding this stuff will help you develop a better blogging and SEO strategy.
The article you are reading right now is a blog post. You know it’s a blog post because it clearly displays:
- The author (that’s me).
- The date it was published (today, 4 January 2020)
- An area where you can leave a comment (please do)
- A long URL (blog posts don’t always have long URLs but most of them do)
Blog posts are online articles (diary-style) that present the opinions, expertise, and research of a real person. A true blog retains it’s original publishing date and links to other blog posts, multimedia, and websites. Blog posts traditionally have a space for commenting, and the URLs are quite long — often incorporating the publishing date.
REMEMBER: blog posts are written diary style because they capture opinions and expertise at that moment in time (ie, the publishing date). They aren’t intended to be updated, and when new information is discovered it’s more appropriate to just publish a new blog.
Static web pages
On my website, the About, Contact, and Blog Writing Service pages are all static web pages. A static web page is different to a blog post because it.
- Doesn’t display the author
- Doesn’t display the publishing date
- Doesn’t (usually) have an area for comments
- Usually has a shorter URL
REMEMBER: static web pages are updated when business operations change or new information emerges. Eg, there is no need to create a new ‘Contact’ page if the company phone number changes.
Websites and blogs
A website is made up of a range of online content including static webpages, blog posts, products, portfolio items, and testimonials. A dedicated blog (or web log) only contains blog posts (and maybe a bio and contact page) — and always displays the posts in date order (with the most recent shown first). You really don’t see a lot of dedicated business blogs — though Seth Godin’s blog is a fine example.
Most business websites incorporate a blog that features blog posts authored by the business owner, managers, and key employees. My role as an SEO content writer is to ghostwrite articles and help business owners develop a suitable blogging strategy.
BLOG: a regular feature appearing as part of an online publication that typically relates to a particular topic and consists of articles and personal commentary by one or more authors.
Merriam Webster Dictionary
Why is everybody blogging?
Now you know what blogs are, why is everybody blogging? In short — money and attention.
A regular blogging practice can help you:-
- Rank higher on the list in a Google search.
- Increase your web traffic.
- Generate interest in your products and services.
- Build a reputation as an authority in your industry or service niche.
- Encourage quality websites to link back to your posts and pages.
- Broadcast your own research, innovations, and inventions.
- Create a direct relationship between you and your customers.
Why do search engines love blog posts?
Search engines (especially Google) value websites that regularly add fresh content. Specifically, publishing a new blog post on your site:
- Refreshes the site — new content activates the Googlebot to crawl and index your website.
- Recruits long term followers — consistently posting new content encourages your followers to regularly visit your website.
- Drives new traffic — fresh content brings new visitors.
- Keeps your site relevant — new content keeps your site up-to-date and assists Google deliver the more relevant search results.
Business blogging strategies
Blog posts can certainly drive traffic onto your website, but what do you want your readers and site visitors to do once they’ve finished reading a post? You need a blogging strategy if you want to convert those visitors into followers, fans, or paying customers.
Here are 5 of the most widely used business blogging strategies:
- Brand awareness — publishing content that reinforces your company brand to customers and the general public.
- Authority building — establishing yourself as an industry authority or thought leader.
- Website monetisation — driving traffic to your website and receive commissions when readers click on pop-up and banner ads, or purchase affiliate products.**
- eCommerce — driving traffic directly to your online store.
- Nonprofit outreach — raising awareness about social issues — plus fundraising by NGOs, charities, activist organisations, and community groups.
Affiliate Marketing: ever seen a blog post with a banner ad that leads you to the Amazon store? Maybe it’s to buy a guitar, book, or fancy food dehydrator. If you buy something in the Amazon store, the website owner received a commission on the sale (2-45% depending on the retailer).
Is blogging a fail-safe marketing strategy?
There are no fail-safe marketing tools. Blogging is an excellent way of promoting your business, but it’s unlikely unlikely to be effective if you:
- Have an inconsistent publishing schedule.
- Don’t publish anything that’s useful to your readers and customers.
- Sound amateurish and unprofessional.
- Use clickbait blog titles that mislead the reader.
- Have so many banner ads and popups it’s almost impossible to read the text.
Should I be blogging?
Let’s look at that another way. There are currently 1.74 billion websites out there, and if you aren’t blogging how are you going to keep your website up-to-date and relevant?
Let’s say you’re a massage therapist and launched a website in January 2018. It’s a beautiful website and you hired an SEO content writer to write some great content, but you haven’t published anything since then.
How many massage therapists have now launched websites in the 2 years since you published yours? Are you still the most up-to-date and relevant website in your industry, location, and niche area?
So now you know a bit more about business blogging, would you like some specific ideas and advice about how blogging can help your business or social enterprise?