Much has been said and written before about the benefits of blogging for businesses, but I think I can add some more depth to this already well covered subject. I’m also going to practice what I preach and have created this blog for you to follow and for all of the other reasons I’m about to share with you.
So without further ado (as I’m not one to beat around the bush), here are the reasons why your small business website should contain a blog of some description.
1. Internal Linking Opportunities
Since I work in the field of online marketing for small businesses, it seems right that I started with one of the main SEO benefits of blogging.
You see, backlinks are one of the main lifebloods of SEO and this holds true for small operations as much as it does large multinationals. But backlinks needn’t necessarily come from other websites; the way that you link the pages on your own website together is almost as important.
But to link pages together, you must have plenty of pages in the first place. By blogging, you are creating more pages on your website and thus giving yourself greater opportunity to link between your pages. So, for instance, I could quite easily talk about how I am knowledgeable in almost all areas of online business, but my main focus at the present time is SEO in Kent.
As you can see, I have linked this blog post to my homepage with one of my targeted terms as the anchor text of the link (that is, the words that make up the link). I can choose to do this in as many posts as I choose with any keyword phrases I choose as I am in complete control.
What’s more, internal links are less likely to get penalised for being over-optimised than external backlinks. In other words, what you should not do on other websites, you can do on your own.
Finally, the posts that you write on your company blog are going to be highly related and relevant to your main business proposition and links from related pages are worth more than those from unrelated pages (such as when people comment on irrelevant blogs just to get a backlink).
2. Targeting Peripheral Keywords
It is almost impossible to optimise the main pages of your business website for every single relevant keyword that you’d like to. But by creating a blog, you can do just this in a natural way that the search engines will like (yes even the big G).
For example, imagine you run a family mediation service that deals with the breakdown of relationships. You might realise that there are quite a lot of people who search for things such as “quick divorce” but because these sorts of terms are not precisely what you offer, you wouldn’t want to have pages for this on your main website.
But you could write a blog post about quick divorces and explain how they are not always a great solution when a marriage comes to an end. This way you can give yourself the chance of appearing when someone searches for this or similar keywords without having to feature it on your main website. You can then begin the process of converting those visitors into potential clients of yours.
3. Becoming A Topical Authority In The Eyes Of Google
Continuing the SEO benefits of a blog (since that is where I specialise), there has been a significant amount of speculation about what Google now looks for in a website before it will rank it.
If you don’t already know, Google has a few major (and ongoing) updates to their search algorithm and one of these is called Panda. What Panda does is, broadly speaking, reward sites with good content while penalising those with thin or no content.
What relevance has this got to starting and maintaining a business blog? Well, the most recent major update to Panda (number 4) had people talking and guessing once again at what changed and how Google now looks at the web and websites in general.
This post by highly respected SEO company Cognitive SEO, had me agreeing all the way through and I recommend you have a read of it if you have some grounding in SEO. If not, to summarise it, the concept of topical authority is introduced as a way for Google to separate the wheat from the chaff.
What this means is that sites that delve deep into a topic with lots of related, long and high quality content can and will be seen as more authoritative on a subject than those with less content and less quality content. They will thus receive a boost in Google’s search engine rankings.
So by consistently blogging about your specialist area, you can build up this authority and reach new heights in terms of rankings. And what’s more, you only need to be more authoritative than your direct competitors. So while it is unlikely that I will ever reach the illustrious heights of Cognitive SEO in terms of covering the topic in great detail, I don’t have to; I only have to make sure that I cover it better than my direct competitors (the other SEO agencies and consultants in Kent).
4. You Can Attract Links
As I mentioned earlier, backlinks to and within your website are vitally important if you want to improve your rankings. Writing engaging and interesting articles for your blog gives you the opportunity to earn backlinks legitimately just because it is human nature to share great information with other people.
So if you run a dog grooming parlour and write the ultimate guide to keeping a dog’s claws clean and healthy at home, you might just find that other people read this and link to it either from their own blogs/websites, through social bookmarking sites or on social media.
These backlinks might be pointing at the blog post you have written but if you are smart and have included some internal links to the more business oriented pages of your website (such as your claw clipping service), the “juice” from those backlinks will work its way through and boost your main pages too.
5. Build Authority And Expertise
I’m moving away from the SEO benefits now and on to other, equally significant, reasons to start a blog.
One of the great things about writing a blog is that when people see it and read through all the great content you have written, you instantly become more of an authority in their eyes.
In this day and age where trust is such a big issue online, to know that you are an expert at what you instils a sense of trust and belief that you will do a good job for them.
Imagine two plumbers have almost identical looking websites but one has a blog filled with a plethora of tips and advice for those who want to plumb their own appliances or fix a leaky tap themselves. If you had the choice, which one would you call for a quote first?
If it were me, I’d see the plumber who openly offers advice which might actually do himself out of work and I’d believe (rightly or wrongly) that he was the better plumber. So while he might lose some small jobs (which he probably doesn’t want anyway), he stands a better chance of gaining the really big jobs that are his main source of income. Thus, if I wanted a new boiler installed, I’d seek him out over the alternatives.
It’s not to say that the other plumber couldn’t do the same job just as well, it’s just that based on everything I have at my disposal from looking at their respective websites, my sometimes irrational human brain might have an irrational bias towards the one with the blog.
6. Engage With Potential Customers
If you wish it to, a blog can become a great way for potential customers to talk to you and ask you questions.
Say you have written a great post about blogging (you know, like the one you are reading now) and a reader wanted to know how often they should be writing new posts. This sort of question isn’t something that they would necessarily have gone through your contact form to ask but leaving a comment is so quick and easy that they feel compelled.
So now you know that there is a need to answer this sort of question, you can do in a reply to their particular comment and, if the subject matter requires it, you could even write an entirely separate post to answer it in more detail (making sure that you let the original questioner about it of course).
You can also use these questions as a way to tailor your services to new, potential customers out there. So, for instance, I could tell the commenter that if they need someone to write their blog for them because they don’t have the time to do it regularly, I am able to offer this service to them.
7. It Can Generate Leads
This is really a combination of all of the above points, or rather a result of what I’ve written above.
So by blogging you can: improve your SEO by linking internally, attract external backlinks, target other relevant search terms, become an authority in your specific area, win the trust and confidence of potential clients and find out more about them and their needs.
All of this can be put together to generate more leads and more customers for your business.
Wrapping It Up
In this post I’ve explained why you, as a small business owner, should have a blog and be updating it regularly.
There’s a lot more to the topic of blogging and I’ll talk more about it over the coming weeks and months along with other online marketing topic such as more in-depth SEO techniques and the various other channels open to the small business person.
I really do value comments, especially since I’ve made such a big deal out of them above, so please do take the time to leave one if you have enjoyed this post or have any questions.