In today’s world, standing out from a crowd on the internet is difficult. If you’re starting on the web or looking to increase traffic to an existing website adding a blog might be a right place to start. Blog can also be a powerful way to help build your brand.
What is a blog and is it different to a website?
In short, no. A website is usually a group of static pages for people to view. It might be a contact page or an about page. In contrast, a blog post is written by an individual or group of individuals on a topic and usually displayed in chronological order and is typically updated frequently.
You can find all sorts of blogs online, from travel to gaming. Blogs used to be associated with the hobbyist stereotype, but blogs these days can become businesses in their own right. A successful blog could generate enough income for someone to give up their day job.
Today, more and more businesses are starting their blogs to supplement their core website. You’ll have probably read a few yourself while browsing your favourite pages.
Why are blogs important for my business?
There are a few reasons you should think about writing a blog both from a technical perspective and from a customer one.
When we say technical we mean search engines, if you ask yourself:
‘Where would I go need to go if I need to look for a local physiotherapist?’
I bet the answer is ‘I’ll google it’. We’d never be able to live without search engines in today’s world. I hear you ask what’s blogging got to do with search engines?
Blogs and Search Engines (Search engine optimisation or SEO)
Search engines are enormously powerful. However, when pages are designed, you have to adhere to specific rules. When a search engine looks at your website, it looks for keywords, links and metadata. This is how search engines understand what your site’s about.
Keywords should be used frequently and evenly spaced across your pages. These words might be selected around what you’re trying to say. For example, suppose you’re writing a product description. In that case, you’ll want something that describes the product in one word that can be repeated.
Links to internal pages on your website help search engines understand your structure. A better-structured site will feature more favourably than a poorly structured one. Links to external websites are also excellent. This enables a search engine to understand your context as you’re linking to another website talking about a similar topic.
Metadata is the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. For example, if we take a picture, a person can look at a picture and understand what it’s saying. A search engine doesn’t have eyes, so it relies on a description to understand what an image is.
So if you have a five-page website, you only have a small target for search engines to read and understand your website. That’s where blogs come in.
Let’s go back to the physiotherapist as an example. Using a blog on the website talking about a specific topic (let’s say a bad back) will help you add more keywords, links and metadata to your website. Increasing search engine chances of understanding your website is a must. The more keywords you have, the better the chance of google linking an individual’s search and website. The more content you have, the bigger target for a search engine.
Blogging is also useful to help build brand identity. If you’re a new kid on the block and can write engaging content that someone wants to read, they’ll be more inclined to keep coming back to your website.
Another fair use for a blog is showing a potential customer that you know what you’re talking about. You can establish yourself as an expert in your field. Let’s say you were looking at a physiotherapist’s website because of a bad back. They recommended singing to a plant to fix your lousy back you’d probably look elsewhere. However, a post suggesting stretches and different exercises would increase credibility and better convert a reader into a customer.
Blogs are also useful to help nudge potential customers into taking an action that turns into a sale. Let’s say you had an online grocery shop; you might blog about your favourite recipes to engage with your customers.
An online recipe would have loads of keywords as you’ll be describing the ingredients for a dish. In search results this would show up as a recipe, but you could also add links to add all the ingredients to a basket, how convenient.
Supermarkets use this one all the time.
Blogs are also useful to help drive traffic from social media. We’ve already discussed why your business should have a social media presence but having share buttons on your blogs post is also a must.
A share button will allow anyone visiting your page to share content on to their social feeds. As soon as it’s on there, all the friends or follows will be able to see the shared post. Think of it as free marketing to help drive traffic and potential customers to your site.
So, does your business need a blog?
Your business doesn’t need to have a blog, but a blog can help you get noticed on the web. Depending on your business we’d always recommend having a blog and that you write regularly. The more content you have, the easier it is for you to get found online.