Why your website needs a blog (a good one!)
By Jesse Weber
What does “blog” make you think of? Personally, I think of vomit––repulsive word-spew all over a webpage. The cringe-worthy connotation I have results from a few things. The first is the unfortunate arrangement of letters, b-l-o-g, that just sound grating when pronounced. The second is the scourge of blog content on the web that’s either uninteresting, annoying, focused on quantity over quality, or just simply bad. But are all blogs bad? No. In fact, they are great for your business if done properly.
So what exactly is a blog, and what is it good for?
The basic definition, according to Google, is:
“A regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.”
Notice that it’s not confined to words on a page. A blog can be any form of media––text, graphics, video, or any combination. If you, like me, aren’t a fan of the word blog, think of a different term instead. News, journal, business update, what’s new––any of these could title the section of your website that serves as a blog. That 4-letter word need never be uttered nor typed on your site, but it doesn’t have to be a dirty word either.
Call it what you will, blogging is a great way to strengthen your internet presence within your target market. The key to good blog content is that it’s useful to viewers first, and useful to the business second. In other words, your content should be something that people actually want to see, and the conversion to customers will follow. Here’s what a good blog will do:
1. Give Value to your Viewers
This is the NUMBER ONE criterion for good internet content, but it’s so often overlooked. Bottom line: No one gives a flip about what you have to say if it doesn’t do something for them. That’s not selfish, it’s rational human nature. With the barrage of content out there on the internet, we’ve all learned to quickly filter out what isn’t worth our time.
Make your content worth it! Your viewers should get something out of it, and yes, for FREE. How much you give away is up to you. Of course you still have to drive revenue, but your audience is far more likely to convert if you offer them something valuable right up front, and keep offering more so that they keep coming back.
2. Show What you Know
You are an expert at what you do. Prove that! Use your blog to show off your expertise. Your audience is more likely to become customers when they see that you know your stuff and can prove your success. But don’t forget to be humble, too!
3. Build Trust
If your blog does #1 and #2 effectively, this one will come naturally. By giving them valuable content, you let your audience know that they matter to you, and that builds trust. As any small business owner knows, trust is key to retaining customers and keeping reliable revenue.
4. Communicates with your audience
You could have the greatest content in the world, but it does no good if the right people don’t see it. You should understand your target market, know how to reach them, and be familiar with their needs and interests. Blogging, together with social media and other communication, should be a 2-way conversation. Take comments and suggestions, respond to them, and use them to further develop understanding of your customer base.
5. Create Something Shareable
If you’ve met criteria 1-4 while keeping it creative, fun, and humble––congratulations, you’ve created shareable content! Shareable content is, simply put, something that people can share and want to share. You should share your blog on your own social media channels. Your content should make excellent material for keeping your audience informed and engaged, and give opportunity to grow your audience. If people like what they see, they may share it on their own channels as well, and so expand your reach.
6. Get Found Online
Social media is only one way to get found online. There are plenty of other ways that a good blog will also help with, like search engines. Google and others love to see regularly updated, quality content––and that’s exactly what a blog is. Search engines also like to see links to your website elsewhere online, and if you have great content, other people might link to it. That can earn your site more viewers as well as better search engine rankings.
Keep in Mind..
A good blog draws customers in and keeps them coming back, converts new customers, and gets you found online. A bad blog, on the other hand, does exactly the opposite of all those things. If done wrong, your content will turn people off and turn search engines away. To put it bluntly, if you don’t think you can make a decent blog, it’s better not to have one at all. But it’s not as hard as you might think to make a good one!
This Unweary U lesson has been about WHY you should have a blog (a good one!), and lends some insight on how to make it good, but coming soon is another lesson that’s all about HOW to make a really good blog.
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