The Power of the Blog

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In today’s social media-driven world where some form of interaction with customers is expected online, blogs are becoming an increasingly popular marketing tool for businesses.

If your company has website without a blog, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to reach out to potential customers and at the same time increase traffic to your site. To be blunt about it, a website that doesn’t feature new and timely content is essentially an online brochure.

If you think about what happens when visitors come to website, they can view some information about you and your services and perhaps read a few token testimonials, but there’s not much to set you apart or convince a potential client to take action.

Now think about what happens when visitors view your site and it has a blog. The basics are still there, but when they see your Blog, they discover up to date, informative and relevant information. They also gain a better understanding of what you’re about and who you are. They can post comments and immediately engage with you. No yawns here, just a follow-up phone call to schedule a meeting with you!

Why Blogs Rule Online

I firmly believe that every business needs a blog. Not only does blogging provide a way to engage your site visitors, it also brings more traffic to your website. Google likes blogs because content is updated frequently. While there are millions of websites that remain unchanged each day, blogs offer up fresh new information—and Google recognizes that by giving that content higher placement when users search for related topics. In fact, blogging is the most natural way to optimize your site for search engines.

Also, each new blog post you publish creates another way for prospects to find you. For example, let’s say you own an interior decorating firm and you write a post about the best places to buy art in the city where you live.

Guess what is likely to happen when someone searches for “where to buy art in ”? You guessed it—if you’re blogging on a regular basis, there’s a good chance that Google is going to serve up your post in the search results.

Getting Started with a Blog

If your site doesn’t yet have a blog, start by talking with your website designer or web hosting provider to see if there’s an easy way to install a blog on your existing site. Other options include WordPress.org, TypePad.com, or Blogger.com. Keep in mind that if you set up your blog under a different domain your main website won’t benefit from the added traffic. Ideally your blog should be hosted on your current domain.

Hosting a blog doesn’t need to be a major undertaking, but it does require some planning. You will want to offer interesting content on a consistent basis, ideally at least two to three times per week. That content should be of interest to your target audience and make them want to come back for more. Consider providing helpful tips, industry research, before and after photos, video demonstrations, client success stories, and how-to guides. Your blog should also reflect the culture of your company and should be infused with personality.

When you share great blog content, site visitors will notice. They will be able to post comments, which opens up an important two-way conversation where you have the chance to carry on dialog and even establish a rapport.

Blogging should also be at the heart of your social media strategy. Each time you publish a new post, share the title and a link to the post with your social networks. This drives traffic back to your site and creates a snowball effect as readers then share your content with their social networks. As you share more content on a regular basis, you will inevitably watch your website traffic numbers increase as a result.