To blog, or not to blog? Over the years, my team and I have helped more than 150 companies accurately track their advertising campaigns and optimize their presence online in order to get more leads and sales. To say it’s been rewarding would be an understatement. Few things pump our team up as much as using our tools to show a business owner which advertising campaigns are really working (and which should be eliminated) and using our expertise to transform their website from a digital brochure into a virtual sales rep.
Another rewarding aspect to what we’re doing is the fact that we get to be advisors, coaches, and teachers. The web marketing world evolves on an hour by hour basis. Every new day offers something new to learn, track, test, and tweak. Big rewards come to those with the discipline to make data-driven decisions and stay on top of the things that matter. As you might imagine, our typical client doesn’t have time to keep up with it all, and this allows us to add considerable value.
So every day, I arrive at the office to a stack of emails and voicemails with questions from business owners all over the world. Some of the most common questions I get, especially from small and medium sized businesses, are related to blogging.
Why do I need to blog?
Should my blog be integrated into my main website or on a separate domain?
Is blogging worth it?
What’s the point of blogging?
How often should I blog?
What will I get if I start blogging?
If I put my blog on my website, should it be on a sub-domain or in a sub-directory?
The list goes on and on. Instead of trying to tackle all the FAQs we get individually, we’re going to blog about them. If you get questions about your business, competitors, industry, products, or services, and you want to grow your business, you should do exactly the same thing we’re doing.
So, from now on, every Wednesday we’re going to be publishing an FAQ type blog post. If you’ve got questions, send them our way ’cause we’ve got answers!
In this post, I’m going to attempt to put a few of the more common blogging questions I receive to bed, once and for all!
Why You Need A Blog
Let’s start with why you need a blog in the first place. There are dozens of reasons you need a blog, but I’ll give you two. First, Google doesn’t rank websites—Google ranks webpages. When properly optimized, each page of your website represents a unique opportunity to rank for keywords used by your prospective customers.
So, by way of example, if we wanted our website to rank for the phrase top seo company for plumbers, one way we could do this is to write a blog post about this topic. There are a dozen different ways we could approach the topic. One way would be to provide plumbers with a list of what we consider to be the key factors they should consider when shopping for a new SEO firm.
The second reason you need a blog, somewhat related to the first reason, is that it gives you a catchall content area. What’s a catchall content area? Exactly what it sounds like—a place where you can write about all sorts of different, not necessarily related, subjects.
If you add random pages to other sections of your website, you risk confusing your visitors and creating a fluster-cluck of a site. Do this and chances are good that you’ll end up with an abysmal visit-to-lead conversion rate. That is exactly what you DON’T want.
Think of your website as having two parts that look something like this:
The blue boxes in the screenshot above represent the “main part” of your website—your homepage, about page, service pages, etc. This part of your website should function like a highly efficient and optimized sales funnel. It should convert visitors into leads.
The orange boxes in the screenshot represent sections of your website designed to function like hooks or magnets. A blog is a good example of this type of section. The goal of each individual blog post, represented with an individual orange rectangle, is to rank for a set of related keyword phrases, attract the attention of a searcher, engage prospective customers, and get them into section 1 where some percentage of them will convert.
Great blogs that jump from topic to topic offer all sorts of benefits to business owners and readers alike. Check out Jans.com’s blog, an outdoor retailer in Park City, Utah. The subject of Jans’ last three blog posts ranged from joys of fly fishing on the Madison River to a charitable relay race to raise money for Park City schools. Switching topics allows Jans to optimize their website for a wide variety of target keywords, introducing their existing customers to new sports and experiences, and give a little tug on their heart strings at the same time.
Integrated Blogs VS. External Blogs
If you’re given the choice between creating a blog on your main website or keeping your blog on a separate domain, in all but a few special cases, I’d recommend you integrate your blog into your main website. If you’re given the option of hosting your blog in a sub-directory of your website (ex. www.bluecorona.com/blog) vs. a sub-domain (blog.bluecorona.com), I would recommend you put your blog in the sub-directory. In my experience, and for whatever reason, blogs on sub-domains seem to be harder to get to rank (this is probably because a blog on a sub-domain is treated like a blog on a separate website whereas a blog in a sub-directory benefits from the overall authority of the domain it’s on).
An optimized external blog is really no different than having a separate website. There’s nothing wrong with having multiple websites. Sometimes it can be highly beneficial to have multiple websites, but only execute this strategy if a) the numbers support the effort required and b) you have the resources to also maintain a highly active blog on your main website.
The Ideal Blogging Frequency
How often you blog depends on your goals. Generally speaking, the more frequently you blog, the better. Again, each blog post is an opportunity to rank for a set of related keywords. If you haven’t read “The Long Tail,” read it. What blogging is great for is ranking for long tail keywords. My recommendation is that you target between 5-10 long tail keywords with each blog post you write. If you fail, you might only rank for 2-3 long tail keywords. If you write a kick ass blog post, you might rank for 10+ long tail keywords.
Long tail keywords are very specific keyword phrases that, individually, don’t receive many searches. But, when you group related long tail keywords together, and you consider the volume of searches over an extended period of time, you get a pretty massive number—often far greater than the search volume you would get ranking for a single broad keyword phrase.
Take a look at these screenshots:
Can you guess where this client took our advice to increase their blogging frequency (it’s worth noting that we work with them to create their content strategy and we write their blog posts)?
What You’ll Get from Blogging and Why It’s Worth It
If you’re looking for fast, guaranteed, and (relatively) predictable marketing results, stick with direct response strategies like cold calling, direct mail, and pay per click. These strategies may be costly—and they have no residual value once you stop paying for them—but they provide all of the aforementioned. Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme or a way to get leads tomorrow. Blogging is a way to brand your company as an authority in your industry and to build a reliable, low-cost, long-term lead and sales channel. Think of your blogging efforts like the effort of getting a large fly wheel moving. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to get the wheel spinning, but once you get it up to speed it doesn’t take much to maintain the momentum.
For companies that commit to blogging, it is almost always one of their top traffic and lead sources and the cost is peanuts. The best part of a blog is that old blog posts will generate visits to your website and leads while you sleep. How many other marketing strategies can offer this? Not many.
So start blogging and blog your ass off.
Your competitors are doing it and if they’re not, you’ve got a chance to get a head start. If you’d like help adding a blog to your website, need help creating a blogging strategy, or flat out want someone to blog for you, contact us today! Nothing gets us as amped up as helping businesses grow.
About The Author: Ben Landers is the President and CEO of Blue Corona, a data-driven, inbound internet marketing company. Submit an inquiry to book Ben to speak at your next conference or event.
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