Right now, it would be safe to say most businesses are obsessed with social media, namely Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
But while we obsess over what to post, when to post it and why people aren't liking us, we are forgetting other important parts of our marketing strategy. We're putting all our eggs in one basket, and we're setting ourselves up for a business marketing nightmare.
Your website is an absolutely crucial channel within your marketing plan. For many of us, while we fixate on social media, more often than not, it is actually our website that suffers from a lack of attention and time.
After ensuring your site is set up well, it is easy to navigate, and your pages load quickly, one of the most powerful investments you can make to help build your brand, win leads and create ongoing relationships, is to write a blog -- and here's why...
1. A good blog improves search engine results
Research tells us most Australians now find services through search engines (not the Yellow Pages and not social media!), Google being the most prominent.
It also tells us around 90% of searchers click on websites from page one of search results and don't bother to look at other pages.
But what are searchers searching for?
The answer is easy... they are searching for a solution to a problem! They want a product that solves this, a service that solves that, or some information that gives them the guidance they need.
For this reason, for most website pages, best practice is to write your content around one topic only -- to answer or solve one problem.
With this in mind, the more pages you have, the more single topics you can cover.
The more regularly you're adding new pages and topics, the more opportunities searchers have to find you on Google.
In addition, Google likes fresh sites that update regularly, and will reward sites that continuously expand with new content.
A blog is the perfect way to regularly add new content about a range of topics to your website, so it can be found more often by searchers for whom you can solve a problem.
More than 60% of Australians say they will stop considering a business if they can't find it online (2018 Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report), so if you're not giving potential clients as much opportunity as possible to find you, you're not serious about building your business.
2. Blogs give you original content to post on socials
Remember that big focus we all have on building followers, engagement and leads on Facebook? Posting only sales-based content is not the way to do it.
Not surprisingly, Facebook likes you to keep your salesy content in paid ads, not in your profile, which actually should be aimed at building community and relationships.
In fact, if you're guilty of posting only salesly content, Facebook may penalise you and you will find your posts being seen by less and less people.
When you add to the equation that Facebook now only shows your business posts to around 1% of your followers (99% of them never get your posts in their newsfeed); making sure the content in your posts improves rather than hinders reach is important.
A new article each week is the perfect way to offer a value add and become an influencer, post original content, and send Facebook followers back to your website -- it's a win-win-win!
3. Maintaining relationships is best done in pages with personality
Standard information web pages on your site -- for example, 'about us' -- allow you to start telling your story; to emphasise you know a lot about real estate, finance, construction -- your industry -- and the local area. They also give you an introductory opportunity to tell people how approachable and welcoming you are.
But is telling people you know a lot and that you're a caring person really enough to make them believe it's true?
Use blogs to actually exemplify and bring to life what you know. Share your insights and write in a voice and using language that is warm, friendly and personable so people start to get a feel for the kind of character and values you have.
Enable people to strengthen their relationship with you by reading your articles, and keep those all important people between purchases, engaged until they are ready for their next transaction.
4. Your blog is your business heart rate monitor
For many consumers, an empty blog page is not the sign of a healthy business, it's the sign either of a dead/dying business, or one stretched too thin to do things properly.
The first big rule with a blog is if you can't keep it updated, don't do it at all!
Having a blog doesn't mean you need to add a new article every day, but Hubspot tells us the more often you blog and the more quality pages of content your site has, the more visits you achieve and the more leads you receive.
5. Blogs encourage others to link to your site
As mentioned in point one, Google has a number of ways of determining which, of the many thousands of pages on any given topic, should be served as the first result for each search.
One of the ways to not only improve your chances of moving up the ranks, but also increase your visitor numbers, is by having other quality websites link back to your website (backlink).
One of the best ways to get backlinks is to continuously develop new, quality and useful content (articles etc) to give those other sites something to direct their own visitors to for more information, insight or service.
The more inbound links you have from other quality websites, the better your search engine results can become!
Creating optimised content and moving up search engine results to number one position is not like buying an ad -- the results aren't instant. Search engine optimisation is a medium-to-long-term game and doesn't always come with guarantees.
If you are investing in content, measure results in different ways. If you promote the content, share it widely and distribute strategically, you should see an increase in engagement that can lead to more opportunity for sales or success, if your site is set up well to convert visitors in this way.
If it's not set up to convert, engagement should still increase, which is great for brand recall and recognition, and improving your status as an influencer and expert.
In the longer term (months), as your site also builds backlinks and authority, watch to see the articles move up positions in relevant search results.
Beware of companies calling or emailing and promising you a rapid rise to position one on page one. Often, if they come through, it will be for search terms that are easy to rank for because they are not searched very often.
A little bit of logic tells you no one can 100% guarantee this result if you are not already a very strong authority in your space -- they can't know the exact strategy of your competitor or which existing companies might enter your space and change the game.
Beyond all of these points, research has shown that sites with more pages will often get (many!) more leads than sites with less pages, so as well as building relationships and growing your visitors, if your site is set up right, you will also see more conversions from your efforts.
The last, but most important reminder for anyone looking to start their business blog is an absolute essential -- put your blog on your own site!
We see a lot of businesses that have separate blogs on a different Wordpress site or other blogging platform. While these blogs might help you share content, these sites don't help your main website grow or improve -- they simply mean you're splitting your valuable time and money trying to build up two domains.
If you want to start a blog, but you know you won't have time to keep it up-to-date, Write Way Up can help.
Our team of trained, professional writers will work with you to get to know you, understand your voice and personality, and can write regular articles you can post on your website as your own!
Best of all, every article is unique -- web pages that have duplicate content are at a disadvantage and can have lower search engine results, so don't fall into the trap of buying the same old blog posts as every other company in your industry and seeing no real reward. Every blog should be 100% your own! Please, get in touch for a chat to learn more.