From looking at business blogs online, including our own, I’ve found during the first four or five months the blog is full of creative ongoing posts either from the boss himself or whoever was behind the new blog upgrade. Typically that once the newness and novelty has worn off the blog owner/manager’s dedication to timely blog postings begins to slip and soon they become fewer and fewer.
In my view, blogs are not critical for every business, however every business could benefit to some degree by having one – if used correctly.
View your blog as a value-add, not a sales generator.
Too often companies can have this assumption that a blog will generate more sales. This is not always the case as it depends on how your blog is used. For example, if your company sells gardening supplies you could use your blog to talk on topics that potential customers would have, such as what plants grow well near swamps. This will provide the potential consumer an answer as well as direct them to where they can order these types of plants (ideally from you!).
However, if your company does not sell products but mainly services, such as accountant services, then the purpose of generating sales leads will be less considering this is a very geographically based service.
On the other hand, an accountant can use the blog to add value to the website by providing informative data to clients, he/she such as explaining recent tax updates and changes, current tax forms and even instructions for filling out forms properly. This all adds value to the services of this business.
Use the blog to help your page rankings
As less and less people tend to use the actual phone book to lookup up businesses, the benefits of appearing in the top of the search engine results for your company service/product terms is never more important. One of the areas that the search engines look for when running their ever changing algorithms is fresh quality content. The more information a company can put on their website the more engines such as Google or Bing will spider and index those pages. This will help your site look more favorably as a valuable and legitimate source of information for people who search on terms related to the content of your site.
Use a blog to aid internal linking
When incorporating SEO, we normally tend to focus on the benefits of external linking, however, internal linking is just as important.
There are two main reasons:
Search engines spider our sites, and they do this by following hyperlinks. This is why a sitemap is important as it is a clean way of getting the engines to easily spider the content on each of our pages.
Internal linking should be used as a way to reference other related parts of the website. For example, if your company sells a variety of phones, and you have a blog post mentioning the latest upgrade for the Polycom xxxx phone used for SIP Trunking and connectivity, then you can link from that post to the page where you sell the Polycom line of phones. This allows the potential client to easily navigate directly to that page for more information without having to search around the entire site.
Blog postings do not guarantee immediate sales
Recently I was asked by our CFO, to explain the point of a blog for business. I explained the exact points I listed above. I wasn’t sure how he would react as I stood there wishing I could just tell him it will help our bottom line and bring in vast amounts of revenue. After all, CFOs are concerned with the bottom line and everything else – well that’s just not their department.
However I did manage to explain the value of a blog… when used correctly. I’m sure you have had to explain these points as well, and if not – you will.
Blogs which are used as an extension of the overall business site, should be viewed not so much as a sales tool, but an avenue for marketing the company name, products and services. Using blogging as a marketing tool brings awareness to the company brand and the value their products provide their customers.
A business should not put the resources into maintaining a blog unless they understand the point of the blog. Blogs are a supportive arm of a business, yet if it is used improperly it can project a poor image on that business. Blogs are often viewed as a personal journal and it is important for businesses to make certain a professional tone is maintained in each and every post.
With a clear understanding of the overall goal of your company blog, you will find it easier to not only write on topics of interest, but to provide compelling and valuable content as a benefit for both your customer and your SEO techniques.