There’s a common opinion that your businesses should blog. And that’s true — a lot of them should, but that doesn’t mean you should blog just to blog. Many businesses do the blog thing wrong, and apply it for the wrong reasons. This can create productivity gaps and areas where resources are allocated improperly. Blogging shouldn’t be done just to blog — there should be a clear focus, goals, and actionable metrics applied to it. It shouldn’t be done just because people do it — for the same reasons that Facebook and Twitter accounts shouldn’t be created because you heard “social media’s good”.
Blogging for SEO purposes. Business blogs can help you rank elsewhere in a few fashions — but they have to be used this way to matter. First, if you have a few products that remain pretty static, having a constantly updated blog can be the quality signal that indicates to spiders that they should frequently return to your site, which is always good. Secondly, by using intelligent internal linking practices, you can help improve the crawling process to deep links on your site, and also help indicate some relevancy with internal anchor text.
HOWEVER, if you have a pretty shallow site with only a few product pages, the benefit of this is negligible, and the benefit is really almost none. If you have a domain with pages in the multiple thousands, however, the benefit from this is real — if done properly.
The best benefit from this practice is interweaving the deep, internal linking practice with actually obtaining links — but this part can be difficult, especially for business blogs. You have to create truly great content to do this consistently. I would go as far as to say that blogging that creates real ROI needs to have someone almost dedicated to it full time — if not from one person’s full 40 hours, from the combined effort of a few.
Blogging to show expertise. For service providers, blogging is one of the most critical activities. Even if many leads come from referrals or networking, starting that spark and ensuring expertise can be guaranteed with a strong blog. Many service-based businesses thrive by creating great content revolving around their vertical, content that sets them apart from the crowd. Again, if you simply create throwaway or average content, it’s likely that the ROI you see from blogging would be better invested elsewhere — especially with limited resources.
It shouldn’t surprise you that creating standout content, here, would also obtain you more links — helping you on the SEO side as well.
Blogging to attract traffic. This is best utilized on the software side, because you can talk about one-offs in the industry in an interesting way, and by doing it compellingly, many will end up signing up for your service and hanging around. Similar with service providers, but with likely signups further down the line — and more sporadically, so conversions are low. In E-Commerce, it’s more difficult, and it’s my recommendation that you most likely avoid blogging — because the point of purchase is later down the line, it’s hard to retain users (because there is no real “interest” segment generally in the blog category), and the amount made per customer is almost always incredibly low.
For this reason, I have difficulty citing even one e-commerce blog that utilizes blogging effectively to primp their products. However, these sites sometimes also have incredibly large
The Ultimate Checklist
When we look back at the three points before, you can ultimately boil it down to a checklist of whether or not you should consider blogging for your field. You don’t have to hit every point — besides the great content part — but I would suggest only not checking one, if possible. If you hit them all, what are you waiting for? Get to blogging!
- Ability to write unique and revolutionary content
- Business in service/software industry
- Exists on a large website (>1,000 pages)
- Exists in a somewhat social-friendly vertical
- Exists in a large enough vertical to obtain an audience
- Website has a clear SEO strategy/need for SEO
Can you think of any more points that might make a business want to start a blog? Add them in the comments!