Should My Site Have a Blog?
First, a question for you: does your site deserve a blog? With all the buzz these days, it may seem like a blog is mandatory, but it’s not. By Shawn Hazen
Web site and blogs are different things. Your main site is about marketing, but blogs aren’t. While a blog is another place you can talk about yourself, it should augment the rest of your site with a point of view related to your market or your company culture. If your business experiences or insights will be of genuine interest to people, you should consider a blog.
But if it’s not a marketing tool, what’s the benefit? Let’s look at the two big ones:
First, are the benefits to your brand. Having a forum to demonstrate your expertise and further develop your company’s personality will strengthen your connection with consumers. It can also help you communicate directly with consumers through comments, which will make them feel engaged. It will also keep you on top of what matters to them. And simply having the blog will show that you care about issues that concern your market, and thus, your customers.
Second, blogs have a unique ability to dramatically extend your company’s reach. Useful, interesting, or entertaining information will be endlessly forwarded and linked-to by readers. It’s a new form of word-of-mouth. But there’s another benefit behind the scenes. Google will like you more. Having content that is 1.) relevant and 2.) fresh, is the surest way to bump your standing in search returns. (A little more on that later.) Relevance is key: your blog content has to relate to things people are searching, which has to relate to your business, so that Google recognizes the value of your site to people’s queries. Of course common sense tells you that you shouldn’t be blogging about your dog if you’re running a restaurant. In addition, how fresh the content is—how often you add new material—is crucial, too. Google will check your site less frequently, and downgrade your place on search results, if it finds your content growing stale.
This brings us to probably the single most important consideration in answering the blog question. Can you stay on top of it? Can you blog at least once a week, with something good? That’s the minimum. And it’s a lot harder to commit to than you might think. Try writing an interesting nugget every other day for a month and see how it goes. If it’s no problem, then great. Better still, you’ll have a backlog of several blog entries ready to go!
The last important thing to note, is that blogs are casual. While they can still be well-written, they don’t require the formalities of other writing and generally have a more personal tone. This may not be right for your business—reading off-the-cuff musings from a neurosurgeon may not inspire the necessary credibility and confidence.
So, clearly, blogs can be powerful. But they’re only as good the content that powers them. So, consider a blog if: it’s appropriate for your business, you have something to say, and you have the time and discipline to commit.