How would you feel if a less-qualified competitor consistently ranks on page 1 of Google, while your company ends up on page 5 or 6? If you’re like me, you’d probably think you’re missing out.
Will Starting a Blog Help Grow Your Business?
When I redesigned my website about 18 months ago, my search engine ranking dropped from page 1 to page 3 or 6 depending on the search phrase. However, because I blog on business success topics at least weekly (sometimes more often), I very shortly noticed that I was back on page 1. That’s where you want to be to attract the most business too!
Clearly, starting a blog on your website can help you raise your search engine rankings. It will also help you increase your credibility and communicate more effectively with potential and current clients, staff, colleagues and even your competition.
- If you blog regularly, people who are looking for your services will more easily be able to find you on the Internet, and
- Prospects and clients will appreciate the benefit of your wisdom.
What If You Can’t Write
As you may well know, everyone isn’t a writer. If your writing is not quite up to snuff it could actually harm your business more than help. However, there are plenty of solutions for would-be bloggers who can’t write. Three possible alternatives are included under the next point below.
Outsource Your Blog Content
This suggestion shocks a lot of people. It’s a little-known secret in the world of professional blogging that sometimes bloggers don’t actually write all of their own articles. Make a quick list of all the things you wish potential clients knew before they call your office. Each of those list items could be a potential blog post and it’s unlikely that you’re the only person in the world qualified to write those posts, right? Blogging once each week can increase your Internet search ranking and your credibility when you share helpful information. It doesn’t really matter who writes it.
Here’s a list of three of blog post writing services. I haven’t tried the others, but I’ve happily used BlogMutt for almost a year. They write 4 posts each month for me for $89.00/month. I usually have to do some minor (or major) editing, but they help me keep the ball rolling:
Hire a Good Editor
If you’re planning on writing your own blog posts but your writing is only okay and you have problems with grammar or spelling, consider hiring an editor. Even if you think you don’t have problems in this department, it’s a good idea to hire one. It’s no secret that even the best writers sometimes become blind to their own errors. (Me included.) Editing and writing are two separate skills and there’s no shame in getting a second pair of eyes on your work.
If you want your editor to provide commentary on the quality of the article, make sure you discuss this ahead of time because it’s generally outside the realm of editing to proofread for omitted details or content errors.
You Could Also Start a Video Blog
People consume a lot of video online. Are you more at ease in front of a camera than by the glow of a laptop screen? The important thing to focus on is keeping your videos short, under three minutes is a general rule-of-thumb; under one minute is even better. You can easily learn how to use a video editing software program or hire someone who does, because poorly edited (or non-edited) videos are less likely to be shared or liked.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Track down a list of video bloggers in your field to see how their videos are edited.
- Adding music, special effects and scrolling text credits shouldn’t be your first concern.
- Focus on getting rid of awkward pauses and unnecessary off-topic rants.
- If your rants are off-topic but still interesting, consider turning them into separate videos.
- Include a copy of the text in written form with your video so that the search engines can correctly index your post.
If you’re thinking of getting a blog started to generate more business and increase your credibility, contact us to discuss the details. We can help you make this an easy process.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:
Email Marketing: How to Keep Your Messages Out of Your Customer’s Spam Box
Five Marketing Questions You Need To Ask Yourself
200 of Google’s Website Ranking Factors [Infographic]
Combining Blogging and Social Media into a Truly Effective Strategy
5 Ways You Can Benefit By Using LinkedIn
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook
This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising, graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering, Now what do we do?” We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?
By Chris 24 Jan 2014
Hello I run Blog Hands, I really appriciate you mentioning our service. I couldn’t agree with you more. In my opinion, even though I’m a little bias, a blog is the most important online marketing tool a business can use.
By Dana 27 Jan 2014
Nice read Will, thanks for the share. Blogging, when done properly, can give new brands a big boost in identity and authority, then use that identity and authority to build trust and foster relationships. Blogs are also a great way to generate leads.
By TAPNET.com 27 Jan 2014
Blogging is a great concept here’s why. Unlike a newspaper that gets tossed, a blog post lives forever. With a blog post written to describe what your business can do to help others, eventually someone will land on the article because they need what you have and may call upon you. If its a guest post, as long as you have links in place correctly they could still find you. Guest blogging is getting a lot of negative press for SEO right now, but at the end of the day its 1 more page of content out there that can help you acquire a new client. All other forms of advertising are time bombed, so for this reason I think blogging is an essential form of promotion.
By J S Gilbert 27 Jan 2014
I think that you’ll have a greater potential for getting more business by developing relationships, participating in dialogues – and if blogging, then posting about it in groups and or otherwise using it to participate and offer “value”.
The problem with your blog as I see it is that the average visitor who stumbles across this blog will spend about 10 seconds or so and leave, often with the “intent” to revisit it and spend more time when they are able. Few will. A small number will hit some of the links, bookmark various pages and even perhaps cut and paste things of interest.
I don’t think any will remember Sherwood Group. If I am typical of any visitor, then I must admit that despite my just reading your blog (or scanning it), visiting some of the links and bookmarking them, I have no idea who the Sherwood Group is.
As for ranking on Page 1 of Google, the question is ranking for what? What search term or criteria brings you up on a page 1 search.
4 years ago I blogged about the first digital audio interface for the iPhone and I was #1 in Google searches for phrases such as “iPhone audio interface” and several variants. While I don’t come up close to #1 in those searches anymore, it matters less than a “pimple on a gnats bum”.
I keep pretty strong records and I have a very good idea what percentage of my income is linked to social media, my site, etc. Approximately 19% of my income in 2013 can be linked to my varied internet activity. This has grown from approximately 8% in 2012. (And no, that 19% doesn’t include repeat business that can be attributed to 2012 or what I might consider to be marketing efforts made then or earlier) The interesting thing is that I barely blogged at all in 2013; about 10% of my 2012 blogging, which was down from 2011.
I did however read many blogs, comment and even contact authors directly to start dialogues. This, combined with LinkedIn groups and Facebook are what led to my growth in business income.
It’s also no easy feat to get significant numbers of eyes on your blogs and even harder to get people to subscribe. Or should I say to get people who might “matter” to read and/or subscribe.
Now, if you’re saying that by blogging; paying somebody else $100 a month or so to help create some content, etc. can get me to be on page one in Google for searches on the word “copywriter”, that’s a different story.
By the way, it is a nice piece, worthy of reading, with many good resources. I’m just not so sure that it is as effective as you think in getting you business.
Anybody else have any thoughts?
By KMcCarten 27 Jan 2014
Apparently, I’m a minority voice! I think blogging, for the most part, is a waste of time in terms of getting business.
I do think that writing for an online publication is a good option, a trade journal or website that your best prospects are likely to read.
That and meaningful online participation, I believe, is more productive—and effective.
By Dave Henderson 28 Jan 2014
A blog should help increase business for you, but you need to have more than just a blog, you need to remember to use call-to-action’s on your pages where readers can find out more about your services, download an offer or sign up etc.
If you ensure you’re producing relevant content for your audience regularly and combine this with cta’s and landing pages then you should notice an increase in traffic and leads from your blog.
It’s worth noting that it’s not a quick fix, it should be part of your marketing as a whole.
I’m not affiliated with these guys but I’d recommend reading some articles on Hubspot ( http://www.hubspot.com ), they’re great with inbound marketing and they’ve got some great articles that should help answer your questions and give you some ideas to work with as well as some brilliant resources.
I’ve recently started blogging myself and combined with social sharing and email marketing it’s certainly helping to drive traffic to my site where I have cta’s and landing pages to generate leads from readers, and I’ve made a couple of sales off the back of it so it does work. But like I said you’d need to set up a path for that reader to become a lead etc.
Give it a go for 6 months and measure the performance.
By Varsha 28 Jan 2014
I have seen this for real…a blog that my sister created for her website is getting her a lot of traffic. It is hard work to keep on posting new content, but it works. You need a blog to place content and then advertise that on Facebook and other social media.
By Samantha Williams 28 Jan 2014
Great post! Blogging is an excellent way to lend your expertise to those without. Most businesses write it likes a sales pitch, which won’t do you any good, but sharing content that is Useful x Enjoyable X Inspired is key. That equation is one of my favorite things MarketingProf’s Ann Handley says about innovative content and being successful with your own.
By Jeff 29 Jan 2014
I think one of the strongest things you can do is set some boundaries and ensure the content falls within the chosen boundaries.
When you look at a magazine shelf in a newsagents, each magazine has a specialty. You know roughly what to expect from that magazine in terms of content and also copy style when you choose it.
For me, that should also be the way your blog works. Decide what you can offer that’s maybe a little different, what you have to say that adds to articles you may have picked up on, and add your twist. Setting boundaries also helps with your creativity too.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on it’s effectiveness, both page rank and visits etc.
By Stacy 30 Jan 2014
I started a blog. No new business yet, but it’s only been 30 days. I did get nominated for a Liebster Award. Check it out: http://365daysthankyoucarddesignchallenge.wordpress.com
By Shardul Kapooria 01 Feb 2014
Your suggestion is a little-known secret in the blogging world.
thanks for very good approach
By Adam Dukes 01 Feb 2014
Great piece, Will! You know how I feel about blogging form our discussion the the various LinkedIn groups we are in.
A blog post lives forever. If your website is set up properly (useful content, calls to action, landing pages, etc) your website should be producing leads 24/7/365. It never takes a day off or call in sick.
A blog post can generate a lead tomorrow, next week or next year. Cold calling cannot do that. Neither can direct mail, TV, or radio. A blog is an investment, not an expense.
I have spoke to business owners who say “it doesn’t work” and it’s typically comes down to two things — 1. they tried it for a month or two 2. the content was downright awful.
By Alisa Meredith 05 Feb 2014
Companies that blog get 70% more leads than those that don’t. Hard to argue with that! ( http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33742/12-Revealing-Charts-to-Help-You-Benchmark-Your-Business-Blogging-Performance-NEW-DATA.aspx ) and “, 82% of marketers who blog on a daily basis acquire a customer using their blog” (from their 2013 State of Inbound Marketing report: https://library.hubspot.com/2013-state-of-inbound-marketing)
So many blogs are just a collection of sales messages. Those are not the kind of blogs that convert!
Great ideas on how to get it done when you don’t have the time or talent. I’m glad you mentioned Blogmutt – I was thinking about trying them.
By Dennis Fischman 05 Feb 2014
It’s a mental shift worth making. Blogging is not advertising: it’s creating a reputation that leads people to come to you. http://dennisfischman.com/2013/10/10/targeting-audiences-is-out-engage-your-community/
By Greg Newell 05 Feb 2014
As a proactive tool, blogging is way underutilized. Most people will blog to add content to their site in the hopes that the search engines will pick up on it and favor them in searches. That’s all great stuff and it should be done; not just for SEO but for your visitors as well – so keep it real.
That said, USE YOUR BLOGFEEDs! We program our clients sites with blogging software as the main content management feature. These applied blogging solutions can update client information like products, testimonials, specials and promotions, general information and on and on. When new information is added to the site, it gets published via the content RSS embedded in every blog tool. What that means? Every time the site is updated, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all get posted. On top of that, a newsletter is posted after every x-number of blog posts. You can never assume that your client base is spending time on your site. This is a great way for them to get information about your business. If you know that your blog is reaching your intended audience, your tendency to blog will increase as it’s recognized value increases
By Chris 05 Feb 2014
Blogging = slow but long-term inbound growth strategy. It’s a fundamental and most businesses should be doing it.
Blogging combined with Social Media is a faster, more effective inbound growth strategy.
Blogging + SM + Lead Nurturing – now you have yourself an inbound marketing powerhouse.
We’ve got a free course that goes into all 3, shows you how to speed up those frustratingly slow first few months (and shows you how to get a ton of visitors from Twitter in short order). http://www.getspokal.com/blog <- register here. It's free.
By Amanda 05 Feb 2014
Producing expert-level content on a regular basis will help with SEO and drive traffic to your site.
By Richard Hussey 05 Feb 2014
Here’s a story that should convince you that it’s worth the effort. One of my clients was affected badly by a Penguin update last year. Overnight they lost 70-80% of their organic search traffic on keywords they had ‘owned’ for years. But overall traffic to their site remained constant.
Why? Because shortly before the Penguin update we had started a blogging strategy. The additional traffic compensated for the lost search traffic. Not only that, the traffic is now more qualified and the quality of enquiries has improved.
We started by publishing 3 articles a week which had real depth. They were typically 900 – 1100 words long and were focused closely around the business needs of target customers. We also had a clear understanding of the voice and the consistent messages we wanted to get across. Clearly we would not have achieved the same results if we’d just published any old thing to get a few links.
The page rankings are recovering owing to the content. And if you look at the future and how Google is developing ‘semantic search’ I think that businesses will find it tough if they don’t learn how to become publishers.
By Mary shanley 06 Feb 2014
When we introduced our blog on Call Center best practices it only took about 3 months and we saw our organic traffic increase. Very worth while.
By Brendan MacArthur 07 Feb 2014
Nice work, y’all! When properly set up, every new blog post is a new indexed page on your website (a page to be crawled by Google & other search engines). A blog is an essential SEO tool.
Moreover, a smart business blog strategy can be a huge boost for new business acquisition and is the easiest tool to start getting found for the product and services your business provides. Remember, a first-time visitor to your website is almost always inthe ‘education phase’ of the buyer’s journey. A blog offers desired content, and should funnel potential prospects to even more of the “good stuff” – quality educational resources they desire. Only at this stage, can a business gain the trust needed to sell effectively.
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