Why Your Small or Medium Business Must Have a Blog
If you are in business and someone has brought up the idea of a business blog, you may have dismissed the idea, thinking “I just have a small business, why should I have a blog? That’s just for the big guys.”
The truth is, you should and it’s not. Here’s why your small or medium business needs to have a blog:
Blogs are about marketing
Even a small or medium business must have a blog. First, however, your perception of a blog may need some fine tuning. You’re not some moody teenager talking about your life and your feelings on the Internet, for goodness sake. You’ll have a business blog, which is quite a different animal. In a business blog you want to try to give readers valuable information – information that’s educational, entertaining or engaging – all with the ultimate goal of getting more customers. A business blog is not all about you, your business, or what you’re selling.
That’s right. It’s. Not. All. About. You.
“Wait a minute,” you’re saying. “I’m writing a blog for my business and it’s not about my business?”
Bingo! Your website is about your business, your products and your services. A blog is a method of bringing potential customers to you so that they want to look at your website. It’s not all about selling; it’s all about marketing. In sales, you want to convert leads to customers; in marketing, you want to get leads. Both are part of the same circle of life, but at opposite points. It’s like a first date: A marketer would lay the foundation for a second date, while a salesperson would propose marriage. Sometimes potential customers just aren’t quite ready for the commitment.
If you’re using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or any other social media channel, a blog is another tool in your marketing toolbox. Plus, a blog will enhance your social media efforts and vice versa. In fact, they go together, like – in the immortal words of Danny Zuko, Sandy Olsson, and company – rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong. They just go together.
Blogs help you get found
As with your social media channels, blogging is simply another way for your business to get found online. Why is it important for your business to be found online? I’m glad you asked! The short answer is: That’s where your customers are. Consider this:
- More than 3 billion people use the Internet worldwide. (Time)
- According to the Pew Reseach Center, more than 80% of Americans who go online say the Internet has made them better informed about products and services today than in the past.
- Eighty-one percent of shoppers conduct research on the Internet before they make a purchase. (MineWhat)
- Sixty percent of shoppers begin by using a search engine on the Internet to find the products they want (MineWhat)
- Sixty-one percent will read product reviews on the Internet before making any purchase. (MineWhat)
So does it help your business if you can be found online? You betcha!
How do you get found?
The biggest way is via search engine – you know, your Googles, your Bings, your Yahoos – but, let’s be honest: chances are it’s going to be Google. Google has 1,100,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors, while Bing and Yahoo each have a little more than one-quarter of that at 350 million and 300 million respectively. Ask weighs in at about 245 million; AOL is at 125 million. Who knew AOL was even still around?
When you search on Google et al., your results appear on a search engine results page or SERP. Now, the higher you are on the SERP, the better chance your business has of being seen by someone looking for what you have to offer. Being on the first page of the SERP is desirable: think about it, how often do you go beyond the first page when you’re on a search engine results page? The second? Third? So you can probably understand why being positioned on page 1 is important. If you don’t look far beyond page 1, others probably don’t either.
Blogs help drive traffic
I know what you’re thinking: Finally. We’re getting to the point! Unfortunately, not quite. Here’s what you need to know:
The vast amount of information on the web is looked at by what is called a “spider,” or “web crawler.” The spider goes over and under and in and out of all the pages on the web and indexes associated words with sites, which are then retrieved when a user types in a keyword on a search engine.
It’s actually a little more complicated than that, but that’s the gist.
So, it stands to reason that the more pages you have, the more stuff the spider finds and indexes – and the better the odds of being found. There’s more to it – like relevance, quality, inbound and outbound links, and SEO – but for our purposes, that about sums it up.
When you publish a blog, it’s like adding a page to your website. And every time you add a page, you create a new opportunity to be indexed, to rank on search engine results pages, and to be found by consumers who want what you’ve got. Bottom line: blogs help drive traffic to your web page.
But wait, there’s more!
- Blogs give you an opportunity to position yourself and/or your staff as authorities in your field. As your authority rises, more people link to your content and the more legitimate links to your content, the better search engines like you, and the higher you’ll rank in SERPs. Google loves quality links and solid authority. It’s all part of the complicated algorithm that determines what ranks where on SERPs.
- Add social sharing buttons and people can share your blog on social media. And then someone will share those shares, and someone will share those Sharing creates an expanded audience for your information. Do you remember the old Faberge Organics ads with Heather Locklear? The shampoo was so good that “I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on…” Social media sharing is like that.
- Blogs give useful information to potential customers. Finding useful information during the awareness and consideration stages entices people to come back for more. It may cause them to look at what you offer and it raises the awareness of your brand. When it comes to decision time, your company is at or near top-of-mind. They may have come to like your brand and people like to do business with people and brands they like.
- Blogs have a long shelf life. Say you’ve written a blog and posted it. You got 10 views the first two days and now it’s over. Or is it? The beauty of blogs is that once they rank on a search engine, they remain discoverable – forever. You may continue to get views – and leads – for weeks and months after you publish. In fact, according to HubSpot, 70% of the traffic each month on their blog comes from old posts.
So, blogs => leads, leads => conversions, conversions => customers. Therefore, blog => customers. That’s why even a small business needs to have a blog. Shouldn’t yours?