It should go without saying that any business today needs a web presence. There is a whole generation of adults who grew up using the Internet, and if they can’t go to your website to check you out, learn about you, and reassure themselves of your legitimacy, you may as well not exist. You can probably accept this, so you’re willing enough to build a basic website—or hire someone to do it for you. But then you hear you’re expected to have a blog, too. A blog! Doesn’t that just seem like a bit much? An excessive drain on your time and energy? And who in the world would care to read a blog about your type of business, anyway?
The truth is, there are compelling reasons why your business should have a blog, and none of them pertain to anyone sitting around thinking, “Gee, I wonder what’s new at Bob’s Plumbing these days?” That’s actually the opposite of how a blog works best for business. It’s true that your loyal customers could visit your site and see what’s new with you or perhaps learn something from the valuable information you post, but entertaining your loyal customers is not the objective of a business blog. Your goal is to attract new customers, and SEO is the way to do it.
“What’s SEO?” you may be asking. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s a method of making sure that when a potential customer goes to their computer and types in a search term pertaining to whatever they are looking for, they will just happen to find useful information from you. This accomplishes two things at once. First, you gain their goodwill because you were kind enough to publish information that is helpful to them. Second, you establish yourself in the customer’s mind as a local expert, making it more likely that if they should decide to move forward, they will contact you instead of your competitor. (You could learn to do this yourself if you chose to, but if your priorities are elsewhere, writers and SEO experts are not difficult or expensive to hire.)
For blog posts to be “SEO-friendly,” they cannot be just advertisements for your business, but must contain information that is generally useful. So, for instance, if you are the proprietor of Bob’s Plumbing, your blog might contain posts such as, “How to Unclog a Drain,” or “How to Keep Your Septic System in Top Shape.” Think about it. Nobody Googles “how to unclog a drain” unless their drain is clogged! So you, Bob the Plumber, can post a helpful article telling them what to try. Don’t worry that you’re going to lose customers this way; if you didn’t tell them how to unclog their drain, a million other articles would, so you’re not giving away any big secrets. But the benefit to you comes when the do-it-yourself method doesn’t work, so they call you because they are now familiar with your company’s name. You can also benefit when your tip does work, and the customer tucks your name into their memory as a local plumber who knows what he’s talking about. Not only might they call you for their own needs in the future, but there’s no limit to how many friends they might tell.
Another reason why your business needs a blog is that a frequently-updated blog is a way of demonstrating that your business is alive and on top of things. Have you ever visited a website where the content was obviously outdated? The first thing you wonder is whether the business is even operating anymore. A blog is a way to show that you are still doing what you do. And if you can convince your blog visitors to “like” you and link your business to their social media accounts, you now have a built-in way of putting your name in front of them and all their friends every so often. Nobody cares to look at a static website again and again, but a useful, interesting, living blog can exponentially increase the number of people who know your business exists, and who just might think of you next time they need someone in your field.
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