This article is part of Blogging for Business, a series on making blogging work for your web project.full course
- Keep an Active Blog: The WordPress Content Strategy
- Why You Should Let Your Personality Shine
- Five Tips for Making your Content More Socially Shareable
WordPress was designed as a blogging platform—it makes it easy for just about anyone to blog. That leaves the question: why would a business owner keep a blog?
In fact, almost nobody feels like they have time to blog. This piece is about standard-length for a good, thorough blog entry, and it’s taken me two hours of apparently unpaid work in the middle of my workday. And I’m a web developer! This type of thing is my job—how much more impractical if I was a psychiatrist, or a bike mechanic. (The other two things I majored in; the school has since folded.)
The truth, though, is that keeping regularly updated, high-quality content on your site does make business sense. In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do to make your site a consistent source of sales, new clients, or whatever your goal.
There are two major, closely related, reasons to keep fresh blog content on your website:
1. To rank in search.
Let’s say you’re a cabinetmaker. On one level, it might make a lot of sense for your website simply to be a glorified Yellow Pages ad, with your phone number, a bit of static content, and “Call Today!”
However, who’s going to visit that site? Because it doesn’t really say anything, people are unlikely to link to it, which is the major thing that would help it show up in search results. As a result, it may never rank highly enough in searches for “Boston cabinetmaker” to be an asset to your business.
However, if your site has content that people want to read and share, it should start to climb in the search rankings. This means that someone doing a Google search for “Boston cabinetmaker” is more likely to find your site, and your phone number, than if your site just listed the number alone. (Note: To receive this benefit, you’ll want an on-site blog, meaning one at the same URL as your website itself!)
Furthermore, search engines directly reward new content. To a search engine, regularly updated content means someone’s paying attention to a site—and that’s the kind of content they want to be serving to their users. As a result, there are specific SEO benefits for having fresh content on your site.
Note that this does not mean you should be changing the content of every page on your site (say, changing your “Contact Us” page for its own sake). New content should go where that makes sense, which is in a blog, as well as in updated product descriptions, new sections of the site, and so on.
2. To connect with customers and potential customers.
When you give clients content they want, they’ll value your expertise, and may hire you or recommend you to their friends. This is called content marketing. It really isn’t different from the SEO point above (they’re very intimately linked, since what people want to read is what search engines want to promote), but the intent is different. The intent of content marketing is to grow your business by really connecting with potential users of your service, rather than simply floating to the top of search rankings to promote a phone number or a “Buy Now” button.
Content marketing takes good content! And the more good content you have, the better. Let’s say you have a site that lists cookie recipes. The more recipes it lists, the more hooks your site has for potential users. Each recipe you post may attract a different segment of people. In fact, if you’re well-attuned to your market, your posts may target a very specific niche of people—for example, people looking for oatmeal cookies with orange juice as an egg substitute (a personal favorite; details if you like)—which can be great for your business, since those people have a very defined need and may see you as an authority in the area.
If, on the other hand, you’ve only got two recipes on your site—say, chocolate chip and fudge chocolate chip—you’ve only got those two pieces of content to attract people. Moreover, your chocolate cookie recipe might never get seen because it’s competing with Toll House and a thousand others, while your orange juice oatmeal cookie recipe might be the top result for “eggless oatmeal cookie.” (This is the SEO side of why it’s good to find a niche.)
In sum, it’s worth having a lot of good and varied content out there; you never know who you might attract, and what reader niches might turn out profitable for your business.
Finding the time
All this is good, but when do we actually get around to creating content, and what do we create? Even after all this inspiration, we’re still busy.
Stay tuned for next time! We’ll be delving into content creation strategies. In the meantime, why not just dive in and see what happens? You might really like the results.
And if you would like to get started on a focused content marketing campaign, but aren’t sure where to start, please contact us; we’d be more than happy to help you think through how fresh content can help your site.
Best of luck!