The modern “weblog” began its life as a virtual corkboard for topical connections—mostly between coders, tech enthusiasts and geeks in general. Coinciding with the advent of web publishing tools, its evolution took shape quickly. Open Diary launched in 1998, followed by LiveJournal and Blogger in 1999. Until 2009, blogs were primarily utilized for personal publishing, offering commentary on a wide range of topics from sports to politics and everything in between. Today, nearly 30% of all websites run on WordPress—which, at its core, is a blogging platform. Aside from a mildly-interesting history lesson, why is this relevant to you? Glad you asked!
Benefits of a Blog
The modern blog in the age of Web 2.0 has become so much more than a digital journal. Businesses, large and small, are realizing the benefits of utilizing a blog in their marketing game plan. If you already have a website that serves its purpose, why would you take on the extra labor and effort of adding a blog? Let’s have a look at some of the many benefits…
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is perhaps the most important (and measurable) benefit of hosting a blog. As a company, your website displays the information necessary to inform, educate and convert visitors into customers. This isn’t always enough for search engines to grasp onto. A blog offers the opportunity to introduce secondary keywords and topics into the repertoire of your domain.
People aren’t always searching for products and services the way you expect them to. Blog posts allow you to expand your reach into more specific search terms with relevant content. The more you discuss a particular topic, the more authority you build in the search engine’s results. We’ve all heard the popular adage Content is King—which is one cliché that will always be true. By limiting your crawl-able content to the static pages of your website, you are missing a tremendous opportunity.
Although search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo don’t divulge the finer details of their results algorithm, it is apparent that they all favor fresh content. There is no better way to accomplish this than by publishing blog posts often.
Any business that puts effort into their social media presence understands the importance of engagement. Likes, clicks, views, and shares are primary objectives across the major social networks. However, those precious actions don’t belong to you. They exist within an entity outside of your control. By allowing comments, reactions and discussion on your blog posts, you are inviting the conversation to your home turf. Now, visitors are engaged with your BRAND—not Facebook or Twitter. In conjunction with the (ever important) social signals mentioned above, audience engagement on your own website will also benefit your SEO tremendously.
Lead Capture & List-Building
Launching a blog creates a whole new dimension of capturing leads and email subscribers. If executed properly, many new organic visitors will arrive on your site via a blog post. With quality content, relevant to your business and industry, it just makes sense for people to engage with any forms attached to your blog. For this reason, your blog becomes somewhat of a landing page library—optimized to attract and capture potential customers.
We discussed building authority briefly above from a search engine perspective. However, conveying expertise on a given topic or field can also increase trust and boost brand association among your visitors. A blog is the ideal place to offer your unique insights and vast knowledge to the world. Blog posts that truly speak to and educate your audience will only help close the customer acquisition loop.
Ways to Use a Blog
Again, the diary-themed origin of blogs has evolved drastically over the past decade. They can now be used in a multitude of ways and serve many purposes. Whether you run a local pizzeria or a global e-commerce store, your blog is a stage and the world is your audience. It’s a flexible yet powerful tool in nearly all of the major CMS platforms. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to refer to your blog section as a “blog.” Many popular sites around the web have had great success in branding their blog as a standalone industry resource—subtly funneling readers to their own products and services. Below are just a few of the seemingly endless functions a blog can serve.
- Company News and Announcements
- Press Release Publication
- Cultural / Industry Insights
- Short and Long Term Promotions
- Case Studies and Use Cases
- Product Tutorials
- Media Archive
- White Papers
- Brand or Customer Stories
We would be hard-pressed to conceive of a business that couldn’t benefit from a blog feature on their website. This is an opportunity to get creative, supplement your cornerstone content, and expand your message. Those who take advantage will only benefit from the fruits of this labor. What makes for a good blog post? Well, that’s a conversation for another day—but remember: content is king and quality rules.