One of the first things I tell clients when I revamp their websites is, “You should be blogging on a regular basis.” I’m usually met with the kind of resistance associated with telling someone they should eat more cruciferous vegetables. Sure, they say, I know I should, but it’s not really something I see myself doing. Or even more blatantly, ewww. Gross.
I get it. Most people don’t see themselves as writers. It can be intimidating to think about writing posts or articles that anyone can find on the internet. What if I suck? is a common fear. That comes up for me often, and I’ve been blogging since the beginning of this century.
The other fear is running out of topics to cover. I get that, too. In the past I’ve struggled to pull ideas out of thin air.
The last piece of resistance to blogging I hear a lot is that there’s no time. Most people’s plates are already overloaded. Even sprinkling a tiny bit of blog spice on top will make everything slide right off the edge.
I’m going to do my best to allay your fears about blogging and convince you that it’s an extremely good idea. But first, I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t be blogging.
Maybe You Shouldn’t Be Blogging
I’m contradicting the whole premise of my post, I know. It’s not some kind of clever gimmick, I really mean it. It’s possible you don’t need to be blogging.
My advice about blogging is meant for people who have websites where getting traffic is super important. If you’re not trying to get people to discover your business, advocate for a cause, or get hired, then there’s no real reason to blog unless you just enjoy it. In which case you don’t need me to convince you anyway. Sally forth, my fellow personal blog compatriots.
If you are trying to get more people to visit your site or get on board your cause, then you should keep reading.
What Will Blogging Do For Me, Anyway?
There are a few specific benefits you’ll get from posting regularly on your website:
- You’ll get more traffic
- You’ll get better traffic
- You can show your expertise and help your customers
- Visitors will share your content and spread the word about you
More and Better Traffic
Search engines love fresh content. An active site tends to float to the top of search engine results, while static sites are usually found on the second and third pages. Think about when you do an internet search. How often do you scroll down and click to the next page of results? We’re usually happy with the links we’re shown on the first page. So if you want more visitors, where do you want to be? Probably not page 2.
The other benefit is better traffic. What does that mean? How can you gauge the quality of your site’s traffic?
The best kind of traffic is visitors who have found exactly what they’re looking for when they come to your site. They’ll spend more time clicking around, reading, and engaging with your content. Their tendency will be to contact you to buy, hire you, sign up for your newsletter, or share your content.
Search engines also bump you up in results when people visit your page and stay, versus clicking away after a few seconds.
If you have blog content that speaks to a visitor or helps them in some way (hopefully like this post), they’ll stay longer.
Showing Off Your Smarts
When someone is looking for a service or content about a cause they’re interested in, they want to know that the people behind it are trusted and knowledgeable. A static site can look pretty and professional, but you can go so much further in convincing a visitor that you are an expert. Namely, blogging.
First, blogging shows that there are actual humans behind a website. How many times have you found a website and wondered who’s behind it all? People want to find other people, not just words and graphics. If there’s an about page and some form of blog or article content, visitors will trust you much more than they would without it.
Also, writing about a topic that you know a lot about establishes you as an expert. You don’t have to write a bunch of puffed-up scientific white papers to prove that you know your stuff — just be yourself and share what you know. It’s really that simple.
When you post regular, helpful content on your website, your visitors are likely to share it with others. That means more traffic, more people interested in what you’re offering, and more business. Think of it as free marketing.
A good case study is my old business. I owned a custom screen printing shop where we catered to vegans. It was a very niche market and there weren’t any other vegan screen printers in our area. I started writing posts about eco-friendly printing and how to start a vegan clothing brand. After a year or so, I started to get inquiries from people who had read one of my posts. After a few years of blogging, roughly 70% of our new customers came directly from the blog. Combined with a strong social media presence, I rarely had to go looking for work.
That’s the power of regular, niche-targeted blogging.
How to Start Blogging
Now that I’ve convinced you that you need to be blogging (I hope I did), I’m not going to leave you hanging there, wondering how to do it.
Using WordPress to Host Your Website
First, you need to use a platform for your website that allows for blogging. That might sound like a no-brainer, but not all sites are built for it. The site needs to be built for dynamic, or frequently updated, content. The best solution for this is WordPress. It’s built for blogging and you can also have static pages like a “regular” website. WordPress is free to use, and most web hosts these days will even help you get it up and running.
What Do You Write About?
You can write about anything you want, of course. It’s your site. But if your goal is to get more and better traffic for your cause or business, you should be writing about a subject that directly relates to it. Imagine if, on this site, I wrote about my flower garden or pest control. It might be entertaining for some, but it’s probably not going to get me any new business. However, if I was a florist, those would be perfect topics to blog about.
There’s no hard and fast rule here. If you squeeze in a personal post every now and then, it just helps to show that you’re an actual human and not a robot. Aim for 75% directly-related subject matter and 25% personal stuff. However, you can always sneak some personal stuff in your main topic posts and vice versa.
How Often Should You Post?
Over the years I’ve found that posting once a week or at least twice a month is a good schedule to show the search engine gods that you’re offering fresh content. If all you can manage is once per month, that’s probably okay but try to stick to it. It may comfort you to know that I’ve skipped a month or two at times, because life happens. Don’t beat yourself up over it, just keep going.
If you’re worried you’ll run out of topics, I have a magic solution for you. Instead of brainstorming before you sit down to write, spend a day or two just coming up with topics. You don’t have to write the posts, just the topic idea. I bet with a little thinking about your business and some internet searches, you’ll find post topics for the next several months. By the way, it’s not cheating or plagiarism to write about a topic from a post that already exists on the internet. In fact, it can be good for your SEO ranking, because obviously people are already searching for the subject. Just don’t copy the title exactly or steal the content. Create your own from scratch. Besides, you’ll sleep better at night.
What if You Suck?
I’m not going to lie to you — you might suck at first. But chances are if you’ve ever written a paper for school, a report for work, or a professional email, you’ll probably be just fine. Be yourself and write like you’re speaking directly to the person you’re trying to reach. The more you do it the better you’ll get.
If you are absolutely sure that you suck or you just hate writing, then hire someone to write posts for you. Maybe you have an employee who loves to write and would jump at the chance to handle the blog posts. Make sure you pay them something extra for their time, because even if they love it it’s still hard work. After all, you don’t want to do it, so they’re helping you out of a jam.
Start Blogging Now
Sure, there may be obstacles in front of you at this moment. You may need to revamp your website and get set up for blogging. But you can still start right now. While you’re waiting on your website to be redone, start writing. By the time the site is finished you might already have a few posts ready to upload.
If you need help with WordPress or setting up a blog site, get in touch with me and let’s get you blogging!