When you hear the word “blog”, there are a handful of ideas that may pop into your head. Many business owners think of a blog as a place to chat about their hobbies and interests or even to promote events their business is involved in. This is NOT the type of blog that will help local business grow. The type of blog we’re talking about is an extremely valuable tool used to increase website traffic, increase customers and grow businesses. The type of blog we’re suggesting does the following:
1. A Blog must Educate your Customers
One of the most important things a blog can do for your business is to educate your customers about what you do, how you do it, and allow you to show your knowledge and expertise. Many times potential customers want to research your products and services before buying or calling. Some even try to perform the service themselves and search online how to do it. For example, let’s discuss a fictitious customer named “John” who is having problems with his furnace. Before calling a furnace repair shop to come fix his furnace, John decides he can fix it himself and he does a Google search for, “How to Troubleshoot Furnace Problems”. George, who owns “George’s HVAC” just wrote an informative blog article titled, “How to Troubleshoot Furnace Problems at Home.” George’s blog article was the first article that came up on John’s search result because George’s shop is close to where John lives and because George SEO optimized his blog title and content. John clicks on the link that takes him to George’s website blog where he reads lots of tips and tricks on how to diagnose his furnace. After trying a few of the suggested fixes John decides it’s too much work and requires tools he doesn’t have. He feels confident that George is the right person to call because his article is very informative and George sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. Because George was able to show his expertise and build confidence and trust with John, John calls George’s HVAC to come and fix his furnace. Turns out John’s furnace is beyond repair and George sells John a brand new furnace and air conditioning unit. George was able to make a sale without any high-pressure sales tactics or deep discounts. Many business owners forget, customers get online not only to buy but to do RESEARCH. Providing useful and timely information about your products and services that go beyond short descriptions is key.
2. A Blog must be Optimized for SEO
Another important thing a blog can do for your business is increase your search engine optimization (SEO), but only if it’s set up that way. What this means is that by correctlycreating and running an integrated blog (i.e. a blog that is part of your website), your website will rank higher in the most popular search engines. Because George’s article on troubleshooting furnace repairs was optimized for SEO, George’s article appeared on the first page of the search results. When website content is optimized for SEO Google will index the content the right way and will display the content as a result for a relevant search. Google, and other search engines, favor websites that regularly add new content to their site. Websites that remain the same week after week and year after year fall further and further down the search results. Search engines such as Google like seeing websites that are updated frequently with relevant, unique and high-quality content. Search engines are smart, so once you start a blog, it will run your written content through an algorithm that will decide where your website will rank. The more relevant content or blog topics can be found on your website the better the chance you have of ranking higher than your competition and being found by potential customers looking for your services.
3. A Blog must be Integrated into your Website
Another important aspect of setting up a business blog is to make sure your blog is part of your website. Many business owners think a separate blog using Blogspot or WordPress.org is the only way to go, however, it does close to nothing for your business. In fact blogs on these platforms don’t even get indexed. This is the difference between a blog and an integrated blog. An integrated blog is on your actual website and not in a separate online location. As always, it is important that blogs have correct information, grammar, spelling, and relevant content otherwise it can negatively affect your ranking. With this in mind, it is crucial that your blog be on your actual website so that they are connected and work together to increase your web traffic. Frequent blog posts will work wonders for building credibility and establishing your company as the expert in your field, not to mention driving traffic to your website and making your phone ring with new customers.
An integrated blog can serve many functions and increasing your website’s SEO is only one of them. Blogs can help you stay connected with your customers. They can help you get new customers. They help give your company a voice. They help you stay fresh in the minds of your customers. They provide good social media content. The list goes on and on. Blogs can be an extremely effective tool for your business, so if you haven’t created one, it’s time to start! Blog articles you write now can help you get customers years in the future. One of the best and most cost-effective ways to have a better online presence and better communication with customers and non-customers is an integrated blog. And the perfect time to start is now!