I’ve always been a bit reluctant to have a blog. This isn’t the first site I’ve ever had with a blog. Over the years I’ve probably had half a dozen sites in personal or professional forms with a blog.
There’s something very personal about a blog, even on a business site. Everything I write on here comes from me and it’s subject to scrutiny and from anyone who reads it and that can definitely affect my business for better or for worse. If I get too casual, readers may think I don’t take my business seriously. If I’m too stiff, readers may think I’m too disconnected from them. Of course, the truth is somewhere in the middle. I take my business very seriously but I’m pretty casual about it. I’ve never wanted to be that guy that was all business all the time, too afraid to joke around and have fun with his clients.
Of course, blogs do have a pretty major purpose when it comes to web sites and that’s in improving traffic. On the whole most web sites are pretty static. We have a set list of content we want to present to our clients. This is what we do, this is how we do it, this is what we charge, this is how you contact us. You get the idea. A blog opens up a dialog. A way for you to update your site with more regular content to let your clients know what you’re doing; to be more personal. A comments section can allow your clients to in turn reply and participate in the conversation. It gives people a reason to come back to your web site once they’ve got the information that they originally came for. This also gives Google and other search engines a reason to check your site out more often and the changing content will increase your ranking on the search engine results as well.
Nowadays though this happens more and more on social media than it does on your own web site. Social media is very important too. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn. All these sites give you ways to keep in touch with your clients that never used to be possible. Unfortunately, it’s also getting harder and more expensive to keep in touch using these sites. Facebook especially tends to lock potential views away behind paid ‘promoted posts’. Without which, usually less than 10% of your followers will ever see your posts.
There are of course ways you can improve how many people see your posts on social media without paying for it. You can share your business posts from your personal social media accounts and encourage your followers to do the same, but the best thing to do is to start a conversation. They call it ‘organic growth’ but what it means is the more people that like and comment on your posts, the more people are going to see it.
There are of course other advantages to a blog over social media. Social media tends to be pretty limited in length. Twitter especially with it’s 140 character limit. We often also want to be consistent with what we post to different social media so that limitation on Twitter can spill over to other sites. Even the posts that do make it to people’s walls can get lost in a sea of other content. If people are coming to your site, they are coming for your content. There are disadvantages too. We need to be pretty consistent with our posts. Perhaps not as Facebook or Twitter where it’s recommended that you post several times per day, but you should be updating your site at least once a week with new content. How many times have you been to a site and seen ‘Last Updated: Dec 2003 – Happy Holidays from all of the Staff at AwesomeCorp’? This doesn’t look good for the company. It shows that they clearly don’t care enough to update their own web site. It also means that people actually have to go out of their way to come to your site to check for the new content. The solution of course is cross promotion. New content on your web site? Post about it everywhere you can. You can easily post a link to a long post like this in under 140 characters. Heck, chances are if you’re reading this, you probably came to it from a link I posted on Facebook or Twitter.
So should you have a blog on your site? Ultimately that’s up to you. If you’re the type of person that would rather converse in 140 characters or less, then no. But if you are willing to update it once every week or so, have something relevant that you want to share with your clients, and aren’t afraid to be a little bit personal, then absolutely. A blog will help increase your site’s traffic but more importantly it will help your client’s get to know you a little bit better.