Almost every business has a blog these days. Marketing websites rave about how important it is to consistently engage your readers through blogging. There’s no doubt that blogs provide value and should be a priority for most businesses, especially internet-based businesses. However, it’s not necessary for EVERY business to have its own blog right away. In this article, I’ll attempt to answer the question many business owners have asked: “Do I need to have a blog?”
Where Did the Term ‘blog’ Come From?
It’s generally recognized that the first blog was created in 1994, though it wasn’t called a “blog” at that time. Many of the early bloggers started their blog as a personal creative outlet or online journal. Not as a way to make money or a career. In 1997, the term “weblog” was coined, and in 1999 it was truncated to the term ‘blog’. Then Blogger released the first popular free blog creation service.
The early 2000s were a period of rapid growth in blogging. In 2003, WordPress was released and many bloggers switched over from other web platforms. If you’re interested in learning more about the History of WordPress, the most popular web platform in the world, check my article here.
Fast forward 25 years later and blogs have become a common part of our culture. Many people read blogs on a daily basis. There are blogs on nearly every topic of interest – the news, politics, business, sports, entertainment, art, and more.
But do you need one for YOUR business?
Why You Should Have a Blog
Blogs Provide SEO Value
There’s no question that Google loves fresh, original content. Blogs provide your website with an easy way to create new content on a frequent basis. Every time you create a new blog post on your site, you’re creating another page that will be indexed by Google. This means one more opportunity to show up in Google and drive free traffic.
Blogs Drive Traffic to Your Site
When blog posts are written on popular topics, they can drive a lot of traffic back to your website. The additional traffic, even to a single page, can improve your overall search engine rankings and help more people find you online.
For example, a local San Diego hair salon owner had one of her staff members write a blog post on “The Difference Between Ombre and Balayage.” Since this was a popular topic at the time, the post quickly found itself at the top of the search results. As a result, that SINGLE BLOG POST brought massive amounts of traffic to the site. The hair salon’s website moved from the third page to the first page of the Google search results.
Blogs Position You as an Expert
Blogs provide an easy platform where you can share your expertise and provide immense value for your audience. If your website visitors are wondering if you actually know what you’re talking about, all they have to do is visit your blog to find multiple posts on the topic in question.
With all these great reasons to have a blog on your site, why would you possibly not want one? Believe it or not, blogging isn’t necessary for everyone. The truth is, there ARE reasons why it isn’t necessarily a good idea to start a blog for your business right now.
When You Should NOT Have a Blog
You’re just getting started with your website.
Many small businesses are owned and operated by a single person, or a small team. In those situations, the owners and staff are often overloaded with work and can’t take on the task of blogging. Creating a high-quality blog with well-written posts, the kind that will attract your ideal client, takes time. And you and your current team may not have the time to take on the task.
Ideally, this would mean that you would hire someone specifically for the task of writing. Unfortunately, this may require a budget that you just don’t have.
While a blog is important, so is maintaining your online reputation. You don’t want to waste time, or your staff’s time, creating poor quality content. Not to mention that a blog with low-quality articles can turn away just as many potential customers as well written articles can bring to your door.
If you’ve just launched your website for the first time, then you may want to just focus on completing that and come back later to implement a blog for your business.
You’re a Local Business and Your Audience is in a Small Radius Around You
While blogs aren’t always a bad strategy for a small local business, they aren’t always the most effective strategy. For example, a local pizza parlor could have a blog on their site where they talk about events happening in the area to drive local traffic to their site and, ideally, encourage more online orders. Yes, it could work. But is it the BEST strategy for reaching customers in a very small radius around your business?
Again, blogging can work for a local business, but it may be difficult to get your blog content in front of your very niche local audience…at least without a significant investment in advertising. Whether it’s worth trying is something you need to decide before you begin the blog.
Final Thoughts on Blogging
Blogging is a great strategy for many businesses. It can drive free traffic, improve SEO, and bring in new potential customers to your business. It also helps you build a relationship with your audience.
However, keep in mind that just because it’s a great strategy, it may not be right for your business right now. Before you begin your blog, make sure you have the resources in place to produce high-quality content that you want to represent your business online. And once you start, you just might find blogging addictive!
If you’re just getting started with building a website, go here to learn about the next Website Creation Workshop.
I am a retired Professor of Law – still hungry to keep my mind aware and very much focused on the dimension of th invisible. The things in our elder years that we can not see – not physical.
A blog is “out of my generation”. It appears to be physical but very much inner invisible.
Y.m not good at internet -ing – “out of my generation”. I look forward to getting your free publication. God Bless, Al
telling stories is timeless! And that’s all a blog is, a story telling platform. I think it IS in your generation!
Just want you to know the word “launching” should be “launched” in graf 4 of “Instances you do NOT need a blog” (former editor! : ) Excellent info, by the way….thanks!
Fixed that typo. thanks!
I have a blog. The link is given on my website, but do I need to have it _there_ to somehow to gain the SEO benefits? I’m sure my name benefits in my field, but am not sure it’s benefiting my website. (I also give the link to my website on my blog.) The way my website works, I’d have to enter it weekly on that software to have the blog actually appear there.
You gain SEO benefits once the search engines can find you
P.S. the logo that appears is for the online WordPress library catalog I maintain for my church. My website is not WordPress created and I’ve no intention of going that way. If you like I’ve a different jpg related to my storytelling work.
You’ve shared several excellent points Christina!
Because let’s face it, a small business owner/service provider, like
a local carpenter and or a plumber, is not going to
be investing any of their free time, trying to figure out
how to get a blog post ranked on Google or any of the other
major search engines!
Instead, they will be devoting that time, trying to find new
first time customers, or selling additional services to current ones.
And I also love and totally agree with your excellent example of a local
pizza shop owner.
Does it really make sense for them, or someone else in
their organization, trying to use blogging, as a viable
strategy, for consistently attracting brand new first time
Your points are very well taken, and thanks for sharing them!
Yes, it’s an important point to think about. Timing is everything in business
Thanks to you Christina… and to your Website Creation Workshop!
I had blogged before taking your course… however since ‘graduating’ with WP I find it more fun and more professional than what I had achieved earlier.
Yes. The more you blog, the more fun it is!
Christina, you’ve left out the biggest benefit of having a blog for small businesses, in my opinion.
In a blog, a business owner can expand upon a carefully-crafted eye- and imagination-catching topic (e.g. “Should you have a blog?”) in a way that would be awkward in the traffic-driving social media, where the 5 words of your question are perfect. Writing a blog post such as you have done here, then utilizing the headline on one’s Facebook, Twitter, etc. will gain traffic to the blog, then hopefully the site and the product/service the business provides. Wisely creating and using a graphic on the subject integral to that post on Pinterest, Instagram, and so on… turns a well-crafted “chat” with customers into a traffic-driver.
What’s more, blog posts live a much longer life than a social media mention does, and can be used over and over on social media to continue to attract attention.
Using your local pizza example: “What your choice of pizza toppings says about your sex life”… “The secret behind black olives you won’t want to miss!”… “Thick or thin, what’s the calorie difference?” are blog posts that could be crafted once, social-media’d constantly, bringing that pizza place to first place on Google!
very good point about blog posts having a longer shelf life than social media posts 🙂
I’m a professional visual artist and have started an inspirational art/nature WP.com blog that I was going to try and migrate to a new self hosted WP.org site, (i have not built the new site yet – that’s why I’m reading your mail) but now I wonder if I should use the new WP.org “blog” as a “newsletter” menu item and then link to the old blog. Can I have two blogs on one site, or a newsletter and a blog on a WP.org site? Can I migrate from WP.com to a self hosted WP.org site? Not sure what to do!
You should take my Website Creation Workshop program, as it’s designed for people like you. I recommend the self hosted WP.org all the way! You can have multiple categories for your blogs, and then link to the categories, so it looks like you have 2 blogs, but actually it’s one big blog with lots of different categories
Thank you Christina and Your excellent Website Creation Workshop.
In addition to the comments and great points you made, I have my clients use their blog as part of their marketing campaign. I call it “priming the pump ” to position a point of view.
In addition, blogs can be re-purposed in many ways to extend the reach of the blogger. Five blog posts is a free white paper. 20 become an eBook or a SlideShare presentation.
“priming the pump” is an excellent way to use a blog. And yes, many people have taken their blog posts and turned them into free report, or published books!
I am currently just learning about SEO & can give our followers a few ideas.
Link building is a fundamental part of SEO & an ongoing part of marketing your website.
Unless you have an enormously powerful brand, a significantly sized following & can draw links without effort, you will struggle without it.
They are the mechanism & main determinants of ranking behavior.
The strength of a site’s inbound links determines how frequently & how deeply a site is crawled.
So putting a link worthy content article on your blog is a good start. What’s even better is getting it on an authority site in your industry. Who will then link it back to yours with better ranking?
Always make your articles news worthy so the news feeds might pick up on it.
Yes, having link worthy articles is very important. But not always so easy to ask people to link to you. But everyone has a better chance if you write articles that people WANT to link to! Thanks for your input.