Blogging has been around since the beginning of the internet, but a lot of businesses still aren't doing it. Either they don't understand it, think it's not worth their time, or they don't have the resources to do it themselves.
If you're not blogging by now, you're not just behind the times, you're in danger of extinction. This year, a majority of marketers rated blog content creation as a top priority, according to Hubspot. Why? Blogging offers a ton of benefits to your business that you don't want to miss out on.
1. Drive more organic traffic to your site
Search engine optimization thrives on good content.
In fact, content is one of Google's top ranking factors. Google prefers sites that have a lot of quality information that visitors find useful, rather than sites with minimal content. These "thin" websites add little value to the user, so they don't rank well.
A blog is a fantastic way to include relevant, useful, original and factual information on your website. Every blog post is brand new page filled with keywords and fresh content for search engines to index. It's like getting to put up a new sign for your business with every post. Who wouldn't want that?
Simply put, blog posts = more content = more keywords ranking = more traffic to your website.
2. Establish your brand as an authority in your industry
You want people, as well as Google and other search engines, to be able to identify your brand and recognize you as a leader in your industry. This is why the big businesses and brands usually dominate search results - because they can be identified as an authority.
But even small businesses can use blogs to establish authority. When you are consistently creating content that provides value to your industry, and people share it and mention it, it sends signals to Google that you have content worthy of higher rankings.
Google's whole purpose is to help users to find what they're looking for right away. Become the "go to" resource in your industry by providing the most useful, beneficial content that answers questions people are searching for. The more authority you build, the faster you'll climb the search ranks and get more traffic.
3. Earn trust from prospective consumers and clients
Building brand authority also helps earn trust. Customers want to know who they are getting their products and services from before they buy. Now more than ever, they can easily research and review your business and offerings, before ever contacting you.
If your blog answers questions people are asking, you automatically position yourself as a helpful resource. That means your prospects are a lot more likely to trust you once they enter the sales process, because you've already helped them.
In-depth content also helps build your credibility during the sales process. Prospects who read your blog are much more likely to be educated on your industry, your company and your offering, which makes it easier to have sales conversation and move them toward the sale faster. A prospect who knows and trusts you is much more likely to buy from you than a "cold" prospect.
4. Engage with your visitors and connect with them socially
In today's hyper-connected world, business revolves around relationships and conversation. Customers want to peel back the brand and see the people behind it. They want to know who you are, and what you're all about, not just what you do.
A blog lets you humanize your brand by discussing topics and perspectives that are important to you. You can share your voice and personality and even give your visitors a "behind-the-scenes" look your business and what inspires you.
What's more, your customers can have a dialogue with you by commenting and asking questions on your blog post or reaching out socially to engage with the authors and the company.
You can't do all that on your About Us page.
5. Enhance your social media efforts
Have you ever seen a business Facebook page that's entirely full of promotional pitches that just scream, "Me, Me, Me"? A blog gives you something else to talk about that can help spark are conversation with your followers.
When you create a new article, promote it on all the relevant social networks where your audience hangs out. Typically these include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more, depending on your niche.
You will want to continuously re-share your content on these platforms, but not in a spammy way. Share them a couple times a month, each time with a different message and status. There are tools online that can help you to organize your messages and schedule them out over the next few months.
6. Generate inbound links and mentions
If social media has taught us anything, it's that people love sharing. But they won't share just anything. 94% of people share content because they think it might be useful to other people.
The burden is on you to make sure that your blog is so interesting, helpful or insightful that people want to share it. They may do this through social media, or by linking back to your content. Done right, a great blog can have a huge impact, generating 97% more leads to your website.
But it's not just a matter of, "build it, and they will come." You need to promote your blog to your target audience. If they don't know about it, they can't share it. Reach out to other bloggers or editors in your industry. If your blog mentions another (non-competing) industry influencer, let them know about the article. Chances are, others will find your content useful to their readers and share, mention or link to your content from their site.
7. Rank for more keywords, especially long-tails
The more relevant and unique content that is on your site, the more Google will see what your site is all about. When you create a blog, you naturally build more pages, more content and more keywords that Google will index, which gives you more chances to rank in search.
This is especially true of long-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword is a longer phrase that has a lower search volume, but is much more specific about the search intent.
For example, let's say your company makes custom kitchen cabinets. You're unlikely to rank for a short-tail term like "kitchen cabinets." There's just too much competition from large brands. However, it's much easier for you to write a blog post about the advantages of custom cabinets and rank for a search like, "Are custom kitchen cabinets worth the price?"
As you can see from the chart above, short-tail keywords are very popular, but that also means they have a very high cost (for paid search) and tight competition. Meanwhile, long-tail keywords actually account for about 70% of all search queries. Not only are long-tail terms much easier to rank for, but they also have a higher probability of converting, because they are much more specific.
Bottom line: use your blog to focus on long-tail keywords that will drive more and better traffic to your site.
8. Build your list of active subscribers
Business owners often become frustrated if they aren't seeing immediate results - meaning sales - from their blog. However, blogs are often the best way to build an email list, which can be just as critical in the long run.
When you teach others something in your blog, you become an expert in their minds. When you do this over and over again, you become their "go to" resource. On average it takes about 7 to 8 "touches" before a customer buys something, so you want them to keep coming back to your site for answers.
When your customers are ready to buy, you've already positioned yourself ahead of your competition by being helpful, and you've kept yourself at the top of their mind. This is why subscribers typically convert at a much higher rate than non-subscribers.
9. Drive leads and conversions
Speaking of conversions... just because blogs are great at building email lists doesn't mean they can't help drive leads and conversions too.
After visitors read your blog, you should always nudge them toward where to go next. You can do this by adding calls to action or having internal links that go to your relevant products or service pages.
This also has added SEO value, as the links you get to those blog posts will pass some value through the internal links to your other pages, potentially helping them to rank higher for those keywords.
One important caution: you can't use your blog itself to advertise your company and services, or no one will ever link to it or share it. Other sites see these promotional posts as "advertorials" and won't promote your business for free. But if you create something so helpful to industry that they want their readers to see it, they will link to or share your posts.
10. Address the questions received by sales or customer service
Your sales and customer service team probably gets a lot of the same questions from customers and potential clients. If they are constantly being asked similar questions, then chances are, people are searching those same questions online.
You want to be the authority in your industry, the business that answers those questions and helps people. This helps to increase your brand awareness, trust, and authority, all of which Google looks at when determining the 200+ factors for ranking your website.
Also, when you create helpful posts for common questions, the next time you get asked that questions, you can refer them to the blog post that goes into more detail. This both answers their question and shows that you are the experts in the field.
Ready to get started?
Hopefully at least one of these 10 reasons, if not all of them, will encourage you to start blogging. It may seem different and difficult at first, but the more you do it the better you will get at it. FirstSiteGuide.com has a ton of useful resources to help blogging beginners. In particular, check out this interview about starting a business blog.
Once you're ready to get a blog going for your business, just let us know and we can help you get started!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and completeness.