Jan 05, 2016
Does your website need a blog?
In my previous corporate life, I was a member of a web team that started, but didn’t keep up a blog. (Ironic considering that my job back then was as a web content developer.)
Our small web team managed to update the blog with regular content for several months. But like most teams and companies, our priorities changed. Other tasks superseded blogging.
Our weekly posting schedule fell by the wayside. Publishing posts became increasingly erratic until it finally ceased altogether. The blog languished for a time. But it soon became clear to our readers that we were neglecting it. Comments were the first to slow down, followed by pageviews and visits.
When it was clear to us that the blog was only occupying disk space, it was time to remove it from the website. I doubt anyone noticed.
By no means is this post meant to deter you from implementing your own blog. But this cautionary tale may be more representative of the fate of many blogs.
So before you ask your web designer or developer to include a blog on your website, consider the pros and cons of having—that is, maintaining on a long-term basis—a blog.
Why do you want to blog?
When our team started the blog, we didn’t have a specific, agreed upon goal. At the time, blogging was a big online trend, so it seemed we created a blog to say that we had a blog.
Knowing why you want to blog is key to maintaining one. Much like having a website, you want to have goals for your blog.
Ask yourself what you want your blog to do for you or for your business.
Identifying the purpose of your blog helps motivate you to continue blogging.
Here are just a few good goals and reasons for having a blog:
- You want to establish yourself as an expert. Sharing your expertise with others helps establish your credibility and authority in your field. Blogging can also build trust with potential clients as they come to know you as a reliable resource in your field.
- You want to engage your target audience. A blog is a great communication tool for connecting with your target audience. By allowing comments on your blog, you and your audience can discuss the topics that you choose to write about.
- You want to increase traffic or your search rankings. Producing new content on a regular basis can sometimes help boost your search rankings. Producing quality content that your audience shares certainly helps your search rankings—not to mention increase your website traffic.
- You need content for other channels. Your blog content can serve as fodder for other channels, particularly social media. In turn, your social media channels can help drive traffic to your blog. Blogging may also lead to opportunities for guest blogging, which can expose you to new audiences.
- You want to start content marketing. Blogging is one of the most cost-effective content marketing tools available online.
With so many good reasons to blog, why wouldn’t you?
What’s the downside?
Blogging requires commitment. This is a fact that my previous web team and I didn’t embrace when we launched our blog. We had no plan long-term plan for our blog. Without a plan and a goal, it made it easy to abandon the blog.
Blogging can be time-consuming. Perhaps you’re a writer who can knock out a 500 word post in under 30 minutes. Unfortunately, I’m not that kind of writer.
The process I follow usually involves researching a topic—even one I’m familiar with—taking notes, drafting a blog post, revising and editing the post. In total, it takes me several hours over several days to publish a post.
A blog needs to be updated regularly to grow and retain its readership. How often will you blog? Twice a week? Once a week? Once a month? When will you publish those posts? Every Tuesday and Thursday?
Having a predictable publishing schedule in addition to providing quality content is a key factor to growing your audience. Your readers need to know when to expect new content from you and how often they can expect it.
If you don’t blog regularly or if you update infrequently, visitors may lose interest and drift away.
Whether or not you announce your schedule to your readers is up to you. If accountability will keep you honest, then let it be known when you intend to publish.
It used to be that a blog was a must have for every website, but today, with the number of social media outlets available, you can publish new content through other platforms. However, there are downsides to using social media rather than your own website, which I’ll cover in a separate article.
In the meantime, if you do decide to include a blog on your website, make sure to do the following:
- Define the goal(s) for your blog. On those days when you just don’t feel like blogging, remind yourself why you started your blog in the first place.
- Commit to a regular publishing schedule. Lack of consistency on your part will result in lack of interest on the part of your readers, so be consistent.
- Develop an editorial calendar to track article ideas that provide a few weeks, if not a few months, worth of content. Maintain the calendar and refer to it often.
Your blog can produce results for your business if you take the time to nurture it.