May 29, 2009
It is no real secret that a well written topical blog can significantly help out your website – so why aren’t you doing it?
The most common reasons I hear for not starting a blog involve a lack of time to write posts, and limited ideas to write about, but taking that extra time to get some useful content out there can do wonders for your search rankings among other things.
An established blog that is updated regularly gets spidered by Google often, and increases the chances of new search rankings considerably. I have seen multiple situations where regularly updated blogs wind up ranking #1 in Google for relevant phrases literally within a couple hours of posting. It usually takes a well established website and blog to make this happen, but there is big potential if you do things the right way.
While blogs work best if updated multiple times per week, even those with a new post every week or two have advantages. Blogs don’t have to be a major undertaking, spending only an hour or so a week on posting can have you seeing results in no time.
There are many advantages to adding a blog to your website. Here are a few.
By boosting your topical content, you increase the value and relevance of your site. The more new stuff you add, the more of an authority you make your site, and this helps to improve your overall search rankings. It can also help you obtain rankings for “long tailed search phrases”.
Long tailed search phrases are those that are less commonly searched, and usually exceed 3 or 4 words in length – they are also very targeted to your product or service. Blogs are great for getting rankings on long tailed search phrases. If you see a long tailed search phrase you want to rank for, use the phrase as the post title (if it makes sense to do so) and write a good, content rich post about it and your ranking potential for this phrase will rise.
By writing blog posts with your target phrases in mind, you can often help improve your overall rankings by increasing the relevance of the site to that search phrase. Consider also linking to other relevant pages within your site from the post.
Blogs are great for increasing traffic. Aside from the added traffic you may see from search ranking improvements, if your blog is interesting and topical, you will get some repeat visitors to your site as readers check back for new posts. If people really like your blog, they will spread the word, resulting in even more visitors. Just think, have you ever emailed or instant messaged a friend with a link to an article you have read? Don’t you want your link to be the one passed around?
By blogging regularly about your industry you will help to establish yourself as an expert. Many of your potential customers will see your blog and notice that you know what you’re talking about and be more likely to utilize your services. By sharing your knowledge it can help to instill trust onto your visitors which can actually result in increased conversions. There are a lot of faceless, anonymous websites out there – an active blog can help people relate to you and trust you.
A good, well written blog can result in free one way links to your site. Sometimes it is as simple as a fan adding your link to their blog roll, and other times it may be RSS working its magic. Try to squeeze in a link or two into your posts and direct them to other internal pages on your website. If anyone then republishes or syndicates your posts on their sites, you will also end up with a relevant back link. (If you would like some other ideas on link building be sure to check out Ways to Increase Link Density & Building Links with Directory Submissions)
A blog is not a magic bullet used to skyrocket your inbound link counts, but it can certainly help.
What Platform To Use
I am a firm believer in the power of WordPress and the seemingly unlimited plug-ins available to help you. That said, just about any blog platform will work. It is probably best to stick with the main stream providers as they tend to have more options available and better support forums in case you get stuck with customization issues. In the end however, any search friendly blog platform will ultimately do the trick.
Blog Post Ideas
If after reading this you are sitting there thinking, “What should I write about?” here are some ideas to help you get going:
- New product launches
- Press releases
- Industry relevant news
- How to’s related to your product or service
- Answers to reader comments
- Posts revolving around relevant long tailed phrases
- In depth product descriptions or tutorials
- Company history or interesting stories
- Reviews of related products, services or online tools
Blogs are relevant for pretty much all industries, and they don’t have to take a lot of your time. A little creativity can help you come up with ideas for posts, just try to think outside the proverbial box.
If you’ve been putting off the blogging idea for some time, consider getting started now. There is much to gain and very little to lose.
Scott Van Achte is the Senior SEO at StepForth Web Marketing Inc.; based in Victoria, BC, Canada and founded in 1997. You can read more of Scott’s articles and those of the veteran StepForth team at http://news.stepforth.com or contact us at http://www.stepforth.com