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When first presented with the question of whether or not to create a blog, most business owners I speak to have a wide range of opinions. Some are upfront about wanting to know the pros and cons. Others aren’t interested in blogs or blogging at all. One thing almost all business owners I speak to have in common is that they don’t fully understand the benefits (and drawbacks) of creating a blog.

Create a blog – the benefits to your business

A quick list of the benefits you can expect from having a blog on your website:

  • Big SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) benefit, or if you prefer – more love from Google. This will result in a SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) boost for your whole domain because Google is constantly hunting for fresh unique content that is updated frequently.
  • An opportunity to showcase who you are and what your business is all about
  • An opportunity to speak to new prospects en mass, without actually having to do a tradeshow or spend 16 hour days on the phone! Remember people buy from people and a blog is a great way to give prospects an insight into the personality(s) behind a company.
  • An opportunity to create conversations with your customers around your service offerings and issues that are important to them
  • An opportunity to create content that goes viral and brings new volumes of non Search Engine traffic to your website.

You might have noticed the one overriding theme to creating a blog is the opportunity it creates for your business. However while opportunity is pretty much always a good thing for business, it is not without its costs.

Which leads me rather neatly, onto:

The pitfalls you MUST avoid should you chose to create a blog…

Being unrealistic with how much “spare” time you (or a member of your staff) have during your week to write blog posts; Naturally, if you don’t put the time into writing the blog posts, then you won’t get most of the benefits mentioned above. The most successful implementations of blogs for companies I’ve witnessed have been where a staff member(s) have been given writing a blog post each week as duty that is part of their job and must be done.

Not taking the time to learn the basics; Understanding the basics about how to create effective blog posts, and having a process for what you do after posting up a new blog post can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of your efforts. Simply copy & pasting press releases from your suppliers; Content you put onto your blog needs to be original. There is nothing unique about a press release that has been sent out to other companies like yours and media outlets all over the world.

Thinking that there is a quick fix way of having a blog; This is a little bit of a re-iteration of the first point. There is an overhead in time and energy in having an effective blog and there are no quick fixes for that.

Not properly integrating and optimising social media with your blog; Integrating social media with your blog so that when you post blog posts, the content is distributed to facebook, twitter, linkedin and any other social networks your company is on can have a hugely beneficial effect on the volume of traffic your website receives. Can you or another member of your staff afford the time it takes to continually create content about your industry? Even if we forget the time it will take, do you have a member of staff who is knowledgeable and who likes to write?

To ensure that your investment in getting the blog set up, customised and optimised is worthwhile, you need to be sure that whoever is tasked with updating the blog will do so (and continue to do so) at regular intervals over an extended period of time. A blog is for life, not just for Christmas! The content you create and add to your company blog needs to be original. Simply taking press releases sent to you announcing new products from your suppliers, and pasting them onto your blog is not enough if you are interested in results.

Don’t despair, you have options!

If you feel the above section has painted a rather gloomy view of what’s required to create and maintain a blog, then don’t despair. Firstly I should point out that you do not need to write five 3000 word blog posts every week. Viperchill – a massively successful blog – only publishes 1 or 2 new posts per month. In Glen’s case however when he does post his articles are usually epic 2000 – 5000 word pieces of content. Other blogs publish one or two 500 word pieces per week. There is no right or wrong, as long as the posts are published on a regular basis.

Secondly, it’s perfectly okay to take the press releases mentioned earlier on and re-write the message in them so the content is in your own voice and is original.

Thirdly, if you know you don’t have the time to put into writing blog posts but you still want the results, the good news is that there are options available to you. For example, depending on the niche your business is in there may be PLR articles you can buy that with a bit of an overhaul and a decent amount of re-wording can be original and useful.

Alternatively you can contract a company like WSM to write and publish blog posts for you. We employ professional writers who research and write completely original posts based on their research. The additional bonus of doing it this way is that our writers are trained in SEO and they create keyword optimised blog posts.

Conclusion

Essentially if you want your company and your website to maximise its potential, then it is my view that to create a blog is a great way for you to do that.

However, as is the case with everything worthwhile in life, maximsing potential and getting the best results from your blog comes with a price tag attached. This price can an investment of money or of time. You will get results either way, but the less you invest – be it time or money – the less beneficial your results will be.

 Has this post influenced you to create a blog? Do you feel a blog could help you connect better with your customers?