Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those who don’t..

Before I even get started there’s very little point in my waxing lyrical about business blogging if we’re not all clear on just what that means.  So before I cover the benefits lets first clarify what it actually is:

Business blogging is a marketing tactic that utilises blogging to gain more online visibility for your business. However that in turn raises two further questions:

What is “blogging,” though? I still don’t know what blogging is and what do you mean by “online visibility”?

Blogging is the act of creating short-form content in the form of a “blog post,” which is posted to your website’s “blog page”. In fact you are currently reading one of my blog posts on my blog page.

It’s also important to note that when you’re writing a business blog that you ensure your posts are about a particular subject matter related to your business. For instance we provide a website development service which incorporates blogging functionality. So here we are blogging about blogging.  So you won’t find any blogs on our website about golf, fishing or cooking.

Moving on to the second question, online visibility refers to being found and seen on the internet. This could mean your business pops up a lot in search engines, on social media, on other people’s blogs as a guest writer, etc. Business blogging is one way to help get your business out in front of people looking for your products or services on the internet.

Hopefully that’s clarified what business blogging is and we can now address how it can help your business.

It helps drive traffic to your website.

We all want more visitors to our website but how will people actually find our website?

Well they could type your name into a search engine, but to do so they must already know who you are.  That’s an audience you already have so it doesn’t drive more traffic to your website.

You could pay for traffic by purchasing an email list, bombarding them with mails and hope some people take up the offer to click through to your site. Please don’t do this! It’s annoying to the recipient, time consuming, expensive, yields little success, and most importantly of all is illegal.

You could pay for traffic by placing paid search ads, which isn’t illegal, but it can be quite expensive and once you stop paying the traffic also stops coming to your website.  Interestingly there is a growing trend amongst surfers that paid for ads are being seen as “brash and flash”.   This is where companies are paying to be top of the search pile and in your face but their sites are often laden with garish images and further ads making the content anything but useful.  Many people increasingly feel that organic search results which rate highly due to feedback, visitor numbers and fresh content are more trustworthy.

So just how can we drive traffic to our sites?  Good SEO sure helps but so does blogging, social media, and search engines.

Think about how many pages there are on your website and how often you actually update them.  Probably not many pages or many updates.  Unless you move around a lot your contact details aren’t going to change that often and there’s only so much you can say about yourself.

Blogging can address both of these problems.

Every time you write and publish a blog post you create a new index page on your website. It informs search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask that your website is active and therefore worth frequently checking to see what is changing so it can be rated and passed on to an inquisitive user base.  So every new indexed page increases your sites content to be highlighted by search engines, thus driving that all important traffic back to your website through organic search.

Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you create new content people can share it via social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  This in turn helps expose your business to a new audience.

So, the first benefit of blogging? It helps drive new traffic to your website and works closely with search engines and social media to do that.

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It helps convert that traffic into leads.

Now that you have traffic coming to your website through your blog, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into leads.

Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. And the way this works is really simple: Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post.

Often, these calls-to-action are things like free images, free guides, free fact sheets, free trials, money off coupons basically any content asset that someone would be willing to exchange their information for. Converting traffic to conversions work can be as simple as this.

Visitor comes to website

Visitor sees call-to-action button with a free offer behind it

Visitor clicks call-to-action button and gets to a landing page, which contains a form for them to fill in with their information

Visitor fills out form, submits information, and receives the free offer

Note: Not every reader of your blog will become an actual lead.  Nobody converts 100% of the people that read their blog into leads.

It helps to establish your authority in your business area.

The best two approaches to business blogs content are ones that answer the questions your subscribers and customers have, and ones that generate interest in by relaying useful and clear information in your specialist field.

So if you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your customers, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes. Consider the impact of running a gadget based website and blogging a comprehensive review and user guide for Apple’s latest product.  If that blog is well written, informative, clear and factual then it has real value to a both existing and potential customers.

It continually drives long-term results.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could attract customers when you are asleep, shopping, enjoying a meal or even on holiday?

Well that’s exactly what blogging does with the help of search engines and social media.

Say for example you sit down today and spend an hour writing and publishing a blog. Let’s then assume this new blog gets you 100 views and 10 leads. Perhaps tomorrow you get a further 50 views and 5 leads as a few more people find it on social media and some of your subscribers find it via their email subscription and RSS. Now we have to accept that after a few days most of the fanfare dies down and you’ve netted perhaps 180 views and 18 leads in total.

Only it doesn’t end there.

That blog post is now ranking in search engines.  Which means for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic and leads from that blog post. So while you’re stuck in a traffic jam, trying to assemble flat-pack furniture or  pushing your trolley around the supermarket, your blog is also being found by new leads and driving them to your website.  So one hour of effort today can turn into hundreds of thousands of views and leads in the future.

Now let’s look at the good Social Media work also being done in your absence. Most users of social media tend to be connected to people with share similar interests.  Then consider that there are 34 and 33 Million resisted users of Facebook and Twitter respectively in the UK, who in turn have an average of 120 friends / followers. So let’s say a visitor to your site sees a blog they like so they click on one of the share options we include in every website we build.  When they do this they are informing 100’s of people about your blog.  Its not unreasonable to expect that two or three of their friends or followers see this share and also take a look.  That’s a new lead generated right there, and if they also decide to share it amongst their friends that’s another 200-300 potential leads and the ripple effect has started.

Hopefully you now appreciate the benefit of a business blog.  Only one answer remains; “How do I write a good blog”?  Well as luck would have it that’s the subject of our next blog.

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