Marketing yourself or your organization online can be tricky. There are so many technologies, tools and platforms available, and so many different people with often times contradictory advice on which areas to focus on and what strategies and tactics you should apply. However, through all this noise, one of the most time-tested and dependable strategies for bringing in more traffic and leads to your website is this: blog regularly.
Some business leaders might balk at such a seemingly mundane idea. After all, didn’t blogs start out as places for moody teenagers to write about their newest crush or favorite band, à la LiveJournal circa 2003? Indeed they did, but much like Twitter, blogs have grown beyond their initial hobbyist beginnings to become a serious marketing tool. Let’s look at their application specifically when it comes to search engine optimization and attracting online traffic.
Why does blogging work?
Now, technically speaking, a blog is nothing more than a series of web pages arranged in a chronological order. Each blog post has its own unique URL or web page address. Internet search engines like Google and Bing spend their days crawling the Internet and indexing all the URLs that they can find. Therefore, each URL on your website is a chance to be indexed by the search engines and to be found by people searching online. So, say one company has a website with about 10 pages: Our Services, About Us, and so on and so on. Their competitor also has a website with about 10 regular website pages as well, but they also have a blog that they update bi-weekly. Since each blog post is technically its own web page with its own unique URL, after one year the second company actually has 114 indexable pages on their website. That means the first company only has 10 chances to be ranked and found on internet searches, but the second company has 114 chances to be found – over 10 times more than the first company!
So where’s the proof?
A great example of the power of blogging comes from my friend Ken Schroeppel, an urban planner in Denver. Ken runs a blog on Denver urban land planning and urban construction projects called Denver Infill. He started it a few years ago as a personal hobby and began posting on it regularly. What he originally thought would be just a fun personal project, however, suddenly exploded into the Denver public scene — his blog now gets 30,000 visitors per month. His blog has won him several awards such as the Downtown Denver Partnership award, the Denver Mayor’s Design award, and two Westword Best of Denver awards. Because of his blog, he is also quoted in the Denver Post and other media outlets. He says strangers will even stop him on the street and say “Hey, you’re the Denver Infill guy, right?” What a great example of the power of blogging.
However, your blog will only be a success if you’re intentional about your subject matter. If you want to be found by people searching for Denver urban land planning, like my friend Ken, then write about Denver urban land planning. If you want to be found by people searching for Denver marketing, then write about Denver marketing. Don’t get on your professional website and write about what you had for lunch (nobody cares), and don’t get on and complain and moan about your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend (like the teenage Livejournal crowd).
Here’s what you do:
- Write out a list of topics that are related to your organization’s products or services, or your professional goals.
- Then sit down, open up your calendar, and plan out a schedule for regularly writing about these topics. Share your perspective on the latest developments in your industry, write answers to some of your customers’ frequently asked questions, and offer tips, advice and resources for people who are interested in the subject matter that you specialize in. Plan on publishing at least once a week.
- Set aside a specific time each week to write your scheduled blog article — say, Wednesday at 9 AM, and hold to that schedule.
This will take some discipline, but then again, what in life doesn’t? Stick with it long enough, and you’re going to start seeing some great results.