I just came across an interesting article on the interwebs: Why So Many Blogs Fail and What To Do About It. The author hits on a number of relevant issues that I’m in agreement with.
As a web designer who works most often with local businesses, I’m often asked how to increase visitors to a website, and how to get better rankings in Google. Many people have read that blogging is good for SEO, and are interested in having a company blog on their website.
I have set up blogs for many clients. However, I’m tempted to agree with the author of the article linked above: if you don’t have professional quality content (writing and imagery), and if you don’t know how to properly leverage that content across the major online marketing channels (email, social media, advertising), you probably shouldn’t bother blogging.
The problem is not that blogging is a bad idea. The problem is that most small business owners don’t have a marketing department to make it truly work. A well executed blog post is not something you dash off on a moments notice (that’s what Twitter is for!). A well crafted blog post takes hours to produce, and producing regular, keyword rich content is a full time job. Here’s the bare minimum for a good blog post:
- First, you have to have a point for the article that ties into something you are trying to promote.
- It has to be written and edited by someone who knows how to write.
- There has to be good imagery (it’s okay to use stock photography, just be picky about it!), and finding the right image takes time. (And don’t rip images off from a Google image search — I’ve actually had a client get contacted by a photographer’s representative over this practice.)
- Then it needs to be evaluated for SEO, either with use of a plugin or
- Last, to give the content the best possible chance to be read, it should be incorporated into an email newsletter, mentioned in a genuine Facebook post on the company page (not an “auto post” plugin for WordPress), and again on Twitter.
What’s the chance that a dentist’s office, or a restaurant, or a general contractor has someone on staff that can do that?
I don’t want to completely discourage blogging — far from it! A blog for its own sake has plenty of value, and companies that have a dedicated following can make great use of a blog to communicate regularly with followers.
I just caution small companies without an eager blogger-in-waiting to try to use it for marketing; at best it’s a time suck, at worst you have a company blog that’s infrequently updated and sloppy.