Does Your Business Really Need A Blog?

Does Your Business Really Need A Blog?
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If you’ve been trying to promote your business on the Internet, no doubt you’ve received the advice to start a business blog.

Internet marketing experts consider a blog to be an essential tool to succeed online. In fact, I’ve made the decision recently to give more attention to my blogs — even if it meant giving up some paid gigs writing for other people’s blogs.

But is blogging right for YOU?

Benefits of A Blog

A high-quality blog can have many benefits, such as:

Search-engine Friendly

Blogs get indexed and ranked in search engines faster than static HTML sites. One way to increase the traffic to your business website is to add a blog.

Interactivity

Because a blog has many features that allow your readers to interact with you and with each other, a blog is an effective tool for building a community of like-minded individuals who are all interested in your field. They make the ideal prospects, because they’re already tuned into you.

Share-ability

Blogs have functionalities that make it very easy for you and your readers to share links to your blog posts. For example, you could link your blog’s RSS feed to your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. Your readers could share the link to your blog post with a click of a button.

This makes it much easier for you to reach new audiences and tap into other people’s social networks.

Easy to Use and Customize

Most blogging platforms, such as WordPress, are much easier to use than plain HTML site builders. They come in templates that look good and have plenty of features right out of the box. At the same time, some templates are fairly easy to customize, even for those of us who don’t know any coding. Blogs have made web masters obsolete.

Multimedia

It’s also easy to add multimedia elements to a blog. These may include photo galleries or slideshows, audio recordings, and video. You can display your Flickr or Facebook albums automatically on your blog. You can also easily embed YouTube videos — yours or other people’s — into your blog.

Inexpensive

You can get a blog up and running for under $10 a month, including domain name registration (one domain name is often free for with the cost of hosting). You can no longer make the excuse that you can’t afford a blog.

Available 24/7

Assuming your hosting service doesn’t go down, you can expect your blog to be available 24/7, fully searchable and able to attract an audience of prospects for you.

Authority

A good blog will help establish you as an authority in your field. What better way to demonstrate your expertise in a subject than to publish content-rich articles on your blog regularly for months or even years.

List Building

By putting an opt-in form on your blog, you can easily build and grow a list of people who are interested in learning more from you. Imagine, these are people who have given you permission to communicate with them regularly! If you take care of them, they can easily become your biggest fans and lifelong customers.

Opportunities

An established blog will attract plenty of potential partners and other opportunities for you. These may include advertisers, joint venture partners, speaking engagements and other opportunities to reach other people’s audiences, and even paid consultancies and gigs.

With all that said, a blog does have its downside.

Disadvantages of A Blog

Endless Content

The lifeblood of a blog is a continuous and consistent stream of high-quality content. You need to publish good posts frequently (at least once a week) and consistently to attract and sustain traffic, build a community, engage with your readers, and network with other bloggers.

The constant need for fresh content may be draining for a blogger. You may soon find yourself burning out and getting disillusioned with your blog.

Technical Requirements

A blog is easy to use, but it does require SOME technical knowledge nevertheless. You can’t take a completely computer-illiterate person and turn them into a superstar blogger overnight. Some basic and not-so-basic computer skills are necessary.

Maintenance

If you use WordPress, you know that it’s constantly getting upgraded. Your theme and plugins will also have to be updated as necessary. And don’t forget to back up your files and keep your blog secure while you’re at it.

If you can’t or don’t want to handle blog maintenance, then you need someone else on your team who can do it for you.

Promotion

Aside from maintaining and publishing your blog, you also have to promote it. Just because you built it, doesn’t mean the readers will come.

You can attract traffic through both paid and free methods. Either way, you’ll have to invest some time, energy and possibly money to gain readers. Paid methods may include Google Adwords as well as banner ads and text ads in bigger blogs.

“Free” traffic-generating methods include article marketing, guest blogging, and social networking. I put the word “free” in quotation marks, because even if you don’t have to pay for these methods, they do take time and effort (both of which translate to money).

To Blog or Not to Blog

That is the question!

When deciding whether or not a blog is a good fit for your business’ online marketing strategy, realize that a blog is a huge commitment.

You must be willing to allocate time, energy and money to make it succeed.

However, if you persist with blogging, you will reap the rewards. Soon, you’ll have content that can bring you prospects and clients, literally even while you take a vacation. This is also content you own completely and can reuse, recycle and repurpose to your heart’s desire.

Your Thoughts Please

What do you think – is blogging worth it? If you’ve been blogging, what pros and cons have you experienced? If you’re still deciding whether to blog, which weigh more heavily to you now, the advantages or disadvantages of blogging?

Let us know your thoughts. Share them in the comments below or let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

PS: I teach a class showing business owners how to use a blog and email marketing to attract more prospects and customers. If you want a blog that works and avoid getting overwhelmed by all the little moving parts of online marketing, then check out my Magnetic New Marketing eClass.

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