Every search engine optimization expert will tell you: The more you update content on your website, the more chances you have to draw in search traffic. Quality articles are shareable and clickable, meaning they have value for both organic and paid promotion on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and can inform current and potential customers alike about your business and your expertise. The simplest way to build up content on your website is with a blog, but if you're going to blog, you have to do it right. Here are five reasons you may not have one on your site – and the fixes to make a blog work for you.
1. You don't know what to say
Even professional writers get writer's block – the feeling of staring at a blank page, not knowing where to start. It's not unusual to be at a loss for ideas, and then to procrastinate accordingly. Conversely, you might have ideas on what to write about, only to end up with rambling stories that don't offer value to your customers, or a series of posts that have little to do with each other – or your business.
Fix it: The secret to efficient blogging is an editorial calendar, a plan of what you're going to write about and when. Set aside time to brainstorm a collection of story ideas: answers to frequent questions, updates on new projects or renovations, product news, or your thoughts on current events that relate to your business. Think about not just what you want to say, but what customers might want to know. The best posts are useful, informative or entertaining – or a combination of the three.
2. You can't commit to a schedule
The very definition of a blog is a series of posts updated regularly, shown in reverse chronological order. That means that when someone views your landing page, they can quickly see when it was last updated. And if that was months and months ago, it leaves the impression that your business isn't up to date, either.
Fix it: One solution is to work in batches: write a few posts at once, then schedule them ahead of time to publish automatically. If that's still too much of a commitment, consider alternatives to blogs. You can simply publish a few undated articles to your website if there's certain information you want to get across to customers. Time-sensitive information can be published on the social media platform of your choice, pulled into your website via a widget. Or invest in outside help to free up your time for other tasks.
3. You're not a good writer
Maybe you have a hard time getting your point across in writing. Or perhaps it's spelling that's the challenge, and differentiating between "their," "they're" and "there." Either way, unpolished writing can turn off clients and make you look less professional.
Fix it: Every writer needs a good editor. Have someone review your posts before publication to catch errors and offer feedback. Ghostwriters are also an option: They can turn your bullet points into polished prose or write posts for you based on an interview or their own research. On the other hand, not every blog (or every blog post) has to be based around paragraphs of text. Perhaps the best fit for you is a photo blog with captions.
4. You don't have a blog on your website
Some obstacles are technical in nature. If your site doesn't include blog functionality, you'll need to have it updated before it can host your blog posts. And running a business blog at yourbusiness77.blogspot.com can look amateurish.
Fix it: If an updated website isn't in the cards just yet, you can still hire a Web developer to set up a simple blog on your domain (e.g., yourbusiness.com/blog) using a free platform such as Wordpress. Alternatively, if you've got something to say but nowhere to say it, consider publishing articles outside your site, on a platform such as Medium, Facebook or LinkedIn.
5. You don't see the point
As a busy business owner, you've got enough to do without worrying about following marketing trends. Besides, there's nothing to say that hasn't been said a million times before.
Fix it: A blog is not for everyone, and choosing not to have one might be the best option for your business. But before you make that decision, it's worth assessing your competitors' digital marketing strategies, and thinking about how you intend to get news and other information across to customers. Maybe social media is your thing, or you send current clients an e-newsletter and run ads on Google to attract new ones.
Digital communications tools can be overwhelming, but they're an essential tool for connecting with today's customers. The key to executing them successfully (and efficiently) is a good strategy. Start by imagining what you want to achieve, and then figure out how your content – be it a blog, e-newsletters, articles or social media posts – will help you get there.
Kat Tancock is co-founder of Tavanberg, a Toronto-based marketing agency that helps businesses plan and execute successful content strategies.