Do blogs have any value and does anyone read them?
If you’ve ever questioned or brushed off the idea of writing a blog for your website, you're not alone. In our media-saturated culture, that’s bursting with videos and podcasts, it can be difficult to see the value of long-form, written content. Even users shamelessly admit to looking past content with the trending acronym TL;DR, which means “too long; didn’t read.” Despite the ever-increasing consumption of streaming content, there is still a valuable place for blogging.
TL;DR - It’s worth your time; keep reading!
Do People Still Read Blogs?
Yes! The high demand for other forms of content may seem to decrease the value and interest in blogs, but people do still read them. The way people read and the amount they read may be different, but the takeaway is to be strategic in how you write blogs; don’t stop or avoid writing them altogether.
Simply put: Users want answers to questions. There are some organizations and topics that maintain a following based on who they are and the brand they’ve established. In many cases, though, users are trying to solve a problem, make a decision, or figure out how to complete a task, and they look to experts online to provide guidance. What they’re not looking for is a 10-page thesis. Oftentimes, users will open an article they expect to be helpful and scan from top to bottom for quick answers. For this reason, “listicles” have become a very popular approach. In this format, subheadlines summarize the takeaways which allows readers to scan for valuable content without having to dig in for the main points. It’s effectively the opposite of burying the lead.
Search Engines & Keywords
The most consistent reader of your content is actually not a person. Search engines, most commonly Google, read or “crawl” a website’s content in order to learn what the site is about. It then considers that information to serve up search results based on relevance when a user conducts a search. This includes blog content. The benefit to organizations is that having more blogs on your site results in more content and therefore more opportunities to appear in the search results.
This also makes it a great competitive tactic, known as search engine optimization (SEO). Search results are based on relevance to the search terms, or keywords, that a user enters being matched with a site that the search engine deems a reputable source. The more keywords you have throughout your site, the more opportunities for the search engines to identify a match. If the search term is in one site 12 times and only found in another site 3 times, search engines will identify a stronger connection for the keyword to the site it’s mentioned in more. Keywords are one of the many factors that affect search result rankings.
Starting Your Blog
What should I write a blog about?
There are several considerations for selecting blog topics. These include subjects from the perspective of the user as well as lead generation. A few examples are:
- What questions does your target audience need answered?
- What information does your organization feel like your audience needs to know? What frequently asked questions could you provide insight into through a blog?
- What keywords are you trying to rank for? Select topics about those subjects for opportunities to increase usage of those keywords and phrases in your content.
- What stories could you tell that would provide insight into your organization, either informational or human interest?
- What topics could you write about to prompt a call to action for your services and revenue generation?
- What topics can you write about to position your organization as an expert and for thought leadership?
Do I have to call my blog a “blog?”
You do not have to name your blog or article content a blog. For some, the term “blog” works well. Others prefer to get creative or to use a more professional term. A few common alternatives are articles, news, journals, and updates. It’s also common for organizations to use a relevant phrase, pun, rhyme or alliteration with their name or area of work.
Examples: As We Speak, by Speak Creative; Several People are Typing by Slack, which is a nod to a popular feature of their tool.
How often should I post new blogs?
There is not a limit to the amount of new blog content you can or should post. The more you do it, the more you can benefit from it. Posting a new blog every week would yield great results in rankings, but that is often not feasible for many organizations. Monthly is a great cadence to aim for when getting started.
How long should blogs be?
Blogs should be at least 300 words. This is a good practice for other web pages, too, There is no maximum length. The longer the post is, the more content Google can crawl and associate to your topic and site. However, if a post goes much beyond 1,500 words, it might be worth breaking up into multiple posts. If it’s too long, you risk losing focused attention on topics that could use dedicated posts, and it will further decrease the likelihood of users reading it through.
Who should author the blogs?
Having a main content writer produce your blogs is a great approach to achieve consistency in production and voice. However, it’s also great to have “guest” writers contribute content. Organizations that post blogs on a regular basis often see a spike in pageviews when the CEO or other executives contribute a blog periodically. You can leverage the positions and expertise of your team to create variety in topics and content.
What if my team doesn’t have time to write blogs?
It’s true. Producing blog content can be time-consuming, and often is not the top priority of your team. Our team recognizes that tension and is fully equipped to develop your strategy and create custom content to meet your goals.
While our team has experience writing for a wide variety of topics and industries, including small business, technology services, realty, medical, and a wide range of small business types, we understand that your team naturally possesses expertise. One option for those who need support but prefer to contribute their own content, is to have your organization write the blogs in full form or outline and bullet form, and then we come behind and optimize the content for SEO.
Any way you spin it, blog content has a wealth of value for organizations and users. It’s a vital piece of the digital pie and should be a priority in your strategy.
Interested in blogging but don't know where to start? We'd love to consult you on your blog strategy. Primarily interested in blogging to better your SEO? We can help with that too. Drop us a link below and we can get started.
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