The primary reasons are:
- It’s real estate on the Internet that you own. You can not control the rules at Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, and the people who do sometimes change them drastically without notice. This has hurt businesses who have put a lot of effort into being visible on those platforms. Your blog on your website can never be turned off by anyone other than you.
- Blogging allows you to talk directly to your audience, without any platform applying a filter.
- Improving your search ranking involves two things: 1) Content and 2) Links. And it all starts with content.
- Being found by users doing Internet searches results in the highest quality visitors and leads you’ll ever find, because after all, they found you.
Attracting visitors to your website via organic search is not as hard as most people think. It definitely takes work and it takes time to work, but anyone can do it.
Email and social media marketing have their place in your online marketing, but they are add-ons to your blogging activity, not instead of it.
Why Are Visitors from Organic Search so Important?
When we’re presented with a Search Engine Result Page (such as the one below), 94% of the time we choose something within the organic search results area.
A recent study by Growth Badger in which they analyzed traffic sources for 3.25 billion website visits show that about half of all website traffic originates from an Internet search, and that Google brings in eight times more traffic than all social media platforms combined.
If for no other reason than those two, having visitors show up to your website through organic search is important to your business.
When You Share Via Email and Social Media, What Are You Sharing?
Small business owners have told me that doing some email marketing and some social media marketing is better than doing nothing, and while that may be true, sharing other people’s content is only slightly.
This is because you’re not building up residual value in YOUR website, which is the one piece of the Internet you own and control.
You’ll find numerous articles on the Internet discussing the many benefits of blogging that are not directly related to increasing the search ranking of your website.
- It helps you establish your brand
- It helps create authority
- It helps establish you as a thought leader
- It creates opportunities for sharing your articles and stories
All of the above are true, and when you use email and/or social media marketing but you’re not sharing original content from your website, you wind up sharing interesting stuff you find on other websites.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with sharing quality content from other sites, this provides benefits to those websites and those businesses.
Are You Gathering Your Crowd to a Social Media Site?
We’ve all heard of the importance of a Facebook Business Page and the collecting of Likes to that page.
The (sometimes potential and sometimes real) problem with this strategy is, as stated above, you don’t own the site and you don’t make the rules.
I’m specifically using Facebook as an example because of something they did a few years ago, but this issue is equally true of every Social Media site where you can create a business presence and gather a following.
But continuing with the Facebook example…… Let’s discuss Fred who owns a business that sells and repairs bicycles. A few years ago Fred created a Facebook Business Page. Fred then diligently collected Facebook Likes (some of which he obtained with paid ads) and he’s been diligently posting updates. He’s been successful in generating engagement and the Facebook Business Page is bringing in a steady stream of business.
And during those years Facebook grew, which at face value should be good for people with business pages.
However, as Facebook grew more and more of us started following more and more people and businesses. At some point the greater Facebook community told Facebook they want to see a change to the algorithm that determines what is and is not seen in our individual feeds. We told Facebook we want to see more news and more updates from our closest friends.
Facebook listened and changed their algorithm. Facebook announced we would from then on see more news and more updates from our closest friends and less of everything else.
That everything else includes Fred’s business page (and yours). Now his updates to his Facebook Business Page are rarely seen by people who once saw them frequently.
Fred did everything right, then Facebook changed the rules.
They can do this because they own the site. They didn’t do it to hurt you (or Fred). They did it in response to their users.
Business owners have told me they’re thinking of blogging on LinkedIn as it avoids the need to have their own website. I try to talk them out of that.
LinkedIn may never do something similar to what Facebook did, but if they ever do (for whatever reason) there will be nothing you can do about it, and they might undo overnight what you spend years building up.
The Best Place to Gather Your Crowd is Your Blog on Your Website
Email marketing and social media marketing help you do this when you make your blog the centerpiece of your online marketing efforts. With the ease of developing WordPress sites, you can even add a social media like forum very easily and literally turn a website into a social network.
For an example of one such popular forum, check out the Smoking Cessation Forum, ex-smokers and aspiring ex-smokers talk with each other.
Or if you want a super niche topic, check out the Quilting Board, a forum dedicated to the hobby of quilting.
But, but, but…
It’s too expensive
It certainly can be. Big brands with big budgets hire expensive writers to write deeply researched and well formatted articles worth bragging about and sharing. While being able to hire such writers definitely helps you get started, you can start with a simple blog and articles you or someone else in your business write.
You CAN start cheaply and simply, then build over time. Having said that, it DOES take months to see results, once you do see results it changes your attitude about blogging, but in order to see those results you must stick with it long enough.
It’s hard to write really good quality stuff
I’m not going to lie, it is. Especially these days where Google has spent years updating their algorithm to serve up what they consider to be the best content available to answer questions people have.
But you can, AND SHOULD, start small.
But start with what?
Every business has experienced prospects and customers asking the same questions over and over and over.
Start with that.
Marcus Sheridan wrote a book titled They Ask You Answer. And while I confess I have not read the book, the title gives you a strong idea of the strategy being proposed.
It takes too much time
Again, start small. Using the Marcus Sheridan strategy of answering the questions you’ve heard over and over and over in blog posts you publish to your website.
It takes too long
It certainly can feel like this, but once your website starts to rank in the top half of the first page for various search terms, your website will (if you’ve implemented proper conversion) start to generate the highest quality leads your business will ever receive, and this will literally change your business and change your life.
However, you’ve got to start in order to get there.
Everything I might say has already been said
- Isn’t this also true of everyone else?
- This means you need to find a way to say it that is a little different and stands out.
OK, but does it really work?
The best way to illustrate that it does work is to provide specific examples of where it has.
They provide low cost waste and recycling services to their customers.
They started blogging five years ago, starting with content they state was pretty terrible, but they learned quickly. After two years they hired a full time blogger. They now get the majority of their leads from organic traffic. When the Covid pandemic started they turned off advertising for almost all other lead sources and leads from blog traffic saved their business. Now, every week they update four older blog posts and one new one.
They’re a relatively small property management agency with a team of seven. The owner started writing blog posts five years ago when they opened. In addition to blogging, they include their blog posts in their monthly newsletter. This work takes only a few hours a week. The blog/newsletter combination generates on average four quality leads per month.
A journalism student started blogging seven years ago to help her hone her craft. Her blog became quite popular, and eventually she used the experience and the blog to kick start a career as a journalist and copywriter. It took about three years of working about 15 hours a week for her to become professionally published after starting his blog.
Out of frustration that nobody would explain to him the significance of “digital” and “innovation” the founder started researching about blogging, starting about four years ago. When he started he answered the two to three questions he got every day. His focus was to answer them in short easy to understand articles. At first he devoted a few hours a week to it, and now it’s full time. The blog is now published in 7 languages, is read by 1.6 million executives per year, contains expert knowledge from over 450 leading companies, organizations, and experts, and makes money by charging membership fees to their content.
Mira sells a device and an app that helps women monitor when they’re fertile, so people who are trying to conceive have a better idea as to when is the right window. They started blogging back in 2018. Initially their blog posts were minimal and personally managed by their CEO. After about a year, they allocated resources to the blog and a few months later it become a source leads and sales.
If it works for them, there is no reason it won’t work for you. But, you’ve got to do it and the best way to get going is to start. As you can see from the success stories above, it can start small and grow into a reliable lead source over time.