Research by Google reveals that approximately 55% of small businesses don’t have a website – this is shocking considering that setting up a website and hosting services is inexpensive and simple. Templates have made it so that even the least tech-savvy biz owner can set a basic site up in less than an hour. Even if the site is a single page that offers a map, contact information, and a little back story, that’s drastically better than no website at all.
Many SMBs from restaurants to landscapers and contractors may rely on third party websites to maintain their virtual footprint. Sites like Yelp and Angie’s List are helpful to assess the quality of your work or service offering, but most customers still expect you to have at least a minimal web presence. And a lack of one can cost you business. Above and beyond basic information, though, one of the best ways to leverage a website to drive new business is by setting up a blog.
#1 Blogs raise awareness
If you write about topics in your business niche using apt keywords, you should score well on organic search results. Regular blogging that provides useful information and insights will usually put you in front of more readers than will paid advertising. Not only should you consider blogging on your own website, but you should also look at writing guest blogs for sites that your potential customers may frequent. In fact, 70% of consumers become aware of companies from blog posts versus paid ads.
#2 Blogs drive transactions
Blogs offer you the opportunity to delve into the value of services or products you provide, demonstrate your expertise, and put your company in a positive light. As a result, 61% of consumers in America have decided to make a purchase or transact with a company as a direct result of a blog post. The most successful blog posts are not directly “salesy” but instead offer valuable information, insight, or solutions to your target customer. This can include advice or DIY or product usage tips.
#3 Blogs drive backlinks
One of the best outcomes from a well-written blog is that it will be picked up by other websites and either reproduced and credit given to you or for other articles to link back to your blog post. Not only do backlinks from other sites increase the amount of traffic back to your blog and drive more transactions, but they also increase the page ranking of your website. Even a website that’s just a contact and info page plus a blog can rank high if your articles garner significant interest.
#4 Blogs generate leads
One or two blog posts won’t make or break your business, but if you can get into the habit of posting regularly, you will create momentum that can significantly improve your business opportunities. According to research by QuickSprout, once a company hits the benchmark of 51 blog articles, they can anticipate a 77% increase in monthly sales leads. You don’t need to exhaust yourself, but if you can post two or three articles a week to your blog, you can expect to see results in a month or two.
The fact is – people love to read blogs and the average web surfer will look at five to ten blog posts per month. Blogs influence buying decisions and allow you to establish yourself as an expert, which can lead to a wider network of professional resources and can make it easier for customers and potential customers to give you valuable feedback on your product or service offerings. And with more people than ever opting for a web search over any other resource when they look for a company to transact with, if you don’t have a website, it’s like you don’t exist.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00C2CH3MM]