There are many pros and cons to having a blog. Unfortunately, if you mention blogging to the uninitiated, they immediately think of the cons, partly because they don’t know the pros.
But in my mind blogging is an essential part of marketing that should be ignored at your peril, as businesses without blogs are seriously isolated in this ever-increasingly online world. So here are some pros and cons so you can make a choice:
The pros of blogging
Having a blog will increase your business’s credibility. Here is a medium that will allow you to express another side of your business, deliver more information that cannot be crammed into your website, somewhere to answer customers questions, and offer solutions and other valuable expertise.
It allows you to converse with your customers through their comments, and influence prospective customers who want to learn more about you before they buy.
Blogs will increase your business’s visibility, not only through their pages, but because each new post can be ‘fed’ to other social networking sites, increasing your business’s exposure to a much wider audience than via your website alone.
They are notoriously compatible with search engines, who send their spiders hourly to check for new material (since that is what a blog is designed to produce), not to mention their plugins (applications) that enhance the use of search engine optimisation, and proactive use of contextual links to direct traffic to your website and other online promotions.
The cons of blogging
The first thing that puts people off is the thought of constant updating and monitoring. OK, an effective blog is one that is posted in at least three times a week, as this consistent new material is what stimulates the search engines to visit, but if writing new stuff is deemed too difficult, especially when you can’t think of what to say, why not outsource this task to a copywriter, VA or marketing firm?
There are some people who worry about how much blogs are visible on the web, but then all online activities are exposed to ever increasing audiences, especially if they are connected to each other through social networking.
The idea of a blog is to promote your business to more potential customers, and having the chance for your readers to immediately respond to your posts, and you returning a reply, is surely a valuable commodity to forming customer relationships?
OK, so it’s not easy to see immediate results, but then all online marketing is long term. Blogs can take up to a year to get ‘noticed’, but this depends on how often you blog (obviously if you post several times a day you will gain a following much faster than if you contribute only once a month).
Self-hosted blogs allow extra applications to Google Analytics for monitoring your blog’s performance, but there is an in-built stats system that automatically shows how many times your blog is visited and which posts are more popular.
So, is a blog something you should ignore or participate in?