Top three reasons not to blog

“If a blog falls in the forest, and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?” – Buddhist proverb (adapted)

Blogging is often presented as a ‘must-have.’ Some marketers will tell you that blogs are the only way to boost your rank in google, and win new customers. Often, I see people being sold a blogging solution that they don’t need, or without a strategy behind it.

The fear of being left behind is a powerful thing, so I’ve written this post to debunk blogging myths.  Writing this post may seem counter-productive, given that I help people write and maintain their blogs.  But the most important thing is that you make the right decision for your business.

1.  Nobody will read it

Being published is not the same thing as being read.  Your blog is up on your site, where anyone, anywhere can read it.  That is, if they know where to find it.  And they decide to go there.  And they read it through to the end.

What blogs do you read yourself? If you’re like me, there’s a handful that you read religiously. Then there is the swimming-pool-sized load of blogs that you subscribed to with the best intentions, and then ignored.

Secondly, even if people love your business, and promote it to anyone who’ll listen, they still might not read your blog.

Last month, I called the Tap Doctor in to fix our leaky shower.  They turned up on time and they did a great job. I’d recommend them to anyone – perhaps even in a blog post.  But I haven’t been back to their web site since.  Plumbers are what I’d call a ‘low engagement’ service: you’re in contact with them when you need them, but you don’t sustain that contact.

2.  Right idea, wrong format

SEO is the number one reason blogging is pushed so heavily.  And google is clear on this:  if you update your site regularly with fresh, relevant content, your search engine rankings will go up.  What google doesn’t say is that this fresh content has to be in a blog.

Blogs may even have a few downsides compared to other options.

1.  Conversion.  You don’t just want people to come to your site; you want them to do something about it:  place an order, change their behaviour – or just explore the rest of your site.  That’s why SEO is only half of the picture:  you need to be measuring what people do after they come to your site.

The Canberra Society of Editors found this out recently. One article – Muphry’s Law – was picked up by an aggregator service, so it received 60,000 unique views.  How much of those viewers explored any further than that one page?  None.

The same principle applies to blogs that happen to get found through google searches. Let’s say you want to rank highly when people search for ‘travertine bathroom tiles Canberra.’ With a niche term like this, you’ll find it fairly easy to optimise your blog so that it attracts one-off visits.  That’s different to getting engaged, loyal readers.

2.  Timeliness.  A blog is like a newspaper:  it’s most popular when it’s fresh.  I notice it on my blog:  a new post gets a lot of visits when it’s first published, then that tails off.  Other pages, like my ‘about us’ page, continue to get good traffic.

3.  You probably don’t have time to maintain it

Most new blogs don’t have a great future ahead of them: 60-80% are abandoned after one month.  If you’re just writing a blog about your trip to Spain, that’s not a big issue. But there are too many business blogs like vacant parking lots: no new content, and no activity.  Customers who come to your site and see that it hasn’t been updated since September 2009 will think you’ve checked out.  Better not to blog, than to start, but peter out.

So what’s the alternative?

Rather than jump straight onto the blogging train, consider your options.  If you want fresh, engaging content, what about a tips or resources section? Have a schedule for adding new tips, so you’ll get the traffic boost from fresh content.  But these pages can stay fresh for longer than time-bound blogs.

If you still want to blog…

In this post, I’ve tried to bust the ‘must blog myth’. But there is one huge reason why blogging is worth doing (Hint:  it’s why I blog). That’s in the next post.

Your thoughts?

Are you wondering if a blog is right for your business? Please get in touch and we’ll talk it through.

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